Special act to protect UK citizens’ right of residence after Brexit
UK citizens’ right of residence in Finland will continue for a fixed term under a special act. The act is being prepared for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit in which the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement at the end of March. The Government submitted a proposal on the special act to Parliament on 7 February.
"The special act will allow all UK citizens registered no later than 29 March to continue their right of residence in Finland until the end of 2020. This way, all UK citizens now living in Finland can continue to live, work, conduct their business and study in Finland without interruption," says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
UK citizens living in Finland must register their right of residence with the Finnish Immigration Service if they have not already done so. Those who have citizenship of another EU Member State must register their right of residence on the basis of that citizenship. If they have not registered, they do not have the right to reside in the country as of 30 March, unless the EU and the United Kingdom agree on visa-free travel. In this case, they would be permitted to reside legally in the country for 90 days.
The European Commission recommends that Member States prepare for a no-deal Brexit and, as an emergency solution, allow UK citizens living in Member States to continue their right of residence temporarily. Many Member States are enacting temporary legislation to secure this objective.
Without a special act, some 5,000 UK citizens would have to apply for a residence permit in Finland at very short notice. Some of them would not necessarily meet the requirements for obtaining a residence permit.
The aim is to enact the temporary special act as soon as possible, and it would apply from the date on which the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement. Currently, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is substantial.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom will hold their next vote on the withdrawal agreement on 13 February. The European Union is still prepared to sign the agreement. However, should the United Kingdom decide to approve the withdrawal agreement, it would not cause any changes for UK citizens living in Finland before the end of 2020. The rights of citizens under the withdrawal agreement, including the right of residence, would be determined on the basis of the moment of the end of the transition period, i.e. on 31 December 2020.
Instructions on the registration of right of residence can be found on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service www.migri.fi and on enterfinland.fi.
Jarmo Tiukkanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 606, [email protected]