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The effects of Brexit on unemployment security still partly unclear

The transition period for the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU expired on 31 December 2020. The EU and the UK signed a Partnership Agreement on 24 December 2020. The impacts of the interpretations of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Partnership Agreement on unemployment security may yet be specified. We will inform you of any changes.

The effects of Brexit on a person’s right to  unemployment security depend on whether the person is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement or the Partnership Agreement

Persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

Persons who have moved from the UK to Finland or from Finland to the UK during the transition period of the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 December 2020 at the latest will remain within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement and may also transfer periods of employment and insurance after the transition period in accordance with EU regulations. On these grounds, membership and insurance periods can still be transferred after the termination of the Withdrawal Agreement and it is possible to join the unemployment fund when returning from the UK even, if the question was of a third country, if the person has moved between the Member State and the UK by the end of the Withdrawal Agreement at the latest.

A person can search for a job in the EU/EEA even after the Withdrawal Agreement if they are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement

The status of persons who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and move after 1 January 2021 with regard to unemployment security is determined according to the Partnership Agreement. Under the Partnership Agreement, people can transfer their periods of employment and insurance when moving between the EU and the UK.  

Transferring periods of employment and insurance between the UK and the EU is provided for in EU law, so that exceptionally a person can join an unemployment fund when arriving from the UK, i.e. a third country, even when unemployed, from 1 January 2021.

However, a person covered by the Partnership Agreement cannot travel to the destination country to search for an EU/EEA job as of 1 January 2021. However, according to Finnish law, the person can stay in any country and still be entitled to an unemployment benefit as long as the job search is valid at the TE Office. The person is obliged to accept work and training and to return to Finland if work is offered.

According to the Partnership Agreement, a visa-free stay in the UK is limited to 3 months, so this may restrict the stay under national legislation.