Information about Brexit: Export of German Unemployment Benefit

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Preliminary remarks

On 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU) with a withdrawal agreement.

The withdrawal agreement fully protects the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK at the end of the transition period and the rights of British citizens residing in the EU at the end of the transition period.

On 31 December 2020, the transition period agreed in the withdrawal agreement ended. On 30 December 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force provisionally on 1 January 2021 and formally on May 1, 2021.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement governs the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom. In addition to provisions on a comprehensive economic partnership, it also contains, among other things, coordination rules on social security.

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.

If you meet the conditions laid down in Article 30 of the withdrawal agreement, you can, in principle, take your German unemployment benefit entitlement with you to the United Kingdom to look for work under the rules of the Coordination Regulations (EC) No 883/04 and 987/09.

In order to meet the requirements of Article 30 of the withdrawal agreement, as a German or a national of another EU Member State, you must belong to one of the two groups of cases:

  • Case group 1: You have had a connection with the United Kingdom since 31.12.2020 at the latest. This may be because you have lived or worked in the United Kingdom or because you were covered by UK social security legislation. The nature of your relationship with the United Kingdom may change, for example from living to working. It is important, however, that you have been in a situation relating to the United Kingdom for most of the time up to the date on which you applied for export of your unemployment benefit.
  • Case group 2: You have been living in the UK since 31 December 2020 at the latest and have a right of residence in the UK under the withdrawal agreement ("settled status" or "pre-settled status"). It is important that your right of residence remains valid until the export of your unemployment benefit has been applied for. Settled status is maintained for up to 5 years' absence from the UK and pre-settled status for up to 6 months' absence from the UK per year.

If you belong to case group 1 or 2, you can take your German unemployment benefit with you to the United Kingdom to look for work for a period of three months under the rules of the coordinating regulations (EC) Nos 883/04 and 987/09. The export period of three months can be extended to up to six months. In principle, you must have been available to the local employment agency ("Agentur für Arbeit") for at least four weeks for placement efforts before leaving the country.

You must ask your Agentur für Arbeit to take your unemployment benefit entitlement to the United Kingdom before you leave. Your Agentur für Arbeit will give you more information.

For information on the right of residence in the United Kingdom, please contact the relevant British authorities (for example on the EU Settlement Scheme)

For UK nationals, the export of German unemployment benefit to find work in the UK is described in the FAQ (see also FAQ on the export of unemployment benefits: If I am entitled to unemployment benefit, can I take it with me to look for work in the United Kingdom (export)?).