Dear fellow British citizens in Switzerland and Liechtenstein,
As I come to the end of my first year as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, I wanted to wish you all a good Christmas and say thank you for the support and cooperation the Embassy has received from many of you in a huge variety of ways.
The UK’s relationship with Switzerland and Liechtenstein is growing fast, and I am constantly impressed by the scale of the contribution UK nationals make in their adoptive homes. We share vital interests in business, science, technology, security, foreign policy and culture. I am proud to represent the UK in two countries that share our open approach to the world and our essential values. It has been a pleasure to meet many of you this year and to learn about your lives in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the contribution you are making, and your priorities for the future.
I know that your rights as a UK national living in Switzerland or Liechtenstein is an area which many of you are concerned about. I am therefore pleased to announce that the UK has reached agreements with Switzerland and the EEA EFTA countries (Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway), to protect the rights of UK nationals in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and Swiss and Liechtenstein nationals in the UK, as well as the many cross-border workers here.
These agreements mean that 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 your rights of residency, access to healthcare, pensions, social security coordination and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. The agreements will enable families who have built their lives together in the UK, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, to stay together.
Our citizens’ rights agreement with Switzerland also covers arrangements for the unlikely scenario that no deal is concluded with the EU by the time we leave. Even in this situation, the rights of UK nationals already living in Switzerland will be covered in the same way, with some small differences to the social security coordination arrangements. We are in the process of finalising “no deal” arrangements with Liechtenstein and the EEA EFTA states, and plan to publish a similar agreement with these countries very soon.
The full legal texts of the Switzerland and the EEA EFTA agreement, as well as explainer documents to help with some of the legal language. In addition, we will keep you updated on our social media pages Facebook and Twitter and through our “Living In” guides for Switzerland and Liechtenstein. I hope you will also consider joining the outreach events that we are planning in cities around Switzerland and Liechtenstein in January and February: check out our website for details and information on how to register.
I look forward to seeing many of you in 2019. In the meantime, the whole team at the British Embassy Berne sends you our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
HM Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein