Impact of Brexit on the Czech Republic: Changes in roaming and insurance, the end of Erasmus and the need for work visa
At the beginning of the new year, the United Kingdom's alliance with the European Union was definitively terminated, and at the same time, the interim agreement on future relations concluded between London and Brussels on Christmas Day came into force. This agreement also brought several fundamental changes not only for the people of Great Britain, but also for the citizens of the European Union, including the Czechs. Let's take a look at the overview of the most important things that await us after the withdrawal of Britain from the EU.
Short-term trips between Great Britain and EU countries
Visa-free travel will continue to be valid for trips to the UK under half a year. Until the end of September 2021, it will be possible to travel to the UK with an ID card only, after that you will need to present a valid passport. However, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends traveling to the country with a passport since January.
"Border permeability is normally the same as in the EU and other destinations to which Czechs travel. We do not expect this to change in the future. Covid-19 is a much worse problem than Brexit,"
said Jan Papež, Vice-Chairman of the Association of Travel Agencies of the Czech Republic.
It is currently possible to travel to the United Kingdom solely for necessary reasons, and airlines have so far reported restrictions connected to COVID-19 only. In case everything goes back to normal, you will be able to travel to the UK for a short time with almost no limitations. Nevertheless, you may not be gainfully employed in the United Kingdom during a short visa-free stay of up to six months.
Long-term journeys between Great Britain and EU countries
The Brexit agreement also marks the end of unlimited long-term residence. British citizens will no longer be able to work, live, study, or start a business in EU countries. Without a visa, the British will be able to stay in the countries of the European Union for a maximum of 90 days every six months. If, on the other hand, you decide to stay in Britain for more than half a year, you must apply for a visa. Student visas will also be required for studies over six months.
EU Settlement Scheme
Since January, Europeans have become citizens of so-called third countries in the British Isles and are subject to a new points-based immigration system, in which they will receive points for specific skills and qualifications. Czechs with permanent residence in the United Kingdom can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for the so-called settled status and, upon receiving it, adhere to the existing rules. It is necessary to apply by the end of June this year, in the form of registration. So far, approximately 50,000 Czechs have applied for the status at the British authorities, and according to estimates by former Czech Ambassador Libor Sečka, up to 80,000 Czechs live in Britain.
Citizens long settled in the United Kingdom who do not receive the settled or pre-settled status by 1 July 2021 and aren't awaiting a decision by the British authorities to have the status granted at that time will be treated as unlawfully residing third-country nationals.
Work and education
If you want to go to work in the UK, new restrictions await you. Managers and professionals will be able to work in the country for three years, people in less qualified positions for only one year. People with short-term employment contracts will have to apply for a visa, which will allow them to stay in the country for only 90 days in one year.
But just as all EU workers, you still have to go through the points-based immigration system, which determines whether or not you will actually be allowed to work in the UK. Being able to speak English, having a job offer and annual earnings of at least £20,480 (almost 600,000 crowns) are also mandatory conditions.
Additionally, the UK will no longer participate in Erasmus exchange programs for university students and problems may occur for workers with the recognition of their education and qualifications gained in the Czech Republic.
Complications for companies and transport operators from the EU
The new agreement between Britain and the European Union will also affect Czech companies, which will have to adjust their goods for the British market according to local standards.
"There will be inspections of the goods. Brand new and different certifications and approvals will be required for European products. And this, of course, can be reflected in the price of some products and services,"
said Radek Špicar, Vice President at the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic.
Freight carriers will face administrative complications due to the completion of customs protocols on the standards of transported goods, too. Checks will be carried out in particular on food and agricultural products, and a health certificate may also be required for trade in agricultural and animal products. Thousands of parking spaces for trucks are newly reserved at border crossings, as long queues are expected. Drivers will need an international driving permit in both regions at the same time.
Changes in insurance
A short-term stay in the UK requires commercial travel insurance from 1 January, as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is no longer valid.
"The risk of staying in Britain has increased significantly as EHIC reimbursement can no longer be relied upon. At the moment, we do not plan to increase insurance costs for travel to Britain, however, we will monitor the development of damage on the spot,"
announced Martin Blecha, Head of Affinity and Employee Benefits of UNIQA Insurance Group.
According to Martin Blecha, it was not appropriate to rely solely on EHIC even before Brexit, because in the European Union, for example, free health care is not provided in private health facilities (in tourist areas, most health facilities are private). The transport of remains in the event of death, which must always be paid for by the survivors, is not free either.
Changes in roaming charges
As a consequence of leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom no longer belongs to the European Economic Area (EEA) for which roaming charges are regulated. Calling and texting are likely to become more expensive, as will mobile internet usage. Czech tariffs remain the same for the time being, though.