What status can EU citizens who work and study in the UK expect afterwards? We looked at a few scenarios.
Basic thoughts at the beginning
Despite the sealed exit date at the end of January, it is still very difficult to assess the consequences of the Brexit. This is mainly due to the fact that so far only the exit modalities have been determined. Negotiations on far-reaching conditions are only taken up in the second phase, or transition phase, which according to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson is to last until the end of the year at the most. Accordingly, most people are still pending Brexit.
It remains rather unclear which regulations will apply after the transition phase. The only thing that is clear is that a lot will change for employees and students. In this article, we assume that the previously applicable regulations, e.g. for non-EU foreigners in Great Britain, will also apply to EU members in the future.
This is the only way we can make reliable statements regarding the consequences. However, in the transition phase, Britain may decide to weaken or modify some of the rules, which further increases the uncertainty of many people.
Brexit consequences for workers
The possible consequences of Brexit still hover like a sword of Damocles over the many workers in Great Britain. German workers and students in Great Britain as well as British workers and students in the other EU countries suffer from the planned exit of the British from the EU. But what changes can be expected and what options do data subjects have?
Work permit only for high earners?
EU citizens currently living and working in the UK face a problem due to the Brexit at the end of January. Because in all likelihood they will need a residence permit and work permit in the future to continue working and living in the UK.
However, difficulties can arise here. Because the current situation in Great Britain is as follows: People from non-EU countries who want to work in the country must have a minimum income of around 44,000 euros a year in order to obtain a work permit at all.
The country’s main goal is to attract highly qualified people. However, if this requirement now also applies to workers from the EU countries, the image of the island will change permanently.
However, this regulation would only come into force at the end of the transition phase on December 31, 2020. Until then, this fact remains unaffected in the context of intra-European free movement of workers.
Around 2.2 million people from other EU countries are currently working in Great Britain. However, afterwards, quite a few people would be left without a work permit because they did not earn enough. In such a case, people would not only lose their jobs, but also their residence status in the UK.
Brexit can therefore lead to existential problems for most workers. The effect would have a particularly dramatic effect on the traditionally low-paying occupations in the catering, agriculture and hotel sectors. Engineers and IT specialists will therefore find it much easier to continue doing their job.
Hardly any changes expected for the British in EU
The Brexit naturally also changes the conditions for British employees in Germany. However, it has already been announced that there should be no difficulties from a German perspective. A little more bureaucracy will be necessary, since a work permit and a residence permit must be obtained, but these are usually not subject to any special conditions.
Some immigration authorities have already prepared for this situation with separate registration procedures. As a result, the Brexit for British citizens in Germany and many other European countries will be rather mild. Nevertheless, it can be observed that during the Brexit discussion, around 175,000 British citizens took EU citizenship.
Data transmission after the transition phase
In terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), new regulations will also come into force with regard to the UK’s exit, as a third-country relationship would arise between Germany and the United Kingdom at the end of 2020.
This results in much stricter regulations between the data exchange between the countries. Accordingly, only data from employees under certain conditions that meet the requirements of Chapter 5 of the GDPR could be passed on.
According to paragraph 77, paragraph 3 of the tenth social security code, it is only permitted to transmit sensitive data on the state of health to the statutory social service provider if this is also in the interest of the employee or in the interest of social security.