Sweden announces no-deal rights for British expats

Sweden announces no-deal rights for British expats

Sweden announces no-deal rights for British expats

For would-be expats heading to or just arrived in Sweden, the Brexit effect may have negative effects on both lifestyles and careers.

Should the UK crash out of the EU in just over two weeks’ time, Britons already living and working in Sweden will need to get their passports stamped in order to travel within the EU for one year. The new requirement gives British expats and their families a single year’s breathing space before they must apply for residence and work permits. Many of their current rights will be retained but only for the stated one year, after which permits will definitely be needed.

It’s not yet clear whether British expatriates will be forced to adhere to existing immigration laws, but Sweden’s leading business federation is warning of big problems occurring should new legislation dealing with this specific issue not be introduced. Whilst the estimated 200,000 UK expats in the country are relieved to be given a year to sort their lives out without losing their rights to remain, their long-term futures would seem to be at risk.

Those who need to travel for work or family-related reasons must now apply for proof of legal residence and via a stamp in their passports issued by Sweden’s Migration Agency. Yesterday’s UK parliamentary vote rejecting May’s deal has brought the possibility of a no-deal expat closer than is comfortable, as the option of the two-year transition period would then be non-applicable.

During a transition period, British expats legally resident in Sweden and those who arrive during the two year period would retain many of their rights, including those of work, study and legal residence in the country for the remainder of their lives. Britons who’d already lived in Sweden for five years would be given permanent residency, with later arrivals receiving temporary residency allowing them to complete the necessary five years before applying for permanent residency status.

Sadly, yesterday’s vote brings yet more insecurity for all UK expats in Europe as well as for the EU member states who’ve done their best to protect British expats caught up in Britain’s worst political crisis since the end of WWII. Whilst it seems the vast majority of British expats in Europe have been given at worst a breathing space and at best a pathway to citizenship in their chosen countries, the devastating effects of uncertainty, worry and panic caused by the British government’s uncaring approach to its peoples’ problems overseas have shown the UK political system is unfit for a state which calls itself a democracy.

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