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Brexit’s consequences for British employees, posted workers or business travellers in Poland

As of 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union and has since been recognised as a third country. This opened an 11-month transition period which will last until the end of 2020. This is the first case in which a country leaves the EU and has since led to many legal and practical dilemmas. As part of our #Brexit feature we present some of the main problems and explain the key issues concerning labour laws and workers’ rights.

Below are some of the ramifications caused by Brexit, concerning employment, posted workers and business travel for British citizens in Poland, during the transition period and thereafter.

  • The transition period

During this time, the UK remains a part of the Single Market. EU laws still remain applicable to British citizens staying in other member states, and the free flow of persons and goods is still possible. This means that they may still visit or stay in Poland for work purposes under the same rules as before.

Therefore, UK citizens are exempt from visas and work permits required from third-country citizens. Any professional qualifications will still be recognised under the 2005/36/EC directive which states that EU citizens, including certain countries, can apply for their UK qualifications to be recognised.

In the case of an employee sent to temporarily provide services (‘posted worker’), it is not necessary to meet any additional requirements beyond those imposed by the Posted Workers Act of 10 June 2016 (as amended). Such is the case with the obligation to notify and to ensure minimal employment conditions under British regulations.

Business travellers to Poland are still not required to meet any additional requirements.

Persons planning to settle in Poland for work reasons, during the transition period, are still subject to EU laws.

After the transition period

The exact rules for employment, posting of workers and business trips from the UK to Poland after this period still remain unclear. This period was established to negotiate future relations with the EU and to determine new conditions for mutual cooperation, which includes the issue of migration and employment. It is possible that these conditions will be more favourable in terms of employment and migration conditions for UK citizens in the EU than for citizens of other non-member countries.

As of 2021, the rules of cooperation, regarding business travel and posting workers (including visa and residence and work permits), between the UK and the EU may depend on the contents of a future Free Trade Agreement  to be negotiated between the UK and the EU during the transition period.

In accordance with the UK’s agreement with the EU, if the provisions remain unchanged after 1 January 2021, British citizens will, as a rule, still have the right to enter and stay in Poland provided that:

  • they exercised their right to reside in Poland before the end of the transitional period,
  • they continue their stay in Poland after the end of the transition period.

However, their right to reside in Poland is to be fully regulated in the negotiated agreement, and will be specified in relevant provisions of Polish law.

For other UK citizens who are not covered by the agreement, entry and stay in Poland will be possible on general principles applicable to non-EU nationals. In accordance with the planned regulations, these persons will be exempted from the obligation to have a visa for a short-term stay (under 90 days in any  180-day period) in the Schengen area, i.e. the EU Parliament and Council Regulation 2016/399 from 14 November 2018.

Magdalena Zgłobica