Social coordination remains largely intact.
UM – 01/2021
The transitional period ended on 31st
December 2020: The United Kingdom (UK) has withdrawn from the EU single market,
the customs union and other EU policies, and the current withdrawal agreement
will be replaced by the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Partnership Agreement).
This will involve far-reaching changes. However, when it comes to social
matters, the “Partnership Agreement” means that EU law will continue to apply
in many cases. And that is a good thing.
The “Partnership Agreement” will apply to new cases
Having succeeded in reaching an agreement,
in principle, at the last minute, the “Partnership Agreement” is now awaiting
ratification but it can be applied provisionally. Under the “Partnership
Agreement”, a provisional distinction is to be made between existing and new
The “Withdrawal Agreement” will continue to be applied to "existing cases"
The new “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”
essentially assumes the arrangements for coordinating the social security
systems included in EU Regulation Nos. 883/2004 and 987/2009. Starting from the
1st January 2021 it will be applied to all cases or situations that did not
previously have a cross-border element. For situations that started before the
end of the year, the coordination rules apply under the conditions set out in
the “Withdrawal Agreement”. This came into force on the 1st February
The EHIC remains valid
This means that as before, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can still
be used for temporary stays in the United Kingdom. The same applies in the case
of UK nationals needing treatment in an EU member state. This is because
cross-border sickness benefits will continue to apply, in principle, under the
new “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”. Over time, the EHIC will have to be
replaced in the UK by new formats establishing proof of entitlement. People
covered by the “Withdrawal Agreement” will have to apply to a UK institution
for a EHIC in a new design or a PRC (Provisional Replacement Certificate). This
applies, for example, to workers sent to the UK. Students, who are resident in
the UK and are already studying in a member state before the turn of the year
will be issued with an EHIC or PRC valid for a limited period of time and only
for the country they are studying in.
Not everything is retained
However, long-term care benefits are no
longer transferable under the new “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”. The same
applies to family, unemployment and disablement benefits. Previously, workers
insured in an EU member state could also work in the UK for 24 months without
having to be insured there. The domestic insurance was retained. Under the new
legal situation, the principle that insurance must be obtained in the country to
which the worker was sent will apply. However, under a corresponding
notification, the sending abroad rule included in Coordination Regulation
883/2004 will continue to be applied and the insurance can be maintained in the
country from which they were sent. However, exceptions that were possible in
the past, such as an extension to the 24-month period, will no longer be
permitted in the future.
UK: Health fee becomes due
Another drawback: EU citizens will now also
have to pay an annual Immigration Health surcharge (IHS) of 400 pounds when
they move to the UK. This fee, which has been levied since 2015, was introduced
to discourage "immigration into the UK's free state healthcare
system". However, you can have this fee reimbursed.