The date originally planned for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union was March 29, 2019. However, the European Council and the United Kingdom have agreed to extend this date due to the difficulties encountered by the British Parliament to approve the Brexit agreement.

The Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 was enacted on March 1, 2019 because of the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without an agreement (i.e. no-deal Brexit) concluded in accordance with the provisions of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, and to adapt the Spanish legislation in that case.

In the event of a hard Brexit, this Royal Decree-Law can ensure the official registry and the legal residence of 300,000 UK citizens and their families residing in Spain.

Chapter II of Royal Decree-law 5/2019 is particularly noteworthy, for the impact it has on people from a migratory, labour and Social Security point of view, as is chapter IV regarding economic activities.

With regard to the entry into force of the aforementioned Royal Decree-Law, the start date will be the date when the Treaties of the European Union cease to apply to the United Kingdom in accordance with the provisions of Article 50.3 of the Treaty on the European Union.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Royal Decree-Law will not enter into force if, prior to said date, a withdrawal agreement (i.e. a hard or soft Brexit) between the European Union and the United Kingdom has come into force, in accordance with Article 50.2 of the Treaty of the European Union.

That is, what is established in the Royal Decree-Law will only be applicable if a withdrawal occurs without the agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union and from the date on which such withdrawal without agreement (no-deal Brexit) occurred.

Likewise, after a period of two months from the entry into force of the Royal Decree-law, the measures regulated therein shall be suspended, when expressly provided for, if the competent British authorities do not grant reciprocal treatment to legal entities or natural persons of Spanish nationality in each of the areas affected.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.