German Lawyers for Brexit Affairs

Competent support from our full-service law firm

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German Lawyers
for Brexit Affairs

Competent support from our full-service law firm

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has significantly complicated business relations between Germany and the UK. There are many new regulations to consider, and it is not easy to keep track of them all.

If you have questions regarding individual regulatory areas of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement or generally about the applicable legal situation since 1 January 2021, contact the lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte. Our German lawyers for Brexit affairs offer tailored and comprehensive legal advice to both individuals and businesses, as well as assistance with residence permit applications, customs compliance, and other legal matters related to Brexit. We are happy to assist you with the steps required to ensure that your business can successfully adapt to the legal changes resulting from Brexit.

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Brexit: The Trade and Cooperation Agreement – What has Changed?

The United Kingdom ceased to be a member of the European Union on 1 February 2020. With the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK finally left the Single Market and the Customs Union. All EU provisions no longer apply to the UK. The ending of the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital brings with it far-reaching changes for both Britons and nationals of EU member states well as for businesses. Our German lawyers for Brexit affairs will provide you and your business with comprehensive legal service and thorough advice on all issues relating to the law and the changes brought upon by Brexit.

To mitigate the obstacles to cross-border trade, mobility, and exchange, the UK and the EU agreed on a draft Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 24 December 2020. This still requires the European Parliament’s approval and adoption by decision in the Council of the EU. Additionally, ratification must still take place in the United Kingdom. However, the agreement will initially enter into force provisionally from 1 January 2021.

This partnership agreement is intended to regulate relations in the future and includes a comprehensive free trade agreement, regulations on a partnership in the area of security for citizens, as well as provisions on the implementation and monitoring of the agreement. In the following, we would like to give you an overview of some important regulatory aspects and outline the services our law firm offers in the area of Brexit.

Still in force: The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, remains in force. In particular, it safeguards the rights of UK nationals legally residing in the EU no later than the end of the transitional period on 31 December 2020 and of EU citizens residing in the UK at the end of the transitional period. Even after 1.1.2021, they retain their free movement rights and can accordingly continue to live, work or study in the EU or the UK. They will also continue to enjoy the associated benefits of social security. Family members who are entitled to family reunification under EU law by 31.12.2020 at the latest can still join them in the future.

The Act on the Current Adaptation of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU and Other Provisions to EU Law has been in force in Germany since 24 November 2020. According to this law, British nationals must have notified their residence in Germany to the competent foreigners’ authority by 30 June 2021. They will then receive the “Residence Document-GB”.

Business Immigration to Germany after Brexit

As Brexit has become a reality, businesses in Germany and the United Kingdom face new challenges. Whereas there was frictionless trade between companies before Brexit, and ease of access to top professionals in the respective areas, Brexit has introduced new barriers. This means that German companies looking to hire UK citizens must ensure that these prospective employees’ residence permits and visas are in order. Our business immigration team advises companies about their available options. At Schlun & Elseven, we frequently partner with companies in Germany to oversee all of their labour immigration and other business immigration requirements.

Our business immigration lawyers also advise our corporate clients on the options available to them in setting up a business in Germany. Many companies in the UK may now need to establish corporate bodies and subsidiaries within the European Union to continue benefiting from the European Single Market. The inherent characteristics within your business decide the suitable form of company to operate. Let our legal experts examine your company’s situation and offer tailored solutions to your requirements.

Corporate Law in Germany and the Impact of Brexit

Easier access to the European Single Market can be obtained by UK companies should they expand their operations to the European Union and to Germany. The manner in which this expansion occurs depends on the characteristics of your business and your company’s aims with the expansion.

Our corporate lawyers advise on all matters relating to corporate expansion. Furthermore, we can be relied upon for advice relating to mergers & acquisitions and all other aspects of German corporate law. In the post-Brexit environment, having a reliable and competent German partner for all of your legal questions is vital.

Post-Brexit entrepreneurs from the UK can still establish companies in Germany, however, they will need to apply for an entrepreneurial visa under § 21 German Residence Act. This visa allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to settle in Germany and establish companies. Once the company is established in Germany, it is treated equally as a company established by German or EU citizens.

Our lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte support individuals in gaining residence permits including the residence permit for self-employment. Receive expert advice from our corporate lawyers on your business plan and whether your idea fulfils the established requirements.

 

Contracts and Commercial Law after Brexit

UK’s withdrawal from the EU has ended the free movement of goods between Germany and the UK. The need for customs procedures and other associated formalities and controls has led to a greater administrative burden for businesses, and delays in supply chains and cross-border trade are made more difficult overall.

With the start of Brexit, it is vital for companies who operate between the UK and the EU to examine their contracts and determine how they apply in this new environment. For example, some contracts may specifically reference that they are valid within the EU or the Single Market and may have unintended consequences now that the UK has left both.

The leaving of the European Union may also result in German and other EU-based companies seeking to source their materials from non-UK-based businesses. This may, in turn, lead to disputes arising.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team advises and supports our corporate clients on the options available to them under commercial law and contract law. We will also represent your company in any disputes which may arise due to the impact of Brexit. Consult with us today to find out more about the options available to you.

Employment Law and the Recognition of Qualifications Post-Brexit

As a professional coming from the UK to Germany post-Brexit it is vital to check how your qualifications will be recognised post-Brexit. Recognition of qualifications obtained before the end of the Transition Period (31st December 2020) is as it was before Brexit, in accordance with EU rules regarding mutual recognition of qualifications. However, following Brexit, the situation is more complicated. Professional qualifications that are obtained in the UK post-Brexit can still be recognised in Germany, but this recognition is per national regulations relating to professional qualifications from third countries.

For UK citizens looking to come to Germany to work after Brexit, there is a requirement that they have the appropriate residence permits and visas. Once these have been obtained (such as the EU Blue Card) and they start their employment in Germany, their legal employer is responsible for employing them under fair conditions. If your employment rights have been infringed upon, then it is essential to consult with our experienced team of certified employment law experts. Additionally, our employment law team advises employers on their rights and responsibilities following Brexit.

Family Law and Family Reunification in Germany after Brexit

As the UK has become a third-country this leaves question marks over the resolution of family law matters post-Brexit. From prenuptial agreements and matters concerning pensions to issues relating to child access, divorce and international child abduction, there are many legal questions to be answered. Our family lawyers expertly advise on all aspects of family law and are ready to analyse your legal situation.

For employees coming from the UK to Germany post-Brexit there is also the question of the rules on family reunification. Different visas carry differing requirements when in family reunification and it is vital to have full access to the information you require before making any big decisions. Our lawyers answer all questions relating to the appropriate visa to use in your particular situation.

Immigration to Germany after Brexit

Now that Brexit has become official, the free movement of persons between the EU and the UK will no longer apply. This means that a valid passport will be required for travel in the future, and additional border controls will be required. The immigration law of the UK or the EU and the respective member state must be observed.

There is currently a visa exemption for British nationals in Germany for short-term stays of no more than 90 days within 180 days. German citizens do not require a visa for stays in the UK of up to six months as a tourist, as students/pupils and for certain business activities. The changes that have taken place mean that there are additional bureaucratic measures for UK citizens planning on moving to Germany.

In Germany, a national visa must be applied for by persons from third countries, i.e., also by British nationals, for stays of more than 90 days. The specific type of visa required depends on the purpose of the stay, e.g. for taking up employment, vocational training, self-employment, study or family reunification.

The German Residence Act (AufenthG) determines which specific requirements must be met. Conversely, British immigration law applies to stays by German citizens in the UK. Our lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte advise on all of these matters and are available to assist private and business clients in their immigration law issues.