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.

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.

As a German or a citizen of another EU member state, you are generally allowed to work in Germany and can therefore generally meet the availability requirement.

Your UK insurance periods can only be taken into account for your German unemployment benefit entitlement if you meet two further requirements to the general eligibility criteria for unemployment benefit:

  • You must meet the requirements of Article 30 or 32 of the withdrawal agreement. Only then will Regulations (EC) No 883/04 and 987/09 on the coordination of social security systems be fully or partially applicable to you.
  • You must also meet the requirements of the coordinating regulations concerning the taking into account of foreign periods of insurance.

You fulfil the requirements of Articles 30 or 32 of the withdrawal agreement if you belong to one of the following three categories of cases:

  • Case group 1: You have been linked to the United Kingdom since 31.12.2020 at the latest. This reference may, in particular, be based on the fact that you have lived or worked in the United Kingdom or that you have been subject to UK social security legislation. The nature of your relationship with the UK may change, for example from living to working. However, it is important that you have been in a situation related to the UK for most of the time up to the date on which you applied for 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 after your return to Germany remains valid until the unemployment benefit you have applied for. Settled status is maintained for up to five years' absence from the UK and pre-settled status for up to six months' absence from the UK per year.
  • Case group 3: You do not belong to case groups 1 or 2, but you were employed in the UK for compulsory insurance purposes before 01.01.2021, or you were covered by UK social security legislation for some other reason (e.g. receipt of UK social benefits).

If you belong to one of the case groups 1 - 3, your British insurance periods can be taken into account for German unemployment benefit according to the following rules of the coordinating regulations (EC) No 883/04 and 987/09:

  • If you were a frontier worker in the UK, your UK periods of insurance may be taken into account for German unemployment benefit. You were a frontier worker if you commuted to your German place of residence at least once a week during your employment in the UK or if you had your main place of residence in Germany.
  • If you have not been a frontier worker, your British periods of insurance can only be taken into account for German unemployment benefit if you were employed in Germany on a compulsory insurance basis last before registering as unemployed and claiming German unemployment benefit.

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

The counselling services offered by the Federal Employment Agency are basically still available to you. You can also contact us from abroad. For this purpose, the Virtual Welcome Centre at the Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit is available to you under the telephone number +49228/713-1313.

Yes, because the place where the work is actually carried out is decisive in determining which legislation applies.

If access to German unemployment insurance depends on the recognition of foreign employment/insurance periods, e.g. in the case of compulsory application insurance ("Antragspflichtversicherung") or compulsory insurance for raising children, the periods completed in the UK can only be taken into account under the same requirements as those applicable to the entitlement to German unemployment benefit.

German nationals returning to Germany from the United Kingdom are entitled to unemployment benefit II if the other requirements are met.

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. Further information on unemployment benefit II can also be found in the fact sheet in our download centre .