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Brits in Sweden should be able to 'live as before' in event of no-deal Brexit: EU minister

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Brits in Sweden should be able to 'live as before' in event of no-deal Brexit: EU minister
There are currently around 20,000 Brits living in Sweden without Swedish citizenship. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT
12:28 CET+01:00
The Swedish government is working on a plan to ensure British citizens in Sweden can "live as before" if Britain leaves the EU without an agreed deal, EU Affairs Minister Ann Linde said on Friday.

"Lots of talk about no-deal Brexit at the moment, not the most probable [scenario], but the [Swedish] government is also preparing for this scenario," Linde wrote in a Tweet.

"For the approximately 20,000 Brits who live in Sweden, preparations have begun so that they will be able to live as before immediately after the exit," she continued.

There are currently around 20,000 British citizens living in Sweden without citizenship in their new country, many of whom are currently ineligible for citizenship or still waiting for a decision on their application. 

READ ALSO: Reader voices: How Brits in Sweden are (and aren't) preparing for Brexit

Speaking to The Local last month, Linde said there would be "big changes" for this group if the UK left the EU without a deal, and advised Brits to "go to the authorities and find out 'can I continue working [if my status changes to that of a third country national]? What kind of permit do I need?'"

Linde also advised Brits to visit the Swedish government's own Brexit homepage, although this is not currently available on the English-language version of the website.

On the page aimed at citizens directly affected by Brexit, the government advised: "For British citizens who are in Sweden with right of residence under EU law, the Swedish government's preparations are aimed at enabling them to remain in Sweden on similar terms."

"Therefore these citizens would be given the opportunity to continue living and working in Sweden with access to social security, healthcare and education, immediately after the UK's exit. Such an approach is in line with the measures recommended by the European Commission in its Communication on Emergency Preparedness of 19 December 2018."

In that plan, the EU asked member states to take a "generous approach" to securing the rights of UK citizens living in their countries, provided such an approach is reciprocated by the UK.

This will only be necessary in a no-deal scenario. Under the existing prepared withdrawal agreement, Brits in the EU would continue to be able to live in the country they had moved to with access to the majority of their current rights such as healthcare, but would lose onward freedom of movement.

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