Spanish government reassures British expats over Brexit effect

Published:  5 Apr at 6 PM
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British expats in Spain are being urged by the government not to panic about their post-Brexit status.

As the original date for the UK’s divorce from the EU has come and gone and yet another longer extension seems likely, the Spanish government has issued a reassuring update confirming a 21-month grace period. During this time, all Britons living in Spain will be considered residents, even if they’ve not yet received their certificates due to a backlog of applications. For those desperate to cover their backs due to fear of a no-deal Brexit, registering their presence at local town halls will be enough to ensure their rights.

The Spanish government is working with two separate Brexit scenarios, with the first to be put in place should a deal be agreed. In this instance, the official withdrawal agreement allows a transition period up until 30th December 2020 along with the possibility of a further extension. All expat rights during this period will continue, with the exception of the right to vote in EU parliament election and the use of the bloc’s citizens’ initiative. After the transition period comes to an end, British expats’ rights to continued residence, study and work will continue.

The second scenario covers the dreaded no-deal exit, after which British expats will be seen as third-country nationals. However, the Spanish government is to allow a 21 month period from the withdrawal date, during which time expat residents will be able to apply for new documentation, in this case the Foreigner Identity Card. It’s no surprise the Spanish government is breaking its back to accommodate Britons unwittingly caught up in this mess, as a hard Brexit is expected to cost its economy some nine billion euros and over 100,000 jobs.
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