The UK has reached an agreement with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway which protects
the rights of our citizens who have chosen to call each other’s countries home, as well as
resolving a small number of other issues arising from the UK’s exit from the EU. This
agreement largely mirrors the Withdrawal Agreement agreed with the EU.
This means that UK and EEA EFTA citizens living in each other’s countries at the end of the
implementation period will be able to continue enjoying broadly the same rights as they do
now. This includes arrangements on residency, healthcare, pensions and education, social
security coordination and mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Over 15,000
nationals from EEA EFTA countries living in the UK and approximately 17,000 UK nationals
living in the EEA EFTA countries will benefit from these arrangements.
As these countries participate in the single market and other EU-led initiatives, this
agreement will mirror a small number of the other relevant separation issues that we have
agreed with the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement. The separation issues covered by this
agreement are: arrangements on goods placed on the UK or EEA EFTA markets, intellectual
property, ongoing police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, data protection, public
procurement, and ongoing judicial procedures. This is significant, given that total UK trade
with the EEA EFTA states amounted to almost £30bn in 2017.
The agreement will be concluded before exit day and, alongside the EU Withdrawal
Agreement, it will be legislated for through the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. However,
the rights and obligations of the EEA Agreement and other international agreements with
these countries will continue to apply to the UK for the duration of the implementation period.
This means that businesses and citizens will face no immediate changes in existing rules.
EEA EFTA nationals living in the UK will be able to apply to the UK’s Settlement Scheme in
the same way as EU citizens.
In the unlikely event of ‘no deal’ with the EU, the UK would still pursue a citizens’ rights
agreement with the EEA EFTA states. We are discussing this with the EEA EFTA states. In
any scenario, EFTA nationals will be able to stay in the UK post-exit.
The Governments of the UK, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein issued the following joint
statement on this announcement:
We are pleased to have reached this agreement. It will
protect the rights of our citizens as the UK leaves the EU, and it will provide certainty to
businesses. We want to put in place new arrangements from the end of the implementation
period to protect our historic relationships, including in the area of trade.
EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and Explainer
Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement and Explainer
UK agreements with the EEA EFTA states and Switzerland
Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement