Freedom of movement for businesses and professionals to and from the UK – a key feature of the European single market – will end with Brexit. When and how it will end depends on whether the UK leaves the EU under the terms of the current withdrawal deal or with no deal.
Pre-Brexit, freedom of movement is guaranteed under Article 56 TFEU and by several EU Directives. Employees on secondment are entitled to stay affiliated to their home country’s social security system for up to two years. The UK applies the rules on the coordination of social security systems.
If Brexit happens under the current withdrawal deal, the existing rules will apply during a transition period until the end of 2020 and A1 certificates remain in force for their initial duration. If the UK leaves with no deal, the details will depend on whether the UK joins the EEA. If not, UK employers posting employees in the EU will have to pay social contributions in the host country and vice versa. Article 13 will no longer apply to employees working both in the UK and in another EU state. Agreements are likely to be required to guarantee the maintenance of employee rights.
Workers permanently outside their original EU member state
Pre-Brexit, freedom of movement applies. There is no discrimination based on nationality between workers of member states regarding employment, compensation or other working conditions. Workers have the right to move freely in the EU for employment purposes, stay in a member state for the purpose of employment, and remain in a member state after having been employed there.
Post-Brexit, if the UK leaves under the withdrawal deal, the existing rules will apply up to the end of 2020. Article 45 TFEU will continue to apply to citizens who exercised their right before the end of the transition period.
In a no-deal scenario, EU Regulation n°2019/500 (3/25/2019) provides contingency measures relating to social security coordination. The regulation is clearly intended to make sure that EU citizens will not be the victims of Brexit. For example, an employee who had an international career and has contributed to various EU pension schemes before Brexit should be able to aggregate their rights for the calculation of their pension allowance by the pension authorities of the member state where they decide to retire. EU member states have already introduced draft transition measures to secure the situation of UK citizens working and/or living in the EU on a permanent basis. In some cases these measures are subject to a condition of reciprocity with the UK.