Working in Europe
20 July 2021
Travelling to Europe from the UK for work has become more difficult since the Brexit deadline. Individuals will require work permits to travel and work in most EU countries if they are UK citizens. UK citizens are now subject to the same visa rules and restrictions as nationals from outside the European Union and EEA when working in Europe. For some, there are exceptions to allow the continuation of their previous arrangements with the destination country in Europe.
One of these exceptions applies to those eligible for a Frontier Worker permit, by the virtue of having commuted regularly to work at the destination country in Europe before 1 January 2021. This includes countries in EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association). This is possible as the rights of citizens have been protected under the Withdrawal Agreement, which came into effect on 31 January 2020.
As a frontier worker, individuals may be able to work in the country where they live, be employed or self-employed and even work in two countries based on their arrangements before 1 January 2021. Individuals will need to apply for a permit in the destination country to obtain the status of a frontier worker. Depending on the country, the visa can be referred to as ‘cross-border workers’ or ‘frontier workers’.
Travelling as a Frontier Worker
When travelling as a frontier worker you should keep your work permit to show with your passport at the border of the country you are entering in the Schengen Area. The requirement to have at least 6 months validity on passport for British citizens is not applicable for frontier workers when entering the country where they are a resident. Additionally, time spent as a frontier worker is not included when counting the 90-days visa free travel limit within a given 180 day period spent in the Schengen Area.
European Countries with Frontier Worker Permits
Countries that have a frontier worker or cross-border worker visa in place include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Each country has their own specific guidance in place for the application process and relevant fees. Applicants are therefore advised to check the guidance for the country they intend to obtain their permit from. The deadlines for applications for some of the countries have passed, although others are continuing to accept frontier worker applications.
Advice for Employers
This arrangement also offers a unique gateway as a visa alternative for employers who are looking to send their workers on assignment where they have been previously working on a continuous basis.
Smith Stone Walters can provide you with further guidance on meeting the eligibility requirements and criteria for working in Europe after Brexit. To speak to an advisor, please contact us today.