With the UK currently set to leave the European Union on April 12th – although an extension looks likely – the agency said last week that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has made it impossible to provide any “detailed information on how pensions will be affected both short and long-term.”
UK state pensions rise with the cost of living, and the current pension agreement between EU countries means these rises apply to people drawing British pensions in other EU countries too. In order for this to continue in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would need to introduce a new pension agreement with Sweden.
This is only an issue if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. Under the withdrawal agreement previously made between the EU and the UK, but which the British parliament has repeatedly rejected, pensions would be uprated – meaning Brits in the EU would continue to see their UK state pension increased annually.
The agency stressed that both Sweden and the UK are “prepared” for a no-deal Brexit and reminded Brits living in Sweden that a number of initiatives have been put in place to accommodate Brits, including a decision by the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) to fast-track citizenship applications from UK nationals.
The Swedish government has also guaranteed a one-year exemption from work and residence permit requirements for Brits already resident in Sweden on the date of a no-deal Brexit, as The Local has previously reported. There's no need to apply for this one-year grace period; the exemption from usual permit laws will apply automatically, but if you plan to travel during that year, you should apply for a passport stamp proving your right of residence.
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Although the Pensions Agency’s warning that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit means it cannot currently provide any concrete information on how the pensions of UK nationals in Sweden might be affected, there was a message of reassurance for Swedish citizens residing in the UK.
“You have the right to receive pensions and benefits that are based on your income regardless of which country you live in,” the agency wrote on its website.
It added that Swedish citizens in the UK will continue to receive their income-based pension payments “as usual even after Britain leaves the EU.”
The agency added, however, that those who have a guaranteed pension (garantipension), a benefit paid to individuals who had little or pension-qualifying income during their working lives, “may be affected” by a no-deal Brexit. The agency said that a number of proposals are being considered that would ensure that pensioners in the UK will continue to receive their guaranteed pension.
For much more about how Sweden is preparing for Brexit, see The Local’s essential no-deal Brexit checklist for the estimated 20,000 Brits living in Sweden.