Parliament passes laws on UK citizens' rights post-Brexit

Poland's Sejm (lower house) passed a government bill on Friday concerning the principles of residency in Poland for UK citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A separate law was passed safeguarding Polish clients of UK financial institutions in such a scenario.

The law on UK citizen's rights includes, among other provisions, rules on unemployment benefit for UK citizens in Poland, and for Poles who have worked in the UK. The law was passed by 441 votes to three with no abstentions. The new law lays down the principles for residency in Poland of UK citizens and their family members. It was prepared by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.

The law also defines the principles of protection of workers' claims in the event of the employer not paying them being a British firm as well as the rights of UK citizens and their family members to general health insurance for the period to which they are granted temporary or permanent residency, the rules for recognising UK driving licences, and the executions of court orders on the basis of rulings made by a British court.

Deputy Interior Minister Renata Szczęch underscored during the bill's first reading that, "under the new regulations Britons living in Poland and their family members (...) will have 21 months (from the date of exit) to submit an application to confirm their residency status in Poland."

She emphasised that the solutions proposed in the bill "are based on the principle of reciprocity." "We have the guarantee of Prime Minister May, made during a visit to our country, but also confirmed multiple times by representatives of the British government, that the principle of reciprocity will be applied towards Polish citizens living in Great Britain."

She added that until December 30, 2020, travel to the UK would be possible on the basis of an ID card and that from January 1, 2021 a new migration system would be applied. She noted that Poles who travel to Britain between March 30, 2019, and December 31, 2020, for more than three months will have to apply for a three-year residency permit.

In a related development, the Sejm passed a law intended to protect the interests of Polish clients of British financial institutions in the event of a no-Brexit. The law, on doing business by certain financial market entities from the UK and Gibraltar was passed by 395 votes in favour with none against and one abstention.