British Öresund commuters protected from no-deal Brexit: UK embassy

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
British Öresund commuters protected from no-deal Brexit: UK embassy
About 150 British people came to the meeting at Malmö's Town Hall. Photo: Richard Orange/The Local

British citizens who already live in Sweden and commute across to the Öresund Bridge to work in Copenhagen will be able to continue working under the same tax and employment conditions as today, even if there is a 'no-deal' Brexit.


"In the case of no deal, provided that you were working in Copenhagen at the time of whatever exit date, then you are fine to keep on in that existing employment," Dr Jonas Bruun, from the British embassy in Copenhagen, told UK citizens at a town hall meeting in Malmö on Monday evening, attended by The Local.
But those who are now looking for a job in Copenhagen, or those who have a job but then lose it, face a more uncertain situation. 
"It becomes a little bit more complicated if you lose that job in a no-deal situation," Bruun said. "The Danish legislation does not cover what will happen in that situation." 
Bruun later told The Local that the Danish Ministry of Employment had confirmed to him that anyone with the status of 'frontier worker' at the time of the UK's exit from the European Union would still be able to receive unemployment benefit if they lost their jobs. 
They would also be able to change jobs between Danish employees without altering their situation. 
They would not, however, be able to move to take a new job in Sweden and then return to working in Denmark with the same rights. 
"You can go from Lego to Carlsberg. But you can't work in Sweden and then come back," he said.  
Those who lose their 'frontier worker' status will no longer be able to take advantage of the deal between Sweden and Denmark over 'frontier workers', and will instead be treated in the same way as "third country citizens", unless or until a new deal is reached to cover this.
Jonas Bruun (left), a policy officer at the British Embassy in Copenhagen and Peter Ruskin (right) Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Stockholm. Photo: Richard Orange
Under a 2003 deal between Denmark and Sweden, workers commuting across the Öresund Bridge pay income tax in Denmark at the same time as receiving healthcare, education and other welfare in Sweden. 
The problem for Öresund commuters stems from the fact that while Sweden last week announced a one-year 'grace period' for UK citizens, Denmark is not offering a similar arrangement.  
Meggan Collins, who lives in Malmö but who has been studying architecture in Copenhagen, said she was disappointed that British cross-border workers would only be able to take advantage of the Öresund deal if they already had jobs. 
"This puts me in a pretty sticky situation," she told The Local. "A lot of the architecture jobs are in Denmark, not in Malmö, so I do feel a bit threatened now." 
She said she was worried that the starting salary for a newly qualified architect in Denmark would be too low to qualify her for a work permit under Denmark's points system for third country nationals, and that the six-month contracts normally offered would be too short. 
"I'm graduating in Denmark with a Danish degree that I've been doing for seven years now, and I'm going to come out not being able to get the highest job that I can in Denmark." 
Meggan Collins and her British boyfriend Jacob Coles. Photo: Richard Orange 
Lawmakers in London are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday, a day after May said she had secured a new and improved deal to leave the EU.

The British PM said on Monday she had secured "legally binding" guarantees from the EU designed to get the Brexit deal through the British parliament and avert a chaotic withdrawal.

She announced the move after a late evening dash to Strasbourg to hammer out the changes with top European officials, as the clock ticked down to Britain's scheduled divorce from the bloc on March 29th.

Read more about May's proposed deal here.


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