In a referendum held on the 23 of June 2016, the electorate of the United Kingdom (UK) has voted to leave the European Union.
Following the results of this vote, the British government has to decide on how it intends to proceed. The withdrawal from the EU will be subject of negotiations: That process could take some time. The EU treaty allows a period of two years for these negotiations with the possibility to extend this deadline with the consent of the UK and all EU member states. Only once such a withdrawal agreement comes into effect or the negotiating period has expired, the Withdrawal from the status of EU Member State will have legal force.
Despite the decision to leave the EU, current regulations regarding Swiss Citizens (for example the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, regarding social security especially its Annex II) remain valid for the time being, the current situation does not change. The Federal Council will follow the negotiations between the EU and the UK closely in order to negotiate a successor agreement. the interests of the insured persons are adequately taken into account. Rights required under the current regulations are maintained. The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons explicitly provides for the preservation of acquired pension entitlements in case of termination or non-renewal of the Agreement.
The bilateral social security agreement concluded by Switzerland and the UK remained valid notwithstanding its suspension when the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons entered into force. If, contrary to expectations, no other provision can be adopted and the current rules are not valid anymore, this bilateral agreement applies for areas covered by the material scope (old age insurance, invalidity, family allowances in the agricultural sector).
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA has set up a Helpline to answer calls regarding the impact of the United Kingdom’s decision on Swiss citizens: