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I am a British national who worked for a company for 2 years in the UK before moving to Germany. After marrying and bringing up children, in 2009 I started my present job. I have had an unlimited "Aufenthaltserlaubnis" (German stay permit) since the year 2000.

Now due to Brexit I am unsure about my future here. Can anyone tell me whether after Brexit I can continue to work in Germany as before, with this Aufenthaltserlaubnis? And will I be able to claim my pension for the two years I worked in the UK?
Or will I need to apply for some other kind of permit?

I am also unsure about the status of my 23 year old who is working here, but does not have any kind of permit.

  • Hi sahmed! Incredibly as it may seem, even though Brexit is months away, nobody knows yet what will happen in the future, as in particular the UK is still debating with itself, despite a withdrawal agreement that is unlikely to pass through parliament. Therefore, we cannot yet answer this question. – gerrit Nov 28 '18 at 10:26
  • Hi, thanks, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed...." – sahmed Nov 28 '18 at 10:38
  • Do you only have an Aufenthaltserlaubnis? Because you are eglible for Niederlassungserlaubnis since years if you prove income and know German. A 23-year old child has to pass all the needed bureaucracy by itself. Do you have this child with a German or non-UK EU citizen? – Janka Nov 28 '18 at 13:16
  • @Janka as an EU citizen, it should not (or no longer) be necessary to have any permit as evidence of the right of residence, is it not so? – phoog Nov 28 '18 at 15:53
  • Many Britons in Germany have chosen to apply for German citizenship since the Brexit referendum. (It’s possible to retain the British citizenship in parallel, but this might no longer be the case if naturalization happens after Brexit.) – chirlu Nov 29 '18 at 10:16
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If I understand correctly, your Aufenthaltserlaubnis falls outside of EU free movement law. This should mean that the status it confers does not depend on the outcome of the Brexit process.

In addition to that, you are currently entitled to a right of permanent residence under EU law, and that may change as a result of Brexit. But since this status is additional, it should not be critical to your ability to stay in Germany, but it might be critical for others reading this message.

The draft withdrawal agreement provides (in Article 15) that a right of permanent residence acquired before the end of the transition period shall endure after the end of the transition period. It is, however, a draft, so it could change. Such a change is unlikely. Things would have to become very bad before UK and EU politicians would disrupt the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of people in such a manner.

As I was helpfully reminded by Janka, however, there's another possibility, which is a "no-deal Brexit." In that case, there are several possible outcomes:

  1. EU courts decide that your EU citizenship somehow survives Brexit. This seems implausible, but the theory is being tested in a case in the Netherlands. I was looking for more information about that when the europa.eu became unavailable. If your EU citizenship survives Brexit, your right to reside in Germany would as well.
  2. EU or German courts decide that under some other legal theory your right to reside in Germany survives Brexit. For example, forcing UK citizens to leave Germany might be found to constitute a violation of their human rights.
  3. Germany unilaterally modifies its law to allow UK citizens already in Germany to stay.
  4. You have to leave Germany

It seems to me that the last is the least likely. The next to last seems most likely, especially if neither of the first two possibilities comes to pass.

  • It makes a difference. An Aufenthaltserlaubnis is temporary. The non-temporary type is Niederlassungserlaubnis. – Janka Nov 28 '18 at 15:59
  • @Janka but under free movement law, a 5-year resident has a right of permanent residence, period. The requirement to hold a registration certificate was abolished nearly six years ago. Given the facts described in the question, sahmed has long since acquired a right of permanent residence and is entitled to apply for a Bescheinigung des Daueraufenthaltsrechts. – phoog Nov 28 '18 at 16:06
  • The problem arises as soon the UK leaves the EU – without a deal. As soon that happens, you need a registration. – Janka Nov 28 '18 at 16:39
  • @Janka of course. But can you confirm my understanding that the Aufenthaltserlaubnis is based on German national immigration law, and is outside free movement law, so sahmed would be able to remain on the basis of that document (and to apply for a Niederlassungserlaubnis) without regard to Brexit? That is, that sahmed already possesses a permit that would allow him to remain in Germany without a deal? – phoog Nov 28 '18 at 16:46
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    @sahmed I actually think a separate question about your adult child would be sensible (with a link to this one). Obviously, you'd need to post more details about there situation. (They may already be a German citizen) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Nov 29 '18 at 16:53

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