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Employment law

TopicTransition PeriodAfter Transition Period (from 1 January 2021)
Free movement of workersAny national of an EEA Member State has the right to take up an activity as an employed person, and to pursue such activity, within the territory of another Member State, under the same conditions as a citizen of such Member State (free movement of workers).

A total of some 115,000 British citizens live and work in Germany; around 262,000 Germans have settled in the UK. The withdrawal agreement stipulates that citizens who were already living in the respective other country before 31 December 2020 (the "Cut-off Date") will in principle not suffer any disadvantage in future.

Germans in the UK

Nationals of an EU country who have been resident in the UK for five years before the Cut-off Date can apply for "Settled Status" (permanent residency right) under the "Settlement Scheme". EU nationals with Settled Status can continue to work in the UK after the transition period.

EU nationals who have not been resident in the UK for five years can apply for "Pre-settled Status" by the end of the transition period, which entitles them to work in the UK for a further five years. They can then apply for "Settled Status".

If EU citizens move to the UK after the Cut-off Date, they will have to apply for a visa. This will be granted on the basis of a points system. Factors such as level of income and industry will be taken into account here.

Brits in Germany

Brits who were already living in Germany before the Cut-off Date must register with the competent foreigners registration office by 30 June 2021 and will then receive a residence card ("Residence Document GB"). The procedure varies from region to region. This way, they secure their permission to reside and work in Germany even beyond 30 June 2021.

British nationals entering the country after 1 January 2021 will need a residence permit entitling them to work once they have found an employer.

Cross-border deployment of employeesEmployees may be posted to another Member State under less stringent conditions than those applicable to non-EEA states.

Posting to the UK

Short business trips of up to 180 days to carry out an engagement in the UK (e.g. attending meetings, seminars, job interviews, negotiations, concluding contracts, visiting trade fairs) do not usually require a visa.

Long-term professional activities will in future require the application for "Settled Status", see above under "Free movement of workers".

As of 1 October 2021, the identity card will no longer be accepted as a travel document upon entry. 

Posting to Germany

Short business trips of up to 90 days will require a Schengen visa.

Long-term professional activities will require corresponding residence permits (as for third-country nationals).

Social security for postings abroad 

Legal aspects of social security relating to postings abroad are covered by the EU Regulation (EC) 883/2004. At the moment, all that is usually needed is an "A1" certificate proving that social insurance contributions are paid in the country of origin.

For persons posted to the UK or Germany before the end of the transition period, i.e. until the Cut-off Date, the previous social security legislation continues to apply until the end of the posting (max. 24 months). This applies as long as the person is in the situation existing up until 31 December 2020 without interruption. The posting is evidenced by the A1 certificate.

For persons who are/have been newly posted to the UK or to Germany as of 1 January 2021, the rules of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK apply. Accordingly, the previous social security legislation continues to apply if

- these persons are posted by an employer who carries out a significant business activity in the country effecting the posting, and
- the posting is not expected to exceed 24 months, and
- no previously posted person is replaced.

The electronic A1 procedure (section 106 German Social Code IV) remains applicable.