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Social security and Brexit

A recently published House of Commons research paper outlines the likely impact of the UK leaving the European Union in a number of areas, including social security:

"Entitlement to welfare benefits for people moving between EU Member States is closely linked to free movement rights.  Brexit could have significant implications both for EU/EEA nationals living in or wishing to move to the UK, and for UK expatriates elsewhere in the EU/EEA, and those considering moving abroad.

If Brexit means the end of free movement rights, the UK will be able to impose restrictions on access to many social security benefits via immigration law. Entitlement to contributory social security benefits could be limited by limiting access to employment.  It will also be possible to restrict the ability of EU nationals to apply for social housing.

The UK could seek to secure bilateral social security agreements on reciprocal rights with individual EU/EEA states, but negotiations could be difficult and protracted.  Alternatively, the UK could seek a single agreement with the EU/EEA as a whole.  Such an arrangement could, however, end up closely resembling existing provisions in EU law.  Whatever the solution, decisions would have to be made on how to protect social security rights already accrued at the point of withdrawal from the EU."

Advisers in Northern Ireland should read the Law Centre's briefing on the social security impact of BREXIT.

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