UK and Spanish diplomats agree on need for fast deal for expats rights

Published:  31 Mar at 6 PM
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As the numbers of Brits in Spain applying for Spanish nationality soars, Spaniards in the UK are given an Embassy helpdesk to address their queries about the effects of Brexit on their status within the UK.

The release of current figures by the Cervantes Institute has revealed an increase of 431 per cent in the numbers of Brits in Spain applying for Spanish nationality. Some 308,000 British citizens already have permanent residency in Spain, with a minimum of 110,000 owning second homes in the country without having registered with the authorities. During the past four years, the numbers of Spanish workers arriving in the UK in order to escape the country’s economic crisis has also soared.

At present, some 3.3 million EU citizens live in the UK. Wednesday's triggering of Article 50 has resulted in calls for all expats, wherever they are living, to be treated with consideration and concern for a plight which was, in the main, not of their making. The Spanish Embassy’s opening of a dedicated Brexit helpdesk is one step towards making sure their nationals are fully aware of the ongoing situation and its effects on their rights.

Issues covered by advice will include rules regarding residence permits, changes to university fees, taxation once the UK leaves the EU and access to heathcare under the National Heath Service. The Spanish government’s priority is to ensure the fast-tracking of a deal protecting the rights of Britons living in Spain and Spanish nationals at present in the UK.

In a meeting with a UK parliamentary commission, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said his government wants a deal protecting the rights of both Britons in Spain and Spaniards in the UK. A statement by British Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley reassured British expats there would be no changes to their rights during the two-year period of negotiations, adding a successful deal allowing the right to remain is a top priority. Dastis is clearly in agreement with the British Ambassador, stating his government wants to maintain UK expats’ rights in as generous and broad a manner as is possible,.

Source: The Local, Spain
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