If you have a business in the UK employing EU nationals, and/or a business in the Netherlands employing UK nationals, the upcoming changes and proposed transitional arrangements in relation to the UK’s intended exit from the EU may be relevant to you and your employees. This article provides you with an overview of the key rules in the UK and the Netherlands, as well as recommendations on what your business can do now to prepare.

Brexit related Immigration Rules – UK

Whilst nothing is confirmed until everything is confirmed, the key points for EU citizens living in the UK in the event of a deal are:

  • EU nationals residing in the UK before 1 January 2021 will be able to continue their residence and apply for ‘Settled Status’ once they meet the criteria.
  • The deadline to apply for either ‘pre-Settled Status’ or ‘Settled Status’ will be 30 June 2021. Those who apply for ‘pre-Settled Status’ before the deadline and successfully receive it can apply for ‘Settled Status’ once they meet the criteria.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit:

  • The UK government will seek to end free movement as soon as possible.
  • EU nationals arriving in the UK after the UK leaves EU that wish to stay for longer than 3 months will need to apply for ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’, which would be valid for 3 years.
  • EU nationals residing in the UK before the UK leaves EU will be able to continue their residence and the deadline to apply for either ‘pre-Settled Status’ or ‘Settled Status’ will be 31 December 2020. Those who apply for ‘pre-Settled Status’ before the deadline and successfully receive it can apply for ‘Settled Status’ once they meet the criteria.

Brexit related Immigration Rules – The Netherlands

No deal
On 7 January 2019, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Dutch parliament describing the arrangements it envisages for UK citizens residing in the Netherlands in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The letter addresses various topics, including the right to reside and work in the Netherlands for UK citizens who can no longer rely on their EU-citizenship. The Dutch government’s proposal provides for a transitional period up to 30 June 2020.

  • UK citizens who legally reside in the Netherlands before Brexit will retain their right to reside, study and/or work in the Netherlands during this transitional period. This will be the same for their family members who do not have EU nationality. In order for UK nationals to establish their relevant rights during the transition period following a ‘no deal’, the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will provide them with a temporary residence permit in the form of a written declaration. Employers will need a copy of such temporary residence permit to establish the relevant individual’s right to work in the Netherlands.
  • During the transitional period, the IND will invite eligible UK citizens to apply for a residence permit on the basis of the requirements that apply to EU citizens (including that you are (self) employed or have sufficient resources). With this residence permit, UK nationals also have the right to work and study in the Netherlands.

If agreement is reached on withdrawal (deal), there will be a transition period from the date of Brexit until 31 December 2020. Different from a ‘no deal’ scenario, UK nationals do not require any special document to continue to reside and work in the Netherlands.

Only after 31 December 2020, they will need a residence document in order to stay in the Netherlands. Invitations to apply for such a residence document will be sent in phases during the transition period. Applications will be assessed on the same conditions applicable to EU citizens.

  • UK citizens who want to move their main residency to the Netherlands after Brexit will need to apply for residence and work permits (or combined permits), similar to the requirements that currently exist for non-EU/EEA or non-Swiss nationals. A separate temporary provisional residence permit for entering the Netherlands will not be required for this group of UK citizens. A similar exemption currently applies to US, Canadian, Japanese and South-Korean nationals.

IND’s website has a section on Brexit setting out the residence options in the Netherlands after Brexit (http://www.ind.nl/en/Pages/Brexit.aspx).


What can businesses do now to prepare?

  • Complete an internal audit identifying the key workers that the business relies on and the skill level of these roles.
  • Assess future business needs and identify any roles for which they may need to rely on migrant workers.
  • Decide strategy (both long and short term) for how the business will deal with post Brexit scenarios.
  • Put processes and policies in place to manage the potential impact of Brexit on both the day to day and future needs of the business.
  • Explore the work-related immigration requirements for positions to be filled with migrants after Brexit and/or the related transitional period.



For more detail on the immigration requirements that currently apply for third-country nationals, which may become relevant for UK nationals in The Netherlands and/or EU nationals in the UK in the period after Brexit, please contact us.

Sara Schermerhorn

Stephanie Dare

Sara Schermerhorn is Senior Advisor in the Amsterdam Employment practice. She advises on the full range of employment law and related topics and is responsible for the group’s know how. Sara has extensive experience advising on collective and individual dismissals, the employment law aspects and employee consultation requirements of mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing transactions and employee benefits, including relevant incentive schemes. Sara is also advising on whistleblower schemes. Her knowledge on work-related immigration issues adds value in Brexit related initiatives.

Stephanie Dare is a Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer in the London office and specializes in business related immigration to the UK. Stephanie has over 10 year experience in providing strategic and commercial advice relating to UK immigration laws and best practice.