In last summer’s referendum, British voters decided by a small majority to end the UK’s membership in the European Union. Following internal preparations within the British government, Prime Minister Theresa May formally announced to the EU on 29 March 2017 the UK’s intention to withdraw by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. There is now a two-year deadline to negotiate the specific terms of the exit.
Triggering Article 50 will initially have no effect on insured persons, companies and institutions that are protected by the Regulation on the coordination of social security systems (e.g. tourists, posted workers, retired pensioners and students). In fact, European social legislation will continue to apply unconditionally to the UK until the exit officially takes effect after the two-year transition period. The end of the transition period and the official exit from the EU can only be extended if all remaining Member States agree unanimously to an extension.
The exact arrangements concerning the rights of workers and insured persons in the relationship between Germany and the UK depend heavily on the negotiations over the exit agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom. However, as it currently stands, all affected parties must prepare themselves for the fact that, by 30 March 2019 at the latest, EU regulations will no longer apply to the UK and any rights associated with these regulations will also end.