The result of the United Kingdom's referendum on membership of the European Union, held in June 2016, has raised questions for British citizens living and working in the Netherlands, as well as for businesses in the Netherlands employing Brits.
After the UK voted to leave the EU, many British citizens living in the Netherlands were unsure about their future rights for working and living in the Netherlands. The UK now intends to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, at the latest. Once the withdrawal agreement (deal) has been approved by the UK government, a transition period will begin, lasting until 31 December 2020 (unless otherwise extended).
During the negotiation period for the withdrawal agreement, the UK remains a member of the EU and British citizens retain all their rights under EU law, including that of free movement.
During the transition period, British citizens already resident in the Netherlands will retain their right to residency. No additional residence permit will be needed during the transition period – simply a valid passport. However, they will be invited to submit an application to the IND to obtain definite residence in the Netherlands after the transition period.
If a trade deal is not agreed between the EU states and the UK by 31 December 2020 and the transition period is not extended, the UK would leave the EU in a 'cliff-edge' or 'hard Brexit' scenario on this date.
Despite much speculation and published agreements following discussions with the EU, it is still impossible to definitively say what the future relationship and trade deal between the UK and the EU will look like. However, it is important for Amsterdam’s economy to maintain close ties to London and the rest of the UK, which is why the City of Amsterdam has remained in close contact with many members of the international business world to discuss potential challenges and chances related to the UK’s secession from the EU. Whatever the outcome of the negotiations is, Amsterdam will retain its international outlook, open to Europe as well as the rest of the world.
For answers to some frequently asked questions and explanations of potential scenarios, see the FAQ produced by the European Commission (pdf).
The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) provides information for UK nationals living in the Netherlands on its website. It recommends that all British and Northern Irish citizens in the Netherlands should do the following:
The IND’s Brexit pages are updated according to new developments. They provide further information, as far as that is possible, about what UK nationals can expect both in a no-deal scenario and in case an agreement is reached between Britain and the EU.
In January 2019, the IND updated British residents on how the Dutch government intends to continue their residency rights after the UK officially leaves the EU. Letters were sent out to the 45,000 British nationals that currently reside in the Netherlands.
The letter explained that during an initial 15-month transition period, in which British citizens will retain all their rights, they will be invited to submit an application for a residence permit that enables them to continue to reside in the Netherlands once they are no longer EU citizens.
A similar procedure took place in the lead-up to the deadline of 31 October 2019. British citizens who had moved to the Netherlands after 31 March 2019, or who had not previously received a temporary residence permit, were sent a letter by the IND.
If a no-deal Brexit becomes a definite outcome ahead of the upcoming deadline, the IND will once again send out temporary residence permits to all British citizens registered in the Netherlands. These will reflect the 15-month transition period with an updated expiry date.
If the UK government approves the current withdrawal agreement and leaves the EU by 31 January 2020, businesses will have a relatively short transition phase (until 31 December 2020) to prepare for post-Brexit scenarios – for example, new border checks and procedures. The EU's free movement for goods and workers will no longer to apply to the UK.
The Dutch government has prepared an overview of potential effects of a no-deal Brexit for companies. The ‘Brexit impact scan’ (in Dutch) maps out how Brexit may affect import/export regulations, intellectual property, transport and digital services when working with the United Kingdom, so that businesses can prepare effectively.
The City of Amsterdam, IN Amsterdam and amsterdam inbusiness are keen to ensure that all parties who may be affected by Brexit remain up to date with the latest news and are aware of any potential policy changes, as well as clearly explaining the present situation. For that reason, a Brexit Information Point has been installed at IN Amsterdam, which will help to answer any questions raised by British citizens already living in the Netherlands, those moving here, as well as businesses directly affected by any future policies. Contact the Brexit Information Point by calling +31 (0)20 254 7999 or dropping into the IN Amsterdam office, where we are happy to assist you.