Information about Brexit and what it means for the social security benefits available from Kela

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom announced its intent to withdraw from the European Union. A withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK was approved by the European Council on 25 November 2018. However, the UK Parliament has not ratified the agreement. The deadline for the withdrawal has been postponed three times through an agreement between the UK and EU, and the latest deadline is set for 31 January 2020. 

Should the UK withdraw from the EU, the withdrawal will either proceed in accordance with the terms of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement or the UK will leave the EU without an agreement.

We are monitoring the situation and will update this page as soon as more information becomes available.

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Withdrawal with an agreement

The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU contains provisions on a transition period lasting until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the social protection of persons moving between individual countries will remain largely the same as when the UK was a member of the EU. The withdrawal agreement applies to persons who have moved prior to the end of the transition period as well as to their family members.

However, there will be some changes, affecting for instance the registration of the right of residence.  Contact the authorities in charge of issuing residence permits for your country of residence in order to find out the necessary steps and deadlines. UK citizens residing in Finland are advised to follow the guidelines issued by the Finnish Immigration Service concerning residence rights.

Withdrawal without an agreement

If the UK departs without a withdrawal agreement, people moving between the UK and the EU countries will no longer be covered by the EU legislation on social protection and the free movement of persons. The payment of benefits to persons who move between the UK and the EU countries will thus no longer be based on EU rules, which means that the obligation to pay benefits from one country to another will no longer apply. However, the payment of some benefits may continue on the basis of national legislation.

For persons residing in Finland, the right to social benefits from Kela does not depend on their nationality but requires them to be legal residents of Finland and to be either living permanently or working in Finland. The benefit rights of persons who have lived or worked in Finland for a long period of time will not be affected significantly even under a no-deal scenario. The payment of UK benefits to Finland will depend on the UK legislation. If you draw benefits from the UK, please contact the UK authorities to find out whether you will continue to receive them also in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Kela’s customer service

Kela’s customer service number for international matters is open from 10 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday at 020 634 0200 (Finnish) and 020 634 0300 (Swedish). Both helplines also serve English-language customers.

On the Ask about international situations forum, experts from Kela answer questions concerning Kela benefits when moving to or from Finland. Customers are welcome to ask questions in Finnish, Swedish and English.

Additional information

Consequences of a withdrawal with or without an agreement

If the UK leaves the EU under the withdrawal agreement, the below only applies to the transition period specified in the agreement. In that case, Kela will provide more information at a later date about the payment of benefits after the transition period.