Working in another EU country

Our experts tell you all you need to know about National Insurance when working in another EU country

Our experts at DSR Tax Claims know how hard it is to find good, quality information about HMRC’s National Insurance rules and regulations that is easy to understand, and that’s why we have created these handy guides to tell you everything you need to know. Our aim is to make life easier for our clients and that is why we want to share our expertise with you. You can also call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

What are your rights when working in another EU country?

Due to the UK voting to leave the UK, no one can currently say what is likely to happen to your right to live and work in another EU country once the UK does leave the European Union, but we can tell you how things stand right now. At present, if you are a UK citizen, you have the right to work in any country of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland without needing a work permit. The EEA includes all the countries in the EU as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

When working in these countries, you will have the same rights as the nationals of that country with regard to your pay and working conditions as well as access to social security (such as benefits).

The UK government’s advice is that there will be no change to these rights while the UK is still a member of the EU – and that includes the rights of EU workers in the UK.

If you work in a non-EU country, then the situation is different and you will most likely need a work permit to work. In order to get a work permit in that country, in most cases you will need a job offer from that country in order to get a visa so you can move there to work. To find out what you need to do, it is advised that you check with the UK-based embassy of the country in which you want to work and they should be able to tell you what you need to know.

What are your healthcare and insurance rights when working in the EU?

Currently, the UK has what are called ‘reciprocal’ healthcare agreements with all the countries in the EEA which means that UK citizens will get free or reduced cost medical treatment in those countries. To access this treatment, you will need an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). As mentioned previously, the EEA includes all the countries in the EU as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

If you are working in a country outside the EEA, your rights will be different and you will usually be expected to pay for any medical treatment you require. The NHS Choices website can give you the county-by-country information on what healthcare you will be entitled to.

What about posted workers?

A ‘posted worker’ is an employee who is sent to work from one EU country to another on a temporary basis. As a posted worker, your employer has an obligation to follow some of the employment rules of the country you have been posted to. These rules relate to:

  • The maximum work periods and minimum rest periods you are entitled to.

  • The minimum paid annual holidays you are entitled to.

  • The minimum rates of pay you are entitled to receive, including overtime pay.

  • Your health and safety at work.

  • Protection for women who are pregnant or have just given birth.

  • Preventing discrimination.

  • Hiring out agency workers.

So, if for example, the country you have been posted to has a higher minimum wage than you receive in the UK, your employer has to give you the higher rate of pay.

Your employer is entitled to give you better employment terms than the country you are posted to if they so wish, they just can’t give you worse employment terms.

What about tax and National Insurance while you are working in another EU country?

Whether you still have to pay UK Income Tax will depend on your residency status in the EU country you will be working in. For example, your tax status will differ depending on whether you are going to be a temporary or permanent resident of that country. You will need to inform HMRC that you are going to be working abroad by sending them form P85. HMRC will then tell you how your tax will be affected by your move.

Depending on how long you are going to be working abroad for, you might be able to continue to make voluntary National Insurance contributions. As the name suggests, you don’t have to make these contributions – they are voluntary – but you may choose to do so to make sure you are still eligible to claim certain benefits, such as your State Pension, if you return to the UK. HMRC will be able to tell you whether you are eligible to make voluntary contributions but the decision on whether to do so is yours to make.

If any of your circumstances change while you are working abroad, for example you change address or your marital status changes, you must contact HMRC to inform them. You will need to tell them your National Insurance number so they can connect the changes to your tax and National Insurance records.

How can DSR Tax Claims help?

We know that moving abroad to work can be a complicated affair, even with our helpful guide to tell you everything you might need to know. It’s all very well reading about it and knowing what HMRC’s stand on it is – but how do you apply that to your own circumstances? It can be a good idea to make sure your tax affairs are in order before you go. You might even be entitled to a tax refund. Our team of experts at DSR Tax Claims are always on hand to help our clients and our excellent standing with HMRC means that we can make sure you don’t fall foul of their regulations, while claiming your maximum tax relief. We can even take care of all that paperwork and deal with HMRC on your behalf too. Call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

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