Brexit: citizens' rights

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The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union will have an impact on the rights of British nationals and some administrative formalities in order for them to stay in Luxembourg. The rights and procedures depend on the entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the European Union and the United Kingdom.  

In case the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force

The draft Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom provides for British nationals and their family members to keep their right of residence in another EU Member state when the United Kingdom leaves the EU. The Agreement is expected to enter into force on 29 March 2019, subject to approval by the British and European parliaments. 

People covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

In Luxembourg, the following people fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement: 

  • British nationals and their family members (irrespective of the latter’s nationality) residing in Luxembourg at the time of Brexit;
  • British nationals and their family members arriving in Luxembourg after 29 March and before the end of the transition period (31st December 2020);
  • Family members of a British national covered by one of the two points above and arriving in Luxembourg after the transition period (as of 1 January 2021). 

In the context of the Withdrawal Agreement, the following people are considered family members:

  • the applicant’s spouse (husband/wife);
  • the registered partner;
  • the direct descendant (child) of the Union citizen or his/her spouse/partner if the child is under the age of 21 or dependant;
  • the direct ascendant (parent) dependant on the Union citizen or his/her spouse/partner.

May be eligible (if approved by the Minister), any other family member not mentioned above meeting one of the following conditions:

  • they have been dependant or part of the household of the Union citizen having the primary right of residence in the country of origin;
  • the Union citizen must imperatively and personally take care of the family member concerned for serious health reasons;
  • the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested. 

The durability of the relationship between partners is examined in terms of the intensity, seniority and stability of the relationship. Proof of sustainability can be provided by any means. It is proven that if the partners:

  1. have cohabited legally and continuously for at least one year prior to the request;
  2. have a common child for whom they jointly assume parental responsibilities.

Both partners are not to be engaged in a marriage, a registered partnership or a long-term relationship with another person.

 

Luxembourg nationals living in the United Kingdom should contact the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to get information regarding procedures and conditions to fulfill to get a residence/work permit in the United Kingdom after Brexit. ​

Not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement: 

  • British nationals who have a second nationality (British nationality and the nationality of another Member state of the European Union, including Luxembourg or one of the other states of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) or the Swiss Confederation). These people may exercise the rights arising from their second nationality; 
  • British nationals who are holders of a diplomatic card, a legitimation card or other residence document issued on the basis of the law of 7 August 2012 on the identity card for resident members of the diplomatic and consular corps and agents of the European Union and international organizations having their headquarters in Luxembourg. The Withdrawal Agreement does not affect these people’s status after Brexit.

Right of residence and other rights  

British nationals as well as their family members who fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement have the same rights as EU citizens and their family members and keep these rights even after the end of the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. 

Right of residence and right of permanent residence

The right of residence is subject to the same conditions British nationals enjoyed while being Union citizens. Thus, the withdrawal of the right of residence is possible if a person becomes an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system, in the event of abuse of the rights or fraud, or for reasons of public policy or public security.

The right of permanent residence is available after five years living in Luxembourg. It can only be withdrawn for reasons of public safety or after five years of continuous absence from Luxembourg. Le droit de séjour permanent se perd après une absence continue de 5 ans du territoire luxembourgeois.

It should be noted that the right of residence is only valid in the country of residence, in this case Luxembourg.

Those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will have a specific residence document, which certifies their status as beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. This document is different from the document issued to Union citizens.

The documents issued to British nationals and their family members already residing in Luxembourg at the time of Brexit are replaced by this new document before the end of the transitional phase. These new residence documents are issued in a phased manner after 29 March 2019.

Pending the issue of a new residence document, the existing residence documents (registration certificate, permanent residence certificate, residence card and permanent residence card) shall also serve as documents certifying the regularity of residence after 29 March 2019. Those concerned do not need to take any specific steps to replace their residence document. 

Further details will be published on the website guichet.lu.

Social security rights

The social security situation of people moving within the European Union is regulated by European regulations which make it possible to coordinate the social security legislation of the Member States in order to avoid the loss of social security rights in the event of movement from one country to another. The draft Withdrawal Agreement provides that these European regulations will remain fully applicable during the transition period, i.e. until 31 December 2020. Hence, nothing changes with regards to social security until then.

After this transition period, European legislation is in principle no longer applicable. However, the draft Withdrawal Agreement provides that European regulations on social security coordination will remain applicable to certain categories of persons, even after 31 December 2020. These regulations will therefore continue to protect the rights of persons who exercised their right to free movement before 31 December 2020. This includes British citizens residing in Luxembourg on 31 December 2020. Further information on these situations will be published at a later date.

Other rights

British nationals and their family members covered by the draft Withdrawal Agreement will keep the same rights as EU citizens in Luxembourg in the following areas:

  • Access to the Luxembourg job market, including public sector jobs;
  • Recognition of academic (register of qualifications) and professional qualifications (recognition for access to a regulated profession);
  • Financial aid/support for higher education.

Contact:

For questions on the right of residence:

Directorate of immigration: Contact

For questions on social security:

Ministry of Social Security: Contact

For questions on the recognition of qualifications and financial support for higher education:

Ministry of Higher Education and Research: Contact

For questions related to the access to careers in the public service:

Ministry of the Civil Service: Contact

Useful links: 

Q&A regarding the right of residence on guichet.lu

Memo from the European Commission with a Q&A on the rights of British and European citizens under the Withdrawal Agreement (November 2018)

 

In case the Withdrawal Agreement does not enter into force 

After 29 March 2019, British nationals no longer enjoy the rights as Union citizens but are considered as third country nationals. As such, they are subject to the rules governing entry and residence of third country nationals and their rights associated with the right of residence will no longer be those of a Union citizen, but those of a third country national. This applies to both British nationals residing in Luxembourg at the time of Brexit and to those arriving afterwards. 

Persons concerned

This applies to British nationals and their family members who reside in Luxembourg at the time of Brexit. This also applies to British nationals and their family members who wish to reside in Luxembourg after 29 March 2019.  

Not affected: 

  • British nationals who have a second nationality (the British nationality and the nationality of another Member state of the European Union, including Luxembourg or of one of the other states which have approved the Agreement on the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) or the Swiss Confederation). These persons may exercise the rights arising from their second nationality. 
  • British nationals who are holders of a diplomatic card, a legitimation card or other residence document issued on the basis of the law of 7 August 2012 on the identity card for resident members of the diplomatic and consular corps and agents of the European Union and international organizations having their headquarters in Luxembourg. These people are not affected by the Withdrawal Agreement and keep their status after Brexit. They don't need a new document.

Luxembourg nationals living in the United Kingdom should contact the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to get information regarding procedures and conditions to fulfill to get a residence/work permit in the United Kingdom after Brexit. ​

Rights of residence and other rights of British nationals and their family members

Rights of residence

After 29 March 2019, British nationals no longer have the right of residence as Union citizens but are considered as third country nationals. Hence, British nationals must have a residence permit and meet the conditions for a category of residence permit as stated in the amended law of 29 August 2008 on the free movement of persons and immigration.

After 29 March 2019, British nationals living in Luxembourg will need to apply for a residence permit as a third country national. Those British nationals already living in Luxembourg on 29 March 2019 will be able to continue using their existing residence card as proof of residence until 30 March 2020. After this date, they will need to have a third country residence permit and will need to apply for one before 31 December 2019.

Procedural facilitations will be applied when processing applications for residence permits for British nationals and their family members.

Further information on the application procedure will be published in due course on www.guichet.lu

These procedural facilitations only apply to British nationals residing in Luxembourg before 29 March 2019. British nationals, who wish to reside in Luxembourg after 29 March 2019, will need to follow the existing third country national registration procedure. They are required to apply for a residence permit before entering Luxembourg, and can only reside in Luxembourg once their application has been approved.  

Social security rights

The social security situation of people moving within the European Union is regulated by European regulations which make it possible to coordinate the social security legislation of the Member States in order to avoid the loss of social security rights in the event of movement from one country to another.

In the absence of a withdrawal agreement, these regulations will no longer apply in relations with the United Kingdom. As a resident of Luxembourg, the social security situation of British nationals will be regulated by Luxembourg social security legislation. Under Luxembourg law, anyone working in Luxembourg is affiliated to Luxembourg social security, regardless of nationality.

Other rights 

British nationals no longer enjoy the rights as Union citizens but are considered as third country nationals.

Access to the job market
Within the framework of the simplifications decided by the Luxembourg government, access to the job market will be maintained for British nationals who reside and began their professional activity in Luxembourg by the time the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Those arriving in Luxembourg after 29 March 2019 must have a residence permit allowing them to engage in such an activity in accordance with the relevant provisions of the amended law of 29 March 2019 on the free movement of persons. 

Academic (register of qualifications) and professional recognition (access to a regulated profession) of qualifications

Like any third country national, British nationals seeking recognition of their academic and professional qualifications will have to prove they have a residence permit and meet the conditions required by the amended law of 29 August 2008 on the free movement of persons and immigration. A simple copy of their identity card will no longer be sufficient.

Financial support for higher education will be limited to those British students who have long-term residence status according to the amended law of 29 August 2008 on the free movement of persons and immigration.

Access to public service employment

British nationals will no longer be eligible to positions which fall under the status of civil servant or employee of the State within the meaning of Luxembourg law. However, they may still be employed as employees under private law by means of the budget law which provides for the recruitment, from year to year, if necessary, of third country nationals for the services of the State.

Contact:

For questions on the right of residence:

Directorate of immigration: Contact

For questions on social security:

Ministry of Social Security: Contact

For questions on the recognition of qualifications and financial support for higher education:

Ministry of Higher Education and Research: Contact

For questions related to the access to careers in the public service:

Ministry of the Civil Service: Contact

Useful link:  

Q&A regarding the residence permit on guichet.lu

Q&A 

A n extensive Q&A segment is regularly updated on the website guichet.lu.

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