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The European Commission consistently emphasises the citizens’ rights and status in its hard Brexit preparations and contingency works. It appealed to EU Member Stats to take a generous approach towards the rights of UK citizens in the EU, given that the UK reciprocates such an approach. Therefore, in line with the Commission’s “no-deal” Contingency Action Plan, the Slovenian Government proposed and the Parliament adopted the Act regulating certain issues in the event of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from European Union without an Agreement (ZUVIZK).
The purpose of this law is to maintain the rights arising from residency, social security, access to the labour market, cross border provision of services, access to the educational system and research activities, mutual recognition of professional qualifications and the rights to family benefits and scholarships in the transition period. Access to rights for UK citizens in Slovenia is reciprocal, meaning that similar rights have to be granted to Slovenian citizens in the UK. For all the questions that aren’t addressed in this Act, the provisions of the Foreigners Act-ZTuj2 should be applied.
After the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, UK citizens in Slovenia and their family members will continue to be able to legally reside in Slovenia on the basis of certificates and permits issued to them and their family members on the basis of their EU citizenship. These residence certificates and permits will be valid for a year as of UK’s withdrawal from the EU, or until they are exchanged. If they were issued for a shorter period of time, they will preserve their validity until the expiration date.
The ZUVIZK enables UK citizens and their family members, to exchange their existing residence certificates and permits for residence certificates and permits which are issued to third-country nationals in the form of biometric ID cards. It is determined that UK citizens and their family members, that have a valid residence certificate or a permit, ought to change it within a year from UK’s withdrawal from the EU and in the case of a permit or residence certificate issued on a temporary basis they ought to do so before it expires.
These residence certificates and permits will be issued irrespective of the conditions for issuing such permits and residence certificates as defined under the Foreigners Act. In order to change these permits UK citizens and their family members should approach the administrative unite in whose jurisdictional territory they reside. The Act stipulates that in case that UK citizens or their family members don’t change the residence certificates and permits as defined above, they may apply for follow-up residence certificates and permits, the issue of which will be determined in accordance with the conditions set out by the Foreigners Act, with some modifications in favor of UK citizens and their family members. The Act determines that, if they miss the time-frame for changing residence certificates and permits that were obtained before UK left the EU and they didn’t apply for a follow-up residence certificates and permits, they will be able to apply for residence certificates and permits, but such applications will be judged in accordance with the conditions set out by the Foreigners Act.
If UK citizens and their family members requested residence certificates, or for permits issued to EU citizens and their family members, and they haven’t been decided upon on the day of UK’s withdrawal from the EU, they will continue to be processed under the conditions that apply to the issuance of those certificates and permits under the Foreigners Act-2, taking in the account all the provided modifications of ZUVIZK. The certificate of the submitted request serves as a residence certificate or permit until a decision about the request has been made.
In case that UK citizens and their family members don’t have a registered residence or a residence permit on the day of UK’s withdrawal and are staying in Slovenia during the 90-day residence period, they will be allowed to submit applications for temporary residence permits as set out in ZUVIZK before the expiration of the 90-day residence period. If they don’t obtain a valid residence certificate or permit before UK’s withdrawal from EU, or if they would enter Slovenia after the withdrawal, they shall, in matters regarding the entry, residence and departure be subject to the provisions of the Foreigners Act-2.
Social security rights, in particular the rights arising from compulsory pension and disability insurance, the right to unemployment allowance and the right for compensation for parental care, will be ensured to UK citizens if they were the beneficiaries of those rights under the provisions of Regulation 883/2004/ES on the day before UK’s withdrawal from EU. The same applies, if these provisions would start to apply after UK’s withdrawal from the EU, in a no-Brexit case and for social security rights that are granted to family members by Regulation 883/2004/ES. These rights are granted to their beneficiaries during the transition period, therefore until 31 December 2020.
The right of access the labour market stays preserved for UK citizens and their family members until their residence certificates and permits granted under this law expire, but not before 31 December 2020, and is governed by the Act on employment and self-employment of foreigners / ZZSDT.
Regarding the right to family benefits and scholarships, UK citizens and their family members are considered as EU citizens until the 31 December 2020. Same applies for the right of access to the educational system in Slovenia as for pursuing research activities.
The process for the recognition of professional qualifications stays intact. Furthermore, the right to a cross border provision of services remains active. To be more precise, the occasional or temporary providers of services may remain active until their services are completed, while the permanent providers of cross border services may remain active until the completion date of the provided services, as was determined in the certificate issued by the Slovenian Employment Agency.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.