Information about Brexit

Diese Informationen auf Deutsch finden Sie hier.

Preliminary remarks

On February 1, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU) with a withdrawal agreement. Under the withdrawal agreement, nothing changed during a transition period until December 31, 2020.

The following FAQs apply from January 1, 2021 and reflect the legal status as of December 18, 2020. At the time of editorial deadline, it was not yet known whether an agreement on future relations would be concluded. If an agreement on future relations is concluded, the FAQs may need to be revised.

General Information

The questions and answers relate to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In order to keep the answers as brief as possible, the terms "United Kingdom" or "UK", "British citizens", "British people", "British" and " Britons" are used.

Please note that the answers are for your general information only and cannot provide an exhaustive description of all provisions.

General information about the Brexit

Information about Brexit can be found at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) (German only).

Information for Employers

If you have any questions about Brexit, please contact the employer hotline at the following number:

0800 4 555520 (free of charge, can only be dialled from Germany)

or personal to your contact person or your personal contact in employer service (German only) in the employment agency.
 

British citizens who work in Germany at the end of the transitional period (31.12.2020) or beyond the transitional period (Old-Britons)

Old-Britons are British citizens and their family members who are living and working permanently in Germany at the end of the transition period or who are no longer in Germany at the end of the transition period but have worked in Germany at an earlier point in time, for example. For example, you can also apply for residency status in Germany if you do not lived or worked in Germany on December 31, 2020, but have a permanent right of residence in Germany on that date from previous stays under the Withdrawal Agreement. Even if you do not have a permanent right of residence, it is "harmless" if you are not in Germany on December 31, 2020 - as long as you will be outside Germany for less than six months (twelve months in exceptional cases) on that date. Old Britons are therefore simply the British who are covered by the withdrawal agreement.

Employed Old-Britons

British people who are already employed in Germany on 31.12.2020 (not in the form of a posting) and who continue to be employed in Germany will continue to be subject to German legislation also for the periods after 31.12.2020. They will continue to be insured under German unemployment insurance.

For British people who already usually engage in gainful employment in Germany and the United Kingdom before 31.12.2020, the law uniformly applicable under Art. 13 of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 will continue to apply beyond this date without any time limit, as long as there are no changes in the underlying facts.

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. However, the extent to which placement on the German labour market is possible must be clarified in each individual case. Please contact your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for further information.

There are generally no changes for Old-Britons regarding the residence status classification. In principle, there may be an entitlement to unemployment benefit II, as long as the other conditions of entitlement are met. Old Britons who were previously excluded from unemployment benefit II, e.g. because the right of residence was based solely on the purpose of the job search, continue to be excluded.

You are in need of help. This means that your financial situation is not sufficient for your livelihood. You are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the standard retirement age. Your usual place of residence is in Germany and you are fit for work, i.e. you are not permanently unable to work at least 3 hours a day due to illness or disability. For foreign nationals, special rules apply with regard to the legal status of residence. Details on this and further information on unemployment benefit II can also be found in the factsheet in our download center.

Unemployed Old-Britons (or threatened unemployment)

British people are in principle still entitled to unemployment benefit in Germany if their residence status includes access to the labour market and they also meet the other conditions of entitlement laid down in Social Code Book III (SGB III).

If you have a residency right according to the withdrawal agreement, your residency status always contains labor market access. You should prove your residency right by means of the residence document according to the withdrawal agreement. If you have not already done so, please register promptly with the Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") and apply for the residence document.

If you have been living and working permanently in Germany since 31 December 2020 at the latest, your residence rights are protected by the withdrawal agreement. You then have a right of residence in Germany with unrestricted access to the German labour market. If you have not already done so, you should register with the Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") and apply for a residence title as soon as possible to prove your residence status.

Further information on the right of residence and the procedure at the Ausländerbehörde can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI).

General information on unemployment benefit is available on the website of the Federal Employment Agency under ''Unemployed and finding work''.

Please note that if you are threatened with unemployment, you must register as unemployed at an early stage in order to avoid disadvantages (blocking period due to late job-search registration) regarding your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

In order to receive unemployment benefit, you must be available to the placement services of your local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit"), among others.

Please note that in order to be entitled to unemployment benefits, you must generally prove that you have a residence right according to the withdrawal agreement. For this purpose, you should submit the residence document according to the withdrawal agreement or, alternatively, a so-called fiction ("Fiktionsbescheinigung") or provisional certificate ("Vorläufige Bescheinigung") to your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit). If the residence document or the fictitious certificate cannot be issued in a timely manner, we recommend that you explicitly inform your Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") that the Agentur für Arbeit urgently requires a certificate stating that gainful employment is permitted in order to check your entitlement to unemployment benefits. According to the application instructions of the BMI, the Ausländerbehörde should already issue you with a corresponding confirmation before handing over the residence document if your residence rights are already ascertained without further ado..

British people are not entitled to unemployment benefit in Germany if their residence status does not allow them to access the labour market. See also FAQ: Can I receive unemployment benefit in Germany?

If you meet the requirements of Article 30 of the withdrawal agreement, you can, in principle, take your German unemployment benefit entitlement for three months with you to the United Kingdom to look for work in accordance with the rules of the coordination regulations (EC) No. 883/04 and 987/09.

If you are British, for example, you are covered by Article 30 of the withdrawal agreement if you have a right of residence (residence status) under the withdrawal agreement. (See also  FAQ: If I lose my job after the end of the transition period, will I be entitled to unemployment benefit?)

According to the rules of the Coordination Regulations (EC) No. 883/04 and 987/09, the export period can be extended from three months to up to six months. In principle, you must have been available to the local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit") for placement purposes for at least four weeks before leaving the country..

You must apply to your Agentur für Arbeit to take your unemployment benefit with you before you leave the country. You can obtain more information from your Agentur für Arbeit.

Please note: If you have residence status under the general provisions of the immigration law ("Aufenthaltsgesetz" or "Beschäftigungsverordnung") and not under the withdrawal agreement, you will not normally be able to take your unemployment benefit with you to look for work in the United Kingdom.

The Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") will decide on your residence status (residence permit).

For more information on residence rights and the procedure at the immigration authorities, please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI).

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. However, the extent to which placement on the German labour market is possible must be clarified in each individual case. Please contact your local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit") for further information.

For Old Britons, there is generally no change regarding their right of residence. In principle, a claim to unemployment benefit II can (still) exist, provided that the other conditions for entitlement are met. Old Britons who were previously excluded from unemployment benefit II, e.g. because the right of residence was based solely on the purpose of the job search, continue to be excluded.

You are in need of help. This means that your financial situation is not sufficient for your livelihood. You are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the standard retirement age. Your usual place of residence is in Germany and you are fit for work, i.e. you are not permanently unable to work at least 3 hours a day due to illness or disability. For foreign nationals, special rules apply with regard to the legal status of residence. Details on this and further information on unemployment benefit II can also be found in the fact sheet in our download center.

Special provisions for posted Old Britons

In order to be entitled to German unemployment benefit, you must meet the eligibility conditions set out in the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III).

General information on unemployment benefit is available on the website of the Federal Employment Agency under ''Unemployed and finding work'.

Please note that if you are threatened with unemployment, you must register as unemployed at an early stage in order to avoid disadvantages (blocking period due to late job-search registration) regarding your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

In order to receive unemployment benefit, you must be available to the placement services of your local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit"), among others.

If you do not have access to the labour market, i.e. you are not allowed to take up employment in Germany, you do not meet the eligibility conditions. Whether you can draw German unemployment benefit therefore also depends on your residence status.

If you have residence status under the withdrawal agreement, your insurance periods completed in the United Kingdom in the context of the posting may be taken into account for entitlement to unemployment benefit under the rules of the coordinating regulations (EC) No 883/04 and 987/09. Under EU law, the following applies:

  • If, during your employment under UK social security legislation, you lived in Germany, your UK periods of insurance can be taken into account for German unemployment benefit.
  • If you were not living in Germany when you were employed under British social security legislation, your British periods of insurance can only be taken into account for entitlement to German unemployment benefit if you were last employed in Germany and were subject to compulsory insurance before registering as unemployed and applying for German unemployment benefit.

If you have residence status under the general provisions of the immigration law („Aufenthaltsgesetz” or „Beschäftigungsverordnung”) and not under the withdrawal agreement, your UK insurance periods cannot normally be taken into account for entitlement to unemployment benefit.

The Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") will decide on your residence status (residence permit).

For more information on residence rights and the procedure at the immigration authorities, please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI).

However, we cannot provide any information about possible claims to British unemployment benefit. If you have any questions, please ask in the United Kingdom.

If you have any questions regarding posting, please contact the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad (DVKA).

British citizens, who after the end of the transitional period, become resident in Germany, take up employment here or are sent to Germany (New-Britons).

Employed New-Britons

After the end of the transitional period, New-Britons will need a residence permit entitling them to work.

If you have already found an employer, you need a residence permit allowing you to work.

Britons who take up employment in Germany on or after 1 January 2021 are subject to German legislation (territoriality principle) under Section 3(1) of Social Code IV ("SGB IV").

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. However, the extent to which placement on the German labour market is possible must be clarified in each individual case. Please contact your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for further information.

New-Britons are to be treated like other third-country nationals and thus in accordance with the provisions of the Residence Act ("Aufenthaltsgesetz"), i.e. if the other eligibility criteria and a corresponding residence permit are met, they may be entitled to unemployment benefit II.

You are in need of help. This means that your financial situation is not sufficient for your livelihood. You are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the standard retirement age. Your usual place of residence is in Germany and you are fit for work, i.e. you are not permanently unable to work at least 3 hours a day due to illness or disability. For foreign nationals, special rules apply with regard to the legal status of residence. Details on this and further information on unemployment benefit II can also be found in the fact sheet in our download center.

Unemployed New-Britons (or threatened unemployment)

If you lose your job, you can always take a new one. However, the requirement is that the Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") issues a residence permit in order to be able to take up the new employment.

If you only began living in Germany permanently after 31 December 2020, you cannot derive any rights of residence under the withdrawal agreement.

In order to be entitled to German unemployment benefit, you must meet the eligibility requirements set out in the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III).

General information on unemployment benefit is available on the website of the Federal Employment Agency under ''Unemployed and finding work''.

Please note that if you are threatened with unemployment, you must register as unemployed at an early stage in order to avoid disadvantages (blocking period due to late job-search registration) regarding your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

In order to receive unemployment benefit, you must be available to the placement services of your local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit"), among others.

If you do not have access to the labour market, i.e. are not allowed to take up employment in Germany, you do not meet the availability requirement. Whether you can draw German unemployment benefit therefore also depends on your residence status.

The Immigration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") will decide on your residence status (residence permit).

For more information on residence rights and the procedure at the immigration authorities, please visit the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Homeland Affairs (BMI). 

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. However, the extent to which placement on the German labour market is possible must be clarified in each individual case. Please contact your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for further information.

New Britons are to be treated like other third-country nationals and thus in accordance with the provisions of the Residence Act ("Aufenthaltsgesetz"), i.e. if the other eligibility criteria and a corresponding residence permit are met, they may be entitled to unemployment benefit II.

You are in need of help. This means that your financial situation is not sufficient for your livelihood. You are at least 15 years old and have not yet reached the standard retirement age. Your usual place of residence is in Germany and you are fit for work, i.e. you are not permanently unable to work at least 3 hours a day due to illness or disability. For foreign nationals, special rules apply with regard to the legal status of residence. Details on this and further information on unemployment benefit II can also be found in the fact sheet in our download center.

Special provisions for posted new Britons

General information on unemployment benefit is available on the website of the Federal Employment Agency under ''Unemployed and finding work''.

Please note that if you are threatened with unemployment, you must register as unemployed at an early stage in order to avoid disadvantages (blocking period due to late job-search registration) regarding your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

If you are in principle entitled to unemployment benefit in Germany (see FAQ: Can I receive unemployment benefit in Germany?), the question arises as to whether your British insurance periods completed during the posting can be taken into account for German unemployment benefit.

Britons, who have a connection to Germany or another EU Member State only after 31.12.2020 (in particular by living or working in Germany or an EU Member State) cannot derive any rights from the withdrawal agreement. Regulations (EC) No. 883/04 and 987/09 on the coordination of social security systems are then not applicable. This means that UK insurance periods cannot then be taken into account for German unemployment benefit entitlement.

However, we cannot provide any information about possible claims to British unemployment benefit. If you have any questions, please ask in the United Kingdom.

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. However, the extent to which placement on the German labour market is possible must be clarified in each individual case. Please contact your local employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for further information.

If you have any questions regarding posting, please contact the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad (DVKA).