As the United Kingdom moves inexorably toward a no-deal Brexit, an increasing number of countries across the European Union are assuring British expats life will go on as normal. Well, at least for a few months.
This comes after the European Commission asked – but decided not to order – member states to grant temporary residence permits to British nationals so they’ll have time to apply for long-term residency status. Germany and Italy already notified their British expats at the end of 2018.
Questions remain as to which former EU residence rights each country will extend to British citizens, who instantly become third-country nationals with a no-Deal Brexit. If you’re an American in the Netherlands, for example, you have specific rights under the Dutch American Friendship Treat.
But a no-deal Brexit would push British citizens into a neither-nor purgatory where they would neither have EU citizenship status nor a separate post-Brexit immigration status.
What a lot of people – especially British politicians – don’t seem to understand is that no-deal means no transition time to implement new treaties.
In EU countries, reciprocity is becoming key to all expats’ fates, with Spanish authorities saying British expats will have the same rights in Spain post-Brexit as long as the UK extends residency rights to Spaniards in the UK.
So while British expats will be able to remain where they are living in Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, they will lose the right to move – or even travel – within the Schengen Area until the UK can draw up separate reciprocal long-stay residence agreements.
Brits have till 31 December 2020 to apply for a foreigner identity card.
Did you hear a huge sigh of relief on 1 March? That was the sound of 300,000-plus expats getting word Spanish officials have finally come out with a definitive no-Brexit policy: Everyone gets to stay in the EU country that’s home to the most British citizens.
Spain’s cabinet approved legislation for an estimated 400,000 Brits living in Spain remain in place if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. And under a reciprocity agreement, 150,000 Spanish citizens would remain in the UK. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in December that Brexit won’t change the status of British citizens in Spain … as long as the UK extends reciprocity to his citizens.
Under the plan, Britons living in Spain will have to apply for a foreigner identity card before 31 December 2020 to prove their legal residency status. The process would be “nearly automatic” for those UK nationals who already have permanent residency, according to media reports.
Now, here’s the tricky part: If there’s a no-deal Brexit, a Spanish contingency regulation provides a 21-month period starting from the withdrawal date (whenever that is) for the British nationals and family members to switch to third-country residence permits from EU rules.
There are a few uncertainties because the actual number of Brits in Spain is closer to 1 million, many of whom have homes there where they live only part of the year. That said, Brits in Spain hold a strong hand, injecting about 1.32 billion euros each year just into the economy of Alicante, where more than 25 percent of them live, according to Forbes.
Original source: Dispatches source