Retired British Windrush generation expat in Spain fears deportation to Guyana

Published:  19 Feb at 6 PM
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A retired British expat who’s also a Windrush immigrant fears he’ll be deported from Spain post-Brexit and sent back to Guyana.

Basil Moonillall is just a few months short of his 90th birthday and has been living in Spain’s La Linea since 1993 when he emigrated along with his Spanish wife. He came to the UK from his home country of Guyana in response to the UK’s call for immigrant workers in 1958 and worked as a black cab driver for 35 years. Since his wife passed away two months ago, he’s increasingly afraid he may be kicked out of Spain and forced to return to Guyana.

The elderly retiree has relied heavily on the free healthcare provided by the European Health Card ever since he had a cancerous tumour removed from his throat 19 years ago, telling local media he can’t possibly afford private healthcare insurance on his £511 monthly UK state pension. The so-called Windrush generation were born British subjects and came to the UK prior to 1993, but have lately been targeted as unwanted and had their citizenship revoked as well as being refused access to the NHS. Some have even been forced to go back to their countries of birth.

Basil’s son, now resident on Gibraltar, reminded reporters the Windrush generation were asked to emigrate to the UK in order to help with massive rebuilding after the end of WWII, adding he’s very concerned that his father may be forced back to Guyana, a place he last visited in 1958 and in which he has only one of his eight siblings left. Even if Brexit goes ahead according to the draft withdrawal deal thus avoiding a no-deal outcome, free healthcare in Spain will only last until the end of 2020. In any case, Basil is far too old to ever be accepted for private health insurance, even if he could easily afford it.

One lawyer from a local expat services and legal consultancy is expecting many similar cases over the next several years, saying that the majority of private healthcare insurers won’t touch applicants over the age of 65. Even those who have cover, he said, are either dumped when they reach 70 or required to pay as much as €1,000 a month. The only alternative for those over 65 is to pay into the Spanish Social Security scheme at a minimum monthly fee of €283, also unaffordable to many UK expat retirees living on the state pension. For example, paying into the scheme would leave Basil with just €228 a month for his day-to-day living expenses, possibly including accommodation.
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