The Latest Brexit Vote, and After

The defeat on January 15th of the Brexit deal concluded by UK Prime Minister Theresa May was inevitable. We predicted last Summer that whatever she came up with it could not break through the inescapable mathematics of parliamentary battle lines. FedEE also recommended to the Prime Minister last year that the priority should be to delay the Brexit deadline from March 29th until at least the end of 2019 in order to work out a cross-party deal. That now looks to be the only possible way of avoiding the UK crashing into a “no deal Brexit” in a few weeks’ time.

We at FedEE could see all this coming even before the referendum in 2016. That is why we moved many of our operations to Cyprus early that year in order to stay within the EU. The transition has been a headache at times, but the benefits have far outweighed the difficulties. Now any organisation that has not made its move is likely to find it is already far too late. However, if UK-based companies still wish to consider alternatives to a British post-Brexit economy in crisis they should contact our Nicosia-based EU enterprise unit on 00357 22256381.


  • Entry into force: 30 March 2019.
  • The Joint Committee may, before 1 July 2020, adopt a single decision extending the transition period up to 31 December 2020.

*HOST State: In respect of Union citizens, the United Kingdom. In respect of UK nationals and their family members, the Member State they reside in.

Rights of Workers

Workers and frontier workers in the host State shall enjoy the rights guaranteed by The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU):

1. the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality as regards employment;
2. to pursue an activity (in accordance with rules applicable to the nationals);
3. the right to assistance by the employment offices as offered to nationals;
4. equal treatment in employment, dismissal and in case of unemployment, reinstatement or reemployment;

5. the right to social and tax advantages and collective rights;
6. the right for their children being admitted to general education under the same conditions as other nationals;
7. self-employed persons: have the right to pursue activities as self-employed persons and set up undertakings under the conditions laid down by the host State for its own nationals.

Right of exit and of entry

  1. Union citizens/UK Nationals/Respective family will have the right to leave and enter the State with a valid passport or national identity card (and with a valid passport in the case of family members who are not Union citizens).
  2. Five years after the end of the transition period, the host State may decide no longer to accept national ID cards.
  3. No exit/entry visa shall be required of holders of valid documents. After the end of the transition period, the host State shall grant persons every facility to obtain the necessary visas, free of charge.

Right of permanent residence

  1. Union citizens/UK Nationals who have resided legally for a continuous period of 5 years shall have the right to reside permanently. The right of permanent residence shall be lost only through absence from the host State for a period exceeding 5 consecutive years.
  2. Those who resided legally for a period of less than 5 years, will have the right to acquire the right to permanent residence, once they have completed the 5 year period.


  • Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, by virtue of their Union citizenship, will continue to enjoy, exercise and have access to rights, opportunities and benefits that come with citizenship of the Union for the people of Northern Ireland who choose to assert their right to Irish citizenship.
  • This Protocol sets out arrangements to maintain the necessary conditions for continued North- South cooperation and avoid a hard border and protect the 1998 Agreement in all its dimensions.
  • The United Kingdom shall ensure that no reduction of rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity as set out in that part of the 1998 Agreement results from its withdrawal from the Union.


  • Spain and the United Kingdom shall closely cooperate with a view to preparing the effective implementation on citizens’ rights, which fully applies, inter alia, to frontier workers residing in Gibraltar or in Spain.
  • Spain and the United Kingdom shall establish a coordinating committee for regular discussion to monitor matters relating to employment and labour conditions.
  • Union law on air transport which did not apply to the Gibraltar airport before 30 March 2019 shall only become applicable to the Gibraltar airport from the date established by the Joint Committee.


MOBILITY: Noting that the United Kingdom has decided that the principle of free movement of persons between the Union and the United Kingdom will no longer apply, the Parties should establish mobility arrangements that will be based on non-discrimination. In this context, the Parties aim to provide, through their domestic laws, for visa-free travel for short-term visits.

OFFICIAL LEGAL ADVICE TO UKG: This was initially withheld from the UK Parliament and is only controversial because of that fact. It says nothing that is not obvious from the agreement itself – such as the need to continue making contributions to the EU budget until such time as the UK has separated itself from the EU in all but a simple trade deal. There cannot, in practice, ever be a final legal resolution of the Irish border question so long as there is a land border through the island of Ireland and a hard border is not workable or acceptable.

FedEE will continue to update Members on key developments as things unfold.

Copyright: The Federation of International Employers (FedEE)