Italian government hits out at British expatriates

Published:  5 Apr at 6 PM
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A new Italian government ruling concerning British expats’ rights post-Brexit is sending shivers of fear throughout the UK expat community.

Strict restrictions on travel outside the country, fingerprinting and a charge of €200 are part of the ruling, with questions already being asked by campaign groups across the country. Although the ruling is set to come into effect only if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, the underlying threat to expats’ lives is unmistakable especially as the rights of Italian citizens living and working in the UK would seem to have been fully protected.

British expats who’ve been living in the country for five years and are applying for a residency permit will be forced to show proof of their not having left the country for ten months in total during the five year period, a ruling which is far stricter than that applied to EU citizens. No guidance has been given as to what kind of proof is acceptable, with campaigners now urging Italian lawmakers to scrap the requirement. In addition, applicants for permanent residency will be fingerprinted and charged between 80 and 200 euros for their new status.

As the news about the new requirements spread across the British expat community, angry Brits used social media to hit out at the Italian government for its mandatory shifting of the goalposts at this late stage in the Brexit negotiations. Most believe the new travel rules are unworkable, citing the cumulative ten-month total as of special concern as a good number of expats will have left and re-entered the country lawfully over the period. Reasons include work, study, holidays and looking after family members in the UK, with many not keeping records of their absences.

Campaign group British in Italy have already provided the government with a comprehensive list of expat concerns, requesting prompt clarification and specific details as well as issues such as continued access to healthcare and social security. Considering the British government’s sympathetic decision covering the rights of Italian expatriates in the UK, the Italian government’s stance on their British equivalents would seem to leave a great deal to be desired, deal or no-deal.
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