The 129-page bill, which was filed on Wednesday, provides for temporary continuation of the majority of rights currently enjoyed by British citizens who live in Denmark under European Union free movement rules.
The aim of the proposed legislation is to cushion the impact of the consequences for Brits in Denmark, should the United Kingdom leave the union without a withdrawal agreement, the Ministry for Immigration and Integration wrote in a press statement.
Provided it passes parliamentary procedure, the proposed legislation is expected to come into effect on March 30th, should a no-deal scenario occur.
The bill provides for a temporary transitional arrangement which would enable British citizens and their families to remain in the country under an extension of rules currently in place under EU freedom of movement.
This includes the right to reside and work in Denmark, entitlement to social welfare benefits including certain types of pension (efterløn, førtidspension and folkepension), access to the education and healthcare systems, and recognition of vocational qualifications transferred from the UK.
The bill will apply to UK citizens and their family members who are legally resident in Denmark under EU free movement rules at the time of withdrawal, according to the proposal text.
In previous guidance published on the Ministry of Immigration website, British citizens living in Denmark who have not already obtained an EU registration certificate (EU-registreringsbevis), or have not already applied for one, were strongly advised to do so prior to March 29th. Family members of Denmark-based British citizens required to apply for Danish residence via their family member’s status are also advised to do so before this date.
- Danish government outlines no-deal Brexit advice for British residents
- EU citizen? Here's how your free movement rights apply in Denmark
British citizens who qualify for permanent residency (tidsubegrænset ophold) in Denmark in accordance with EU rules are also advised to apply for this prior to March 29th although the new legislation will grant permanent residency to those who qualify for it after this date. Permanent residency can be applied for after five years’ residence in Denmark under EU free movement rules.
“The United Kingdom is fast approaching Brexit. This is the first time a member state will leave the EU and is therefore a unique situation,” Minister for Immigration Inger Støjberg said in Wednesday’s statement.
“If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the (Danish government) wishes to ensure that the approximately 18,000 Brits who live in Denmark and who currently actively contribute to Danish society are not caught out,” Støjberg added.
The arrangement provided for by the bill is designed to be temporary and eventually be replaced by long-term agreements between the UK and the EU after Brexit, the Danish ministry writes in the statement.
A withdrawal agreement between British prime minister Theresa May and the EU was rejected by an overwhelming majority in the British parliament in January, and it remains unclear whether any agreement will be approved amid ongoing political turmoil in the UK.
Støjberg said in Wednesday’s statement that Denmark’s government “still hopes that the Brits [British parliament, ed.] approve the agreement made between the British government and the EU”, a view that has also been expressed by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
If no agreement is voted through, the default outcome is a no-deal British withdrawal on March 29th.