Slovenia is one of the three EU countries that is forbidden by their own constitutions to extradite their own citizens to non-EU countries, which the UK became last Friday, at 23:00 UK time, midnight on the Continent.
Although the European Arrest Warrant continues to apply during the Brexit Implementation Period that lasts until 31 December 2020, the three countries have notified the European Commission that complying with the treaty would be unconstitutional for them. This however only applies to each country's own citizens. UK citizens, or other EU nationals, could still be extradited under the European Arrest Warrant during the transition period.
This means that if a Slovenian national committed a crime in the UK before fleeing back to Slovenia, they would escape criminal prosecution in the UK. Slovenian law, however, allows for Slovenian citizens who have committed a crime abroad to be prosecuted in Slovenia.
STA, 29 January 2020 - There are some 800 UK citizens living in Slovenia and their main concern about Brexit is whether they will be able to continue their lives as before, UK Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey told the STA, stressing that their rights were protected under the December EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.
The agreement protects the rights and status of British citizens in Slovenia but also Slovenians in the UK, the ambassador told the STA in an interview.
The ambassador explained that the embassy has been in regular contact with the British community in Slovenia, updating them on the latest developments, and explaining them what the Withdrawal Agreement means for them. It has also been working very closely with the Slovenian government.
"The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of all those who are legally resident in Slovenia by the end of December to continue to live and work in Slovenia as they do now. So it protects their residency status, but also their rights to access healthcare and social security, to access their pensions as previously."
To be eligible, UK nationals have to be legally resident in Slovenia, whether as temporary or permanent residents, by the end of 2020.
As for travelling, holiday, and business visits, the ambassador said everything would remain the same after the implementation period, in 2021. "It is already agreed that there will be visa free travel for short visits."
Arrangements for British people coming to live permanently in Slovenia after 2020 and vice-versa, are yet to be decided. But the ambassador believes "the UK will always want to welcome talented individuals, so there will still be significant flow of people. For instance this week the UK launched a new visa scheme specifically for people in science and research."
During the transition period, the UK and EU will negotiate the new relationship, including new arrangements that will apply in areas like trade.
"The transition period means that there would be limited impact for businesses and people who are travelling during 2020. That means that current EU rules apply. That gives us the opportunity to agree the new partnership between the UK and the EU that will start on 1 January next year.
"There we are looking for a really positive and constructive partnership given our shared interest, our shared history, and values. So we are looking for a broad free trade agreement covering goods and services, but our prime minister has also spoken of the need to work as partners in other areas, for instance to tackle climate change, and to build cooperation in education and science," Honey said.
David Limon, a retired professor from the Faculty of Arts, applied for Slovenian citizenship in March 2019 but it looks like his application may be rejected due to what he thinks is a technicality, relating to his income as a self-employed translator since leaving the faculty.
He has been living in Slovenia since 1998 but his connections with Slovenia go back to 1983 when he married a Slovenian. Both his wife and their daughter, who was born in the UK but educated in Slovenia, have dual citizenship.
"It is clear that the Interior Ministry applies very strict (even unfair) criteria for citizenship applications. I am very disappointed about this after contributing for over 20 years to Slovenian society (as an academic and a translator), learning the language and even climbing Triglav."
He expects travel within the EU to get more complicated for British passport holders after Brexit. "It is also possible that if the British government makes life more difficult for EU citizens, reducing their legal rights, then EU countries will understandably reciprocate," he told the STA.
Chris Wherry, English programme moderator at Radio Slovenia International, is a permanent resident and this will not change regardless of the relationship between the UK and the EU.
He came to Slovenia in 2002 and is married to a Slovenian. Both of their two children, 15 and 11, are registered British citizens so they will be able to choose where they wish to live after their education.
Asked about any concerns regarding Brexit, he said there were many. "I believe the UK has much to lose by operating alone. I further treasure the EU free movement of people as a way of allowing individuals to access the best education and personal opportunities.
"Cooperation between countries is vital to resolve many international issues and trading as a more powerful block makes real sense. Both the EU and the UK will be weaker unless they come to significant agreements over the next 11 months regarding these issues."
Paul Steed, editor and writer for Total Slovenia News, has been in Slovenia for five and a half years, moving here from Taiwan. He has permanent resident status, is married to a Slovenian, has a child and owns property here, so he plans to stay after Brexit. He would like to get dual nationality, to "further confirm my status in Slovenia, but this is complicated because of Brexit".
"My concerns regarding Brexit are wide and varied. But on a personal level I'm worried about dual nationality, and pensions and healthcare in the future," he told the STA.
With regard to Slovenia, he noted that the direct trade links with the UK were very small, and would get smaller in the future. "The increased barriers to trade, if only in terms of rules of origin paperwork in a tariff- and quota-free deal, will make things more difficult, especially for smaller firms."
On the positive side, Slovenia has strong automotive and pharmaceutical industries, two areas that will be hurt in the UK if London does not opt for close regulatory alignment with the EU, so the country could maybe benefit there, he said.
There are many partnerships between British and Slovene businesses, including in high-tech, the pharmaceutical industry and the automotive sector, and around 4500 Slovenian companies importing goods and services from the UK. According to Ambassador Honey, she is not aware of any British company thinking about leaving Slovenia because of Brexit.
"We have a really strong and growing bilateral partnership with Slovenia", the ambassador told the STA, highlighting growing trade and education ties, and the first Slovenia-UK Friendship Day in 2019. "So I want to see all of those trends continue, as we continue to build a new and positive relationship between the UK and EU as a whole."
STA, 28 January 2020 - Roughly half of some 5,000 Slovenians living in the UK have applied for settled or pre-settled status so far ahead of Brexit, according to the British Home Office. Slovenian Ambassador to the UK Tadej Rupel expects the number of Slovenians in the UK to "drop somewhat, but not drastically".
Most of the Slovenians that have already applied for the post-Brexit status have opted for the settled status.
EU citizens that have been living and working in the UK for less than five years can apply for the pre-settled status, while those who have been in the UK for more than five years can apply to stay in the country under the settled status scheme.
Some Slovenians have acquired British citizenship and are thus not obligated to enter into any of the two schemes, Rupel told the STA. On the other hand, some have left the UK due to Brexit-related reasons.
The deadline for applying is 31 December 2020, however there have been political and public assurances that EU citizens will not be automatically deported if they fail to apply for the status by the deadline, said the ambassador, adding that settled and pre-settled status applications were mostly granted.
The UK is interested in keeping EU citizens who work and contribute to its economy, he added.
Slovenians in the UK are "well-organised and keeping track of the Brexit-related circumstances", Rupel said, adding that they did not seem to be panicking.
There are some doubts and questions remaining in terms of marriage registration, getting citizenship, the validity of IDs and options for crossing the border.
The Slovenian embassy has regular contacts with the British authorities and informs Slovenian citizens living in the UK of their replies. Last year, it also held a couple of events with British legal experts, informing the public about the situation.
Moreover, the embassy's social media is another platform to provide relevant information, however Rupel expressed concern that the elderly and other vulnerable groups would find it more difficult to access the information.
He explained that everyone who would move to the UK until the end of this year would be entitled to the pre-settled status scheme, while next year a new immigration mechanism would probably enter into force.
No immediate drastic changes will follow the latest Brexit deadline, 31 January, said Rupel, with a transition period taking place.
Some 5,000 Slovenians live in the UK, according to the embassy's data, most of them (85-90%) in the south-east of the country or the London area. They work in the City or at universities, study there, some of them are artists, doctors and entrepreneurs. A small part of them came to the UK in the mid-20th century.
Janja Hadalin, a 35-year-old Slovenian working for an NGO helping the disabled on the outskirts of London, has been living in the UK for almost four years. Even though she is content there, Hadalin does not plan to apply under the pre-settled status scheme since she would like to return to Slovenia.
According to her, most Slovenians living in the UK she knows are planning to stay. Signing up to the scheme is not difficult, she added.
Meanwhile Lana Mak, a 26-year-old working as purchasing officer and living in Bedford near London, plans to stay since she has settled in the UK and started a family there. She sees no difference between living in Slovenia or the UK. "When you settle somewhere, you get used to it," she said.
She and her partner have not yet applied for the settled status, but expect to get it since they have been living in the country for more than five years. Mak has not noticed any Brexit-related changes in day-to-day life.
Žan Florjanič Baronič, a 20-year-old studying medicine at UCL in London, has already applied for the status. He does not know any foreigner living in the UK who has not yet taken care of that - there was even a "mild hysteria" regarding that last summer, he added.
Florjanič Baronič estimated that Brexit would affect UK science funding in the long-term, which might bear on his career as well since major UCL research projects have been mainly EU-funded.
Moreover, following Brexit, EU citizens could pay international tuition fees to study in the UK, which might deter them from enrolling in UK universities, said Rupel.
Currently, there are between 500 and 700 Slovenian students studying in the UK.
All our stories on Brexit and Slovenia are here
The first thing to note is that even the vague shape of the relationship between the UK and EU in 2021, when the transition period that begins at 11pm 31 January 2020 ends, remains unknown, even at this late stage of the game.
The degree of closeness will depend on the degree of alignment – the extent to which the UK continues to follow EU practices, especially in terms of state aid, standards and regulations. In just the last week Sajid Javid, the UK’s Economics Minister (or Chancellor of the Exchequer) said that businesses should get ready for no alignment, a statement that was met with shock by those who understood the implications – a bare bones deal with significant disruption for current UK-EU trade links and no immediate or obvious benefits. A sharp shock to the system. He was then forced to backtrack on his comments, reassuring British businesses – particularly those in the pharmaceutical, automotive and aerospace industries – that close alignment would still be maintained. However, without offering more specifics, or even the outline of what the UK’s negotiating aims are, businesses still have no idea what to plan for.
The imbalance of trade. SURS
In truth, no one knows if the UK will be willing to make the compromises needed to maintain a high level of market access, or if it will be possible to sell such a deal to Parliament and the public as “Brexit” – a term that exists in a haze of contradictory aims and positions, its final form a mystery. There’s also the small matter of the EU27 all having to agree on the deal…
So there’s a lot that we don’t know, but for a Slovene perspective there’s a report from May 2019, “Analysis of the Consequences of Different Brexit Scenarios on the Internal Market and Trade Relations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain (“Analiza Posledic Različnih Scenarijev Brexit Na Notranji Trg In Trgovinske Odnose Z Združenim Kraljestvom Velike Britanije”), by Dr. Jože P. Damijan Dr. Črt Kostevc, and Dr. Tjaša Redek. It’s in Slovene, but there’s a summary in English that starts on page vii of the PDF.
First, the context of British-Slovene trade relations:
In 2018, exports to the UK amounted to €577 million and imports to €441 million (SURS). With a 2% share of total exports, the UK is a modestly important trade partner for Slovenia, whereby its importance is continuously decreasing. In the last two decades, Slovenia’s share of exports to the UK decreased from 3% to 2%. A similar trend can be observed on the imports side, where the share of the UK in total imports decreased form 2% to 1.4% in the last two decades. For Slovenian exporters, the markets of other old EU member states (Austria, France, Italy, Germany) and new EU member states (Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland) are more important.
Slovenian exports to the UK are primarily electrical appliances and equipment (19% in total exports to UK), furniture (13%), boilers, machines and mechanical equipment (11%), cars (9%), pharmaceutical products (7%), products made from plastic (7%) and paper and paper products (3%). The main import goods from the UK to Slovenia are: mineral fuels (around 20% of total imports from the UK), electrical appliances and equipment (12%), boilers, machines and mechanical equipment (12%), products made from plastic (5%), pharmaceutical products (4%), steel products (4%) and aluminium products (4%).
Exports of services to the UK amounted to €191 million in 2017 and services imports amounted to €175 million. The main services exports are tourism services, while in imports the main services are business, telecommunications, and IT services.
The UK is a modestly important foreign investor in Slovenia. The stock of foreign direct investment is constant at around €300 million over the last 5 years (2% of total FDI in Slovenia), with the main British investors in Slovenia being PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Unilever, Astrazeneca, Shell and Castrol. Slovenian direct investment in the UK is extremely low – between €15 and €20 million in 2013-2016 and falling to €6 million in 2018. The main Slovenian investors in the UK are Gorenje, Krka, SIJ, Trimo, Bisol, Riko, Savatech and Unior, which mostly mainly invested in trade representative offices in the UK to promote their exports.
The study then goes on to examine the impacts of three scenarios on Slovenia : hard Brexit (no deal at the end of 2020, and the UK trading on WTO terms), deferred hard Brexit (the same, but with a longer transition period that the current 11 months), and soft Brexit, envisaged here as being similar to EFTA membership, with a high level of market access, although still below the current one. As noted at the start of this story, any of these three remain possible – along with various different flavours of soft Brexit, but the present rhetoric from London seems to be pushing for a relatively hard Brexit. That said, London talked strong in 2019 but then signed up to a Withdrawal Agreement that puts a border in the Irish Sea, so as the pressure mounts anything could happen.
The paper presents a thorough analysis of the three scenarios, with the key paragraphs presented below:
According to model simulations, a composite effect of Brexit on Slovenian exports will be in a range between a 0.06% reduction (hard Brexit) and 0.01% increase (soft Brexit). This composite effect consists of a potential reduction of Slovenian exports to the UK in the range between 3.7% (soft Brexit) and 32.3% (hard Brexit) and an increase of exports to other EU countries and the rest of the world. Hence, due to trade diversion effects, a reduction in exports to UK after Brexit would be almost entirely compensated by increased exports to other EU countries and rest of the world.
The sectoral overview shows that due to hard Brexit wood processing and furniture, public services, paper products, forestry, production of metal products and production of crops might be hurt the most, though the estimated effects are quite low. In the case of hard Brexit, gross value added in wood processing and furniture might drop by 1.1% in 10 years and by a quarter of 1% in the case of an orderly Brexit. Effects of a similar magnitude are expected also in the paper processing industry, while in other industries that will be hurt by Brexit the estimated effects do not exceed 0.3% cumulatively in 10 years. There are, however, also industries that might benefit from Brexit, in particular the car industry, chemicals, meat processing and leather industry (a rise between 0.3% and 0.9%), while for other industries these effects will not exceed 0.1% in the 10-year period.
The potential aggregate impact of Brexit on employment is estimated to be relatively low. Our calculations show that about 237 jobs (soft Brexit) and up to 900 jobs (hard Brexit) might be at risk. Most of these jobs that are at risk are in the services industries and for qualified labor. However, these employment effects due to Brexit are lower by the factor of 5 when compared to regular seasonal fluctuations in the labour market.
All of Total Slovenia's stories on Brexit can be found here
I am sure that you will have seen the result of last week’s General Election in the UK, which returned Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with a substantial majority in Parliament. The Prime Minister has made clear that the Government’s first priority is to leave the EU on the 31st January, on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, and then conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement and security partnership by the end of 2020.
After the UK leaves the EU there will be an implementation period lasting until the end of 2020. During this period, arrangements will remain broadly the same while the UK and EU agree a future trade and security relationship. This will include, among other things, future immigration and work provisions for British nationals who come to live and work in Slovenia after 2020. This will not affect your status, which is guaranteed by the Withdrawal Agreement.
You might be wondering what this means for you. In short, if you have temporary or permanent residence in Slovenia, you will continue to be able to live and work in Slovenia as now. Your rights will be guaranteed by the Withdrawal Agreement concluded with the EU. The only action you may need to take is to ensure that you are legally resident in Slovenia before 31 December 2020, if you have not already done so. More information about how to do this is on our Living in Slovenia Guide.
I recognise that while there is clarity on the UK Government’s approach post-election, some of you may still be feeling uncertain about your status and what happens next. I will be hosting an event for UK nationals in the course of January to answer any questions you may have. Please check our Facebook page for further details. Please keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and send any questions to our website or call us on (01) 200 39 10.
For now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the course of next year.
British Ambassador to Slovenia
Časoris is an online newspaper aimed at children. Each week we’ll take an article and post it here as a Slovene-English dual text.
Written by Romana Dobnikar Seruga, translated by JL Flanner & G Translate
Brexit, misija nemogoče?
Brexit, mission impossible?
Z brexitom bomo hitro opravili, je pred volitvami obljubljal Boris Johnson, premier in vodja britanskih torijcev.
Brexit will be done quickly, Boris Johnson promised before the election, the Prime Minister and leader of the British Tories.
Vodja laburistov in opozicije v parlamentu Jeremy Corbyn pa je napovedoval, da bo njegova vlada dosegla nov sporazum o brexitu, ki ga bodo nato državljani potrdili ali zavrnili na referendumu.
Labour and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, has announced that his government will reach a new Brexit agreement, which citizens will then either confirm or reject in a referendum.
V Veliki Britaniji danes volijo nove poslance in novo vlado. Zmagovalca čaka težka naloga, saj je vprašanje brexita oziroma izstopa Velike Britanije iz Evropske unije (EU) med državljane vneslo velik razdor. Eni so prepričani, da bi bilo življenje boljše brez EU, drugi menijo ravno nasprotno.
In Britain today, new MPs and a new government are being elected. The winner will have a difficult task as the issue of Brexit, or the UK's exit from the European Union (EU), has caused great disagreement among citizens. Some believe that life would be better without the EU, others think the opposite.
Negotov je položaj državljanov EU, ki živijo v Veliki Britaniji, in položaj Britancev, ki živijo v drugih državah EU. Nerešeno pa je tudi vprašanje meje z Irsko – ta bo po brexitu edina kopenska meja med Veliko Britanijo in EU.
The situation of EU citizens living in the UK and the situation of Britons living in other EU countries is uncertain. The issue of the border with Ireland is also unresolved - it will be the only land border between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
Uresničitev brexita se je v zadnjih treh letih izkazala za misijo nemogoče. Politiki so razdeljeni: eni se zavzemajo za čim hitrejši izstop iz EU, drugi bi radi nov referendum, tretji pa bi nanj najraje pozabili.
The realisation of Brexit has proven impossible for the past three years. Politicians are divided: one group is in favour of leaving the EU as soon as possible, the other would like a new referendum and the third would rather forget it.
V parlamentu niso hoteli potrditi še nobenega predloga sporazuma »o ločitvi«, zato je bil rok za brexit že trikrat prestavljen.
They did not want to approve any proposal for a "divorce agreement" in Parliament, so the Brexit deadline had already been postponed three times.
Zaradi tega je konservativna premierka Theresa May julija letos odstopila. Nasledil jo je Boris Johnson, ki prav tako ni dobil zadostne podpore v parlamentu.
As a result, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May resigned in July this year. She was succeeded by Boris Johnson, who also did not receive sufficient support in Parliament.
Predlagal je nove volitve, saj je računal na to, da bo v novem parlamentu več konservativnih poslancev.
He called a new election, as he hoped there would be more Conservative MPs in the new Parliament.
Kako bodo odločili volivci, se bo pokazalo danes.
How voters will decide will be revealed today.
Na volitvah v Veliki Britaniji so prepričljivo zmagali konservativci Borisa Johnsona.
In the UK election, the Conservative Boris Johnson won.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has made an election pledge to make it more difficult for EU citizens to enter the UK after Brexit, in the wake of a terrorist attack in London last Friday that has so far claimed two lives. The attack was carried out by a British citizen, born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, and stopped by a group that included a Polish immigrant wielding a narwhal tusk that he obtained from the wall of a nearby fish market, in a scene that has since been viewed around the world.
After the incident the Conservative Party announced five changes to border rules, including a requirement for Europeans to submit to electronic clearance procedures before entering the UK. Under the proposal EU nationals would need to get clearance to visit the UK using a new Electronic Travel Authorisation, an online form intended “to screen arrivals and block threats from entering the UK,” similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme used in America.
However, EU nationals should not feel singled out in having their freedom curtailed in this manner, as Prime Minister Johnson's Brexit plans would also see UK citizens lose freedom of movement to the EU 27 as well as more red tape when they choose to leave the British Isles, thus reducing their opportunities for travel, work, study and more, with the poorest being hit hardest by the changes.
STA, 17 October 2019 - Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec welcomed the deal on an orderly Brexit reached on Thursday by the EU and British negotiators and expressed hope that the deal will get support in the UK, as "time is really running out".
Šarec said he was happy with the deal as he spoke to the press on the sidelines of the two-day European Council meeting, which also discusses relations with Turkey, EU long-term budget and priorities for the next five years.
Asked whether Brexit would happen on 31 October, Šarec said that the EU leaders would first need to get acquainted with the report from the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and to see what the sentiment was.
The Slovenian prime minister hopes that "this agreement, which is certainly a better result than no deal at all," would not be rejected by Britain as it is one of the last, if not the last options.
According to Šarec, everything depends now on the British parliament and the European Parliament, while the EU leaders also need to get acquainted with the deal in the first place.
He personally believes that Barnier has reached a good deal as a good and experienced negotiator.
Šarec was also asked about the media reports on the alleged request by British PM Boris Johnson that the EU leaders exclude the possibility of a new postponement of Brexit and effectively help him push the deal through parliament.
He said that he and his EU counterparts needed to get acquainted with details first and that the opinion of Ireland and the European Commission was important.
Šarec criticised the entire process of looking for a Brexit deal, which he believes does not contribute to the reputation of the EU and the United Kingdom.
"Three years have passed, with more important topics being pushed aside," he lamented, adding that "everybody would like to see a solution. If we are not capable of making this happen, let them stay."
The deal was first announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and later presented at a press conference by Barnier, who said that an orderly Brexit could be implemented by the end of the month.
The key difference compared to the agreement with the former British PM Theresa May is the elimination of the disputable Irish backstop, which would be replaced with a new approach.
Prime Minister Johnson has called on the British MPs to back the deal. The British parliament decided today in a narrow vote to hold an extraordinary session on Saturday to discuss the deal.
STA, 10 October - President Borut Pahor expressed solidarity with Ireland in the face of Brexit as he met President Michael D. Higgins ahead of the Athens Democracy Forum on Thursday. Slovenia supports efforts for an orderly Brexit, which is in the interest of the EU and the UK.
The pair talked about the future of the EU and other topical global issues, but special attention was given to Brexit.
Pahor said that Slovenia would only support a deal acceptable to Ireland, this means only a legal solution that would avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, protect the economy of the island and preserve a single market in Ireland.
Predsednik Republike Slovenije Borut Pahor se je danes sestal s predsednikom Irske Michaelom D. Higginsom, s katerim sta se pogovarjala predvsem o prihodnosti Evropske unije in aktualnih razmerah v svetu. https://t.co/yfO3HaKEMf pic.twitter.com/FA79HSZcga— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) October 10, 2019
Pahor also underlined that Slovenia was fully supportive of the approach adopted by the EU and its head negotiator Michel Barnier.
Higgins noted that Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is meeting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today to discuss Brexit, Pahor's office said in a press release.
The press release also said that the presidents shared the view that the EU is at a cross roads and that serious reflection is needed about its future.
In this respect Higgins said that he advocated the eco-social economic policy, which he believes can strengthen the EU.
Mr. Borut Pahor, the President of the Republic of Slovenia @BorutPahor tells us: The EU is more than just a project, it is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to the nations of Europe. It’s the only solution for peace and stability.#ADF2019 #Democracy #EuropeanUnion pic.twitter.com/HUtxgmihu7— Athens Democracy Forum (@ForumAthens) October 10, 2019
Higgins and Pahor agreed that bilateral relations between their countries were friendly and without open issues. They want to see closer cooperation in the future, with Pahor inviting Higgins to visit Slovenia.
The presidents are guests at the Athens Democracy Forum organised by the New York Times under the auspices of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos. This year, the event focuses on alternative forms of governance.
All our stories on Brexit are here
NOTE: This advice was accurate as of 9 October 2019, but may be subject to changE. For the very latest information you can read the GOV.UK Living in Slovenia Guide (http://bit.ly/2W6cwQb) and sign up for updates (http://bit.ly/LiG-SLO-SignUp); and subscribe to British Embassy in Ljubljana's newsletter: (http://bit.ly/UKNinSLO-News)
The British Embassy recently hosted a Q&A on Brexit on its Facebook page, but this is difficult to search and not much of a permanent record. So with the permission of the Embassy and questions edited to remove personal details, here’s what people asked and what the Embassy replied - scroll down for everything or click on the following headings.
How will becoming a temporary resident be affected by no deal?
You will still be able to apply for temporary residence, set up a business and buy property as a non-EU national. The criteria for doing this is different for EU and non-EU nationals. If you are planning on staying in Slovenia we advise that you register for temporary residency as soon as possible at a local Upravna Enota (Office for Foreigners) and acquire an EU status 5 year temporary residency permit.
With this permit you will be entitled to remain in Slovenia and have the same rights and benefits as an EU national would with a few exceptions such as onward movement (eg relocating to another EU member state). You can then apply to become a permanent resident in Slovenia after 5 continuous years of residency.
If you apply for residency after Brexit then you can still apply for residency on the basis of an EU national within 6 months from Exit day. You would however only receive a 1 year permit. After 1 year you would need to apply as a third country national and there are different criteria for doing this such as being self-employed, pensioner, family reasons or property.
If Britain drops out of the EU on 31 October, what will be the process for permanent residents to ensure they retain their residency status? If a deal is done then what will be the process and will the transition period be 20 months as per the proposed deal or will it be until December 2020 (13 months)?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your residency status will continue until its current expiry. You will need to exchange your current residence permit for a new one, noting that the UK is no longer part of the EU. You must do this within one year of exit day. The UK government would prefer to leave with a deal and it is working in a determined way to get one. Under the current Withdrawal Agreement the Implementation Period will last until 31 December 2020. If a deal is reached, we will further provide information on the process required in that scenario to maintain legal residence in Slovenia.
I currently have temporary residence in Slovenia. Would there be any advantage in switching this to permanent before Brexit?
Ultimately this is a personal choice, but if you have legally lived in Slovenia for a continuous period of 5 years then you may wish to do obtain a permanent residency document. A permanent residence document can be useful when dealing with the authorities or for administrative formalities. To learn how to register as a permanent resident, please visit our Living in Slovenia Guide (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
In its page on residency and Brexit the EU refers to “EU long-term resident status”, and states:
"This permit will grant you a permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits. This will also allow you, under certain conditions, to acquire the right to reside in another EU Member State."
Does this still apply under no deal, and where can we learn more about applying for this status in Slovenia?
The 'EU long-term residence permit' is equivalent to the permanent residence permit issued to EU nationals in Slovenia. In the event of a no deal Brexit, Slovenia's parliament has passed legislation to enable UK nationals who are permanent residents in Slovenia to maintain most rights enjoyed by EU citizens. Slovenia's no deal legislation can be found through the link below: http://pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO8007#
In the event of no deal, will professional qualifications gained in the UK continue to be recognized in Slovenia, and vice versa?
Both the UK and Slovenia will continue to recognize professional qualifications previously accredited before Brexit. The UK and Slovenia will also evaluate applications made before Brexit under pre-exit rules, even if review takes place after Brexit. In the event of a no deal Brexit, we understand that Slovenia will evaluate UK professional qualifications under the rules it currently applies to third country nationals.
How will no deal affect setting up a business in Slovenia?
For setting up a business in Slovenia you may wish to contact the British Slovenian Chamber of Commerce who will be able to provide information about doing this as a non-EU national. For more information on this please visit www.bscc.si or the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce at https://eng.gzs.si/.
Can you tell us what will happen to any goods imported from the UK, in the event of no deal? Will goods, even small orders for UK products be subject to additional taxes and duty?
The EU will apply tariffs to UK goods in case of a no deal exit. Details of these tariffs can be found here https://ec.europa.eu/.../import-and.../import-into-eu/
Under the UK’s proposals for a deal, the UK and Ireland will collect their own customs duties according to their respective customs legislation. The vast majority of consignments will be cleared within seconds by HMRC without any documentation of physical checks needed.
In case the UK leaves without a deal, it will continue in this vain with no border checks at Dover. The EU importer will need to liaise with the UK exporter and the electronic paperwork will need to be completed on the UK side. The UK exporter will need to be registered for an Economic Operators Identity. More details are here https://ec.europa.eu/trade/import-and-export-rules/import-into-eu
Please also see the attached handout for businesses (http://bit.ly/2IkLvUE) which outlines the preparations businesses should be making in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
How should service providers to / from the UK prepare for Brexit?
If you are a UK service provider in Slovenia you can continue to provide services in Slovenia until the end of your contract (regardless of how the UK exits the EU). After this time you will become a third country national Service provider and will need to check with the relevant regulatory body on continuation of providing services.
If you are a Slovene Service provider in the UK you will be able to continue to provide services and renew your contracts as a third country national once the UK has exited the EU but additional paperwork may be required. Further information on this can be found on www.gov.uk
Will I still be able to buy property in Slovenia?
Regarding the purchase of property as a non-EU national, UK nationals will still fall under OECD rules on property rights and will therefore be able to acquire property in Slovenia under these rules after Brexit.
If No Deal, what effect is it likely to have on those of us who own a holiday home in Slovenia?
Property rights will not be affected by Brexit. If there is a no deal Brexit, UK nationals will be able to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. If you want to spend more time in Slovenia, you will need to apply for a visa and/or residence. Slovenia has outlined its residency regulations for a no deal Brexit in its no deal contingency regulation, which can be found below: http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO8007.
What will happen to the EHIC with or without a deal? Is it true that British expats will no longer be entitled to any healthcare in the UK, in the event of a deal or no deal?
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, you will be able to continue using your EHIC as you do now for the duration of the Implementation Period.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK is seeking in parallel an EU-wide approach or bilateral arrangements with Member States to transitionally continue the current social security coordination rules, including reciprocal healthcare, in full until the end of December 2020. Current reciprocal healthcare arrangements also include EHIC rights. This will protect the rights of individuals who live in, move to, visit or work in the UK or EU until 31 December 2020.
If an agreement is not reached, UK-issued EHICs will no longer be valid in Slovenia. If you are resident in Slovenia, you should seek healthcare coverage through the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). To ensure continuity of cover, the UK Government has committed to continue to pay for state-funded healthcare for UKNs currently in Slovenia, for a period of 6 months while you transfer to ZZZS. (http://bit.ly/2o9KmIk).
After the UK leaves the EU, UK insureds will continue to have the right to free NHS care when temporarily visiting England, Scotland and Wales. They will also be eligible for NHS care if they move permanently back to the UK (including Northern Ireland).
What advice would you give to British pensioners on fixed incomes who are unable to afford additional insurance in Slovenia? Will there be funds available to help repatriate them for NHS treatment, if needed?
It is important people think about their own needs and circumstances and look at their options carefully by checking the Living in Slovenia guide, NHS Slovenia country page and speaking to ZZZS.
After the UK leaves the EU, those who have an S1 form will continue to have the right to free NHS care when temporarily visiting England, Scotland and Wales. They will also be eligible for NHS care if they move permanently back to the UK (including Northern Ireland).
In the first 6 months the UK Government has put in place emergency provisions to provide bespoke support to people who find themselves in a challenging healthcare situation (i.e. requiring urgent treatment) due to a change in their healthcare cover after Brexit (http://bit.ly/2o9KmIk).
What will happen to the EEA Family permit in the event of deal or no deal?
Your spouse will be able to visit the UK after 31 October, provided they comply with UK immigration policy. Under the current Withdrawal Agreement nothing will change until the end of the Implementation Period, which will last until 31 December 2020.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it is possible that the EEA Family Permit route to visiting the UK will cease, because the UK national will no longer be an EU national. In this case, your spouse would need to apply for a visit visa (or settlement visa if you plan to stay).
For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families
Will UK citizens who are married to Slovenes be able to move with their families to the UK without conditions, or will there be a minimum earnings threshold?
UK Nationals can return to the UK at any time. Existing close family members of UK Nationals (spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, children, grandchildren and dependent parents and grandparents) who return from living in the EU by 29 March 2022 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Future spouses and partners of UK Nationals who return from living in the EU by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Dependent relatives of UK Nationals who previously lived in the EU with that family member can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme until 31 December 2020.
After these dates UK Immigration Rules will apply as it does for other UK Nationals returning from abroad.
Will elderly parents of UK citizens who live in Slovenia be able to move here to live with their children, or will there be restrictions?
While the UK remains in the EU, elderly parents of UK nationals resident in Slovenia should be able to live in Slovenia, provided they comply with relevant regulations (depending on whether the parent is an EU national or third country national). In the event of a no deal Brexit, provisions for family reunification are outlined in Slovenia's no deal contingency legislation.
Our understanding of the legislation suggests that close family members are entitled to the same rights as a resident, whatever time they join them, and have permission to reside. You may need to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support an individual's parents.
My son plans to go to university next year. He has permanent residency in Slovenia and has lived here since he was five years old. He would like to study in The Netherlands. Currently the course fee's for EU students are €2,200 Euro, but €12,000 Euro for a non-EU student. How will he be classed? I was also told that he if goes to the UK, because he has been out of the UK for more than 10 years, he will be classed as an international student there too.
If your son is planning to attend university in the UK next year (academic year 2020/2021) and is either a UK or EU national he will qualify for home fee status for the duration of his course. If your son has lived outside the UK for more than 10 years this should not affect his status if he holds EU citizenship for the duration of his study.
If your son is planning to work in the UK after his studies he may also consider the 'graduate immigration route’. (Available to undergraduates and upwards - primarily aimed at furthering post-grad/work experience for new graduates.) This allows for overseas/EU students to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for 2 years. After the 2 years ex-students will be able to switch onto the skilled work route if they find a relevant job for their skills.
For further information on student finance please visit https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator to find out what your son can qualify for.
In regards to studying in the Netherlands, the Netherlands government have published information here:
Should you require more information, please contact British Embassy The Hague:
Is it still possible to apply for Slovenian citizenship and keep my UK passport?
The Slovene Ministry of Interior have confirmed to us that UK nationals are able to apply for dual citizenship while the UK remains part of the EU. Applications lodged prior to Brexit will treat the applicant on the same terms as an EU national, even if the review process takes place after exit.
Will Slovenes still be able to get dual nationality in the UK through marriage (and thus vice versa, since it seems to be reciprocal)?
Dual citizenship is permitted in the UK. The Slovene nationals who are married/in civil partnership with a UK national will be able to obtain UK citizenship if they meet the criteria outlined below: https://www.gov.uk/british-citizenship
I am a dual national of Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Will there be any changes for dual nationals after a possible No deal Brexit?
Your dual national status will not be affected in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The last gov.uk publication on UK driving licence said that Slovenia would accept UK driving licence. You will just require an International Driving Permit for visits over 90 days.
You are correct that visitors to Slovenia for 90 days or less will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP). However we advise all Brits living here to read carefully the Slovene government's guidance on driving licences here (http://bit.ly/2u8gNX2).
The Living in Slovenia Guide continues to advise all UK nationals living in Slovenia to exchange their UK driving licence for a Slovene driving licence before the UK leaves the EU (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
My UK driving licence has the EU flag on it – will I need to change it in the UK before swapping it for a Slovene licence?
As long as it remains valid, UK-issued driving licences will continue to be valid, including those with EU images. You should exchange your UK driving license for a Slovene one if you meet the residency criteria. Residents will be required to do so within 12 months of Brexit. More information can be found on our Living in Slovenia guide (www.gov.uk/living-in-slovenia).
We have a holiday home in Slovenia. Am I correct in thinking that we need to get our UK will translated into Slovene and a copy deposited with a notary in Slovenia in order for our wishes to be upheld rather than defaulting to Slovene law regarding wills?
You are correct - you do need to translate your will into Slovene and deposit this with a solicitor.
We get child benefit for our two grandchildren who we are raising under a UK special guardianship order. Will this benefit be effected?
Should the UK depart the EU with the Withdrawal Agreement (Deal) your rights as UK nationals in the EU will continue as before and you will have full access to the rights you currently enjoy (e.g. child benefit) for as long as you remain a resident in Slovenia. If the UK departs the EU without a deal then the Slovene government has put in place legislation to protect the rights of UK residents until the end of 2020 when they expect an EU wide agreement to be reached.
If you are a permanent resident your access to Slovene social security benefit should continue as before and you will automatically continue to qualify for child benefit from the Slovene authorities. If you are a temporary resident you will be entitled to the same benefits until expiry of your permit when you will need to either roll over to permanent residence or apply for a temporary residence as a third-country national.
Our current understanding is that the payment mechanism between the UK and Slovenia will remain in place for payment of UK child benefits in all scenarios and are confirming this with our UK tax advisers. We will get back to you as soon as we have confirmation.
Since Brexit, deal or no deal, will be a complex, multi-year process, is the Embassy planning on employing someone to deal full time with the related issues, as well as those that arise if/when the UK finally becomes a third country?
As you may know HMG has allocated a significant number of additional staff to work on the wide variety of Brexit-related issues - both in London and overseas. That includes a number of full-time staff at the Embassy in Ljubljana, as well as additional staff in London and Europe who directly support our work and UK nationals living here.
If you have specific questions that are not covered by the Living in Slovenia guide you can contact us via our contact form (www.gov.uk/contact-consulate-ljubljana) or by telephone (01) 200 39 10.