United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU (Brexit)
As a result of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU (Brexit), the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the EU (FMOPA), as well as Regulations (EC) No. 883/2004 and (EC) No. 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems, do no longer apply to relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom since 1 January 2021.
Protection of acquired rights
In order to regulate the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the FMOPA and to guarantee the rights that insured persons have acquired under the FMOPA, an agreement on citizens' rights has been concluded between Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This agreement is applicable from 01.01.2021. It maintains the rights arising from the FMOPA for persons who were subject to the FMOPA before 01.01.2021. This agreement has been supplemented by a decision of the Swiss-EU Joint Committee of the FMOPA, which extends the protection of rights to EU nationals and cross-border situations involving the EU:
New social security agreement
Switzerland and the United Kingdom concluded a new social security agreement on 9 September 2021, which is intended to ensure the long-term coordination of the social security systems of the two states after the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU.
The agreement will be provisionally applicable from 1 November 2021. It will definitively enter into force once the parliaments of both states have approved it.
The new social security agreement contains the same coordination principles as the FMOPA (equal treatment; determination of applicable legislation; aggregation of insurance periods, export of benefits, administrative assistance and cooperation between authorities and institutions). The provisions from the EU coordination law (EU Regulations No. 883/2004 and No. 987/2009) have been slimmed down and tailored to the needs of the two states.
These communications explain the effects in detail:
- old-age and survivors' insurance / supplementary benefit: AHV/EL Mitteilung Nr. 444 (German)
- Invalidity insurance: IV-Rundschreiben Nr. 408 (German)
- Family benefits: Familienzulagen Mitteilung Nr. 44 (German)
The following text of the agreement is not an official publication. Only the texts published in the Official Compilation of Federal Law are legally binding.
You will find here further information on the social security provisions of the agreement via:
Text of the agreement
(as far as social security is concerned, these provisions also apply to EU nationals)
Special report of the journal Soziale Sicherheit:
Rebuilding Social security coordination with the United Kingdom following Brexit
Upon departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (FMOPA) between Switzerland and the EU no longer applies to the United Kingdom. In order to safeguard and, where possible, build on the rights and obligations applicable between Switzerland and the UK beyond Brexit, the Federal Council adopted the 'Mind the Gap' strategy, named after the famous announcement on the London Underground.
The aim of the strategy in terms of social security was to protect rights acquired under the FMOPA, safeguard obligations, and to achieve at least the same level of protection as provided by the newly designed relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom.
To coincide with the provisional application of the new social security convention between Switzerland and the UK, which begins on 1 November 2021, the special report of our journal takes a detailed look at the multiple rounds of negotiations and agreements that were required to plug the social security gaps Brexit threatened to open.
Last modification 17.11.2021