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Immigration was one of the main concerns which sparked Brexit. The UK voted to take back control of its borders and wants to end free circulation and establishment between the UK and the EU27 member states.

The current, pre-Brexit situation for UK nationals and EU nationals is freedom of movement for EU and UK citizens under Art. 45 TFEU, Directive 2004/38/EC. This gives EU citizens and their family members the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states. This means:

  • no visa requirement.
  • no work authorisation requirement.
  • no residency permit requirement.
  • residency permits for third-country dependents.
  • freedom of circulation and establishment under sufficiency condition.

In practical terms, having a valid ID card or passport entitles EU nationals to enter the territory of another member state. For long stays, – more than 3 months – they may also reside in an EU member state subject to certain conditions and limitations (personal resources, healthcare insurance provisions and provided they are not a burden on the social security system) according to their status in the host country. After five years’ continuous residence, EU nationals have the option of obtaining permanent residence status.

After Brexit, both UK nationals in EU member states and EU nationals in the UK will be treated as third-country nationals. Borders will be back between the UK and the EU.

Key contacts

Haiyan Cai
Legal adviser/Head of immigration
T +33 1 47 38 56 49

The Netherlands – contingency measures

With 45,000 UK citizens residing there, the Netherlands authorities have taken steps to be fully prepared for Brexit and are ahead of schedule.

Basisregistratie Personen

In the deal situation, after five years’ legal residence in the Netherlands, UK citizens can obtain a permanent right of residence in the same way as EU citizens. After 31 December 2020, a residence document will be issued in order to allow UK citizens to stay in the Netherlands. The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will continue its current practice of sending invitation letters to people registered on the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen – BRP).

In a no-deal situation, the Netherlands offers the following measures:

  • UK nationals who have a right of residence in the Netherlands on 29 March 2019 can also stay after a no-deal Brexit.
  • a national transition scheme: temporary residence permits valid up to 30 June 2020.
  • under this transition scheme, UK nationals retain their rights to live, work and study in the Netherlands.

During the transition period, a new national residence permit must be applied for and applicants must meet the same conditions for residence applicable to EU citizens (free access to the labour market and no civic integration requirement).

Key contacts

Haiyan Cai
Legal adviser/Head of immigration
T +33 1 47 38 56 49