Brexit: What Brits in Germany need to know about the law to guarantee residency

All British citizens who are lawfully resident in Germany up until the end of the Brexit transition period will be allowed to stay, a new law states. Here are the details.

Brexit: What Brits in Germany need to know about the law to guarantee residency
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in August 2019. Photo: DPA

The Withdrawal Agreement protects a set of rights for UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. Each member state is responsible for implementing the residence provisions of the agreement.

Germany has now adopted the law (Gesetzentwurf) which outlines the German government’s plans for implementing the terms of that Withdrawal Agreement.

Germany has opted for a so-called “declaratory system”.

Under the new law all British citizens who are lawfully resident in Germany according to EU freedom of movement law before the end of the transition period (currently December 31st 2020) will be entitled to stay in Germany.

To receive a new residence document confirming their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK nationals will need to contact their local foreigners authority (Ausländerbehörde) by June 30th 2021 at the latest, the British Embassy in Germany told The Local.

The German government had been considering which system it would opt for when it comes to residency permits for Brits in Germany after the transition period.

The options were a constitutive system, where people would have to apply for the rights to remain under the Withdrawal Agreement, similar to the 'Settled Status' process in the UK or the declaratory system, which means people have their rights already, although they will be issued with a card to prove this.

READ ALSO: 'No big bang but things will change down the line': How Brexit will affect Brits in Germany

The declaratory system is favoured by citizens' rights campaigners, such as British in Germany.

What does the German system mean in practical terms?

British nationals will be issued a card that confirms their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

The cost for this card will be €28.80 for those older than 24, and €22.80 for those younger than 24.

Every individual will get a card, including children, while families are encouraged to request the card together. The card will also work as proof of identity within Germany – however, for travel, British nationals must still take their UK passport, in addition to the card.

The exact application process will depend on where in Germany UK nationals live – some foreigners authorities have already published information in their area and others have not.

UK nationals in Germany can only be issued the new document once the legislative process has been completed, which is expected to happen during the summer.

In the UK, the British government introduced the EU Settlement Scheme in March 2019. Since then, more than 3.2 million EU citizens have been granted a status securing their rights, including almost 90,000 Germans.

'Welcome step'

British Ambassador to Germany Sir Sebastian Wood said the decision would “reduce bureaucracy” for Britons.

He told The Local: “UK nationals living in Germany have faced much uncertainty since July 2016.  

“Germany’s decision to implement the Withdrawal Agreement via a so-called declaratory process is a welcome step, and will reduce the bureaucracy faced by UK nationals who wish to stay here.  

“We look forward to it being implemented swiftly across the country.  My team and I will continue to support UK nationals as they take the steps required to confirm their rights. “

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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.