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Brexit: Grace period for British citizens ending on 1 October 2021


The grace period for British citizens who arrived in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 will end on 1 October 2021. This means that they do not have a lawful residence status in the Netherlands from this date, unless they have obtained a valid residence permit or submitted an application for one before 1 October 2021.

However British citizens who arrived in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 will still be able to apply for a residence permit until 1 October 2022. In a letter to the Dutch Lower House Secretary of State Ankie Broekers-Knol confirmed that this policy decision takes into account the fact that over 2,000 eligible British citizens have not yet applied.

British citizens and their family members who resided and registered in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 previously had until 30 June 2021 to apply for a Dutch residence permit. This was subsequently extended to 1 October 2021. Broekers-Knol confirmed that it was decided not to extend the deadline again as doing so could give the impression that applying for a post-Brexit residence permit is not a priority. The end of the grace period means that the residence status of British citizens who did not apply for a residence permit before 1 October 2021 will change from lawful to unlawful. This can have significant consequences, including losing the right to work in the Netherlands without a work permit.

However the Dutch government intends to limit the impact of submitting a late application as much as possible. As a result, applications will still be accepted and processed until 1 October 2022. If the criteria are met then the post-Brexit residence permit will be issued and the applicant’s residence status will change from unlawful back to lawful with retroactive effect. After this 12 month period, i.e. from 1 October 2022, this flexible policy will end. That is with one exception, namely British citizens who were under 18 years old on 1 October 2021 and apply for a post-Brexit residence permit. This is in order to ensure negligence by parents does not adversely affect the position of their children. 

According to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) this flexible policy also applies to frontier workers who started their activities before 1 January 2021. However these individuals may only work in the Netherlands if they have a valid frontier worker document or submitted an application before 1 October 2021. 

What does this mean for you as an employer?

Employers were already required to secure work authorisation for British employees that came to the Netherlands after 1 January 2021. This now also applies to British employees who arrived in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021, unless they have a valid post-Brexit residence permit or applied for one in time. 

Based on the Aliens’ Employment Act, employers are required to have a copy of the relevant permits in their records in case of an audit by the Dutch labour inspectorate.

We advise employers to make sure all their British employees are identified as soon as possible in order to ensure the appropriate applications are submitted in time. Employers are required to take active steps to verify the right to work status of their workforce in order to avoid penalties for non-compliance. 

Contact us

Daniël Sternfeld

Daniël Sternfeld

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)61 089 28 89

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