miércoles, 28 de abril de 2021

SURVEY ABOUT THE FUTURE NEED FOR BRITISH IN EUROPE


The EU wide coalition, British in Europe, (of which EuroCitizens is an affiliate) has launched a survey to form a picture of UK citizens across the EU, EEA and Switzerland.  This will greatly help in defining future activity to protect and represent the interests of British citizens abroad.

Please do complete the survey (should take no more than 20 minutes) via the following on-line link.  The survey will be undertaken and registered completely on-line. Full details are provided within the survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BiE2021

jueves, 11 de marzo de 2021

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH EUROCITIZENS: INFORMATION PROVISION VS. PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

 


EuroCitizens is a group campaiging for the rights of UK nationals in Spain and we are still working on the vital issue of the combination of statuses. However, we do not have the resources of a citizens' advice organisation so we cannot supply information about residence application procedures, driving licences etc. What we can do is pass on the problems experienced by Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement to the UK Embassy and to the Spanish Government.
 
1) Information provision:
 
If you need information about applying for the TIE and other issues related to residence, travel, healthcare etc. please look through the following websites:
 



2) Problems related to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA):

If you have experienced problems while applying for the new TIE or if you are affected, as a beneficiary of the WA, by issues related to travel or living in Spain, please write to us at
eurocitizens2016@gmail.com
. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

viernes, 29 de enero de 2021

HOW TO DEMONSTRATE THAT YOUR GREEN EU CERTIFICATE IS STILL A VALID RESIDENCE DOCUMENT

 

At the beginning of January there were cases of UK residents in Spain not being allowed to travel with their green EU residence certificates. Hopefully this situation has been sorted out thanks to clarification from the Spanish government to airlines and border guard. 

However, since then we have heard about examples of UK residents in Spain who have had their EU certificates rejected as valid documents in different scenarios such as notaries, banks and estate agents. 

Because of this, we suggest that you print out a copy of the document above and wave it vigorously in front of any jobsworth whom you might encounter. If you still have problems, please write to us at:

eurocitizens2016@gmail.com

Under the declaratory system, which Spain chose to use to register its UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the green EU certificate remains valid indefinitely. Of course, having lived in Spain for some time, we all know that a biometric ID card is a more useful document than a passport and a scruffy piece of green paper. But the choice of applying  for a TIE or not is a personal one.

If this situation changes at any moment, we will alert you.  

 

jueves, 28 de enero de 2021

29/01/21: EUROCITIZENS GROUP MEETING ON ISSUES RELATED TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT IN SPAIN

 

Zoom link to the meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84827744521?pwd=SitkbVhQNVF1QWFCdkNqZXVoc0JkQT09

Meeting ID: 848 2774 4521
Passcode: 583453

The agenda is as follows

1. General update including UK Embassy in Spain
2. Representations to Spanish authorities
3. British in Europe update
4. Financial position
5. EuroCitizens in 2021
6. AOB

With respect to item 5, the Committee make a recommendation on activity set out below and we will welcome your endorsement.

Euro Citizens 2021 - Recommendation to members

  1. With the end of the transition period, focus has turned to implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).  EuroCitizens was established as a lobbying organization but there is now no impending legislation on which  we can usefully intervene. This raises the question of what role (if any) might be taken by EuroCitizens.
  2. The Committee believes that  EuroCitizens can make an ongoing contribution to the cause of citizens’ rights in a number of ways
    1. Monitoring the on-going introduction of WA provisions post the end of the transition period with intervention/lobbying when serious issues are identified. Two obvious areas are health and social security - the latter particularly as it is impacted by the broadbrush provisions of the Immigration Act. Referrals of issues encountered by members and others remain essential to this monitoring.
    2. Providing comment and information on issues post transition where such issues fall within our protection of citizens’ rights remit.
    3. Offer information on the practical consequences of Brexit, in the citizens’ area, as these emerge post transition. This includes both the consequences of the WA for those protected by it and the generality of UK citizens moving to Spain but not covered by the WA. 
    4. On-going collaboration with British in Europe (BiE) as a key voice of the UK community in Spain. BiE will continue to be our voice in discussions in London and Brussels, now raising issues on WA implementation. Possible alliance with other organisations that emerge dedicated to political campaigning for example on wider citizens issues, eg votes for life, or nascent efforts to rejoin the EU (or the single market).

 
The committee recommends adoption of these points a-d.  The committee feels that EuroCitizens should not have a role in advising individuals on a case by case basis - assistance should be restricted to pointing individuals in the direction of appropriate advice eg the British Embassy.
 
The committee also recommends that, subject to adoption of the above, a review is conducted each quarter (commencing end March 2021).


jueves, 14 de enero de 2021

AS A UK CITIZEN PROTECTED BY THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT, WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SERVICES IN ANOTHER EU COUNTRY?

Photo: creativeword.uk.com
 

One of the worst aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement is that there is no clause about whether or how Britons resident in the UE can provide services around the EU (physically in situ, or online). British in Europe campaigned hard on this point and, thankfully, an explicit exclusion of UKinEU service provision was removed from an earlier draft of the WA. However, the resulting situation is both ambiguous and complex. BiE has participated in a special working group to find out what we will and will not be able to do now that we are in the 'sunny Brexit uplands' (see statement below). We thank the team for all their work on this issue which is of cardinal importance to many of our members. 

Statement Cross-Border Services Working Group 14/01/21: 

The Cross-Border Services working group believes that in most cases, the remote rendering of services by British nationals resident in an EU member state to people and entities in other member states will still be possible now that the Brexit transition period has come to an end.

However, in some cases there will be restrictions due to issues such as professional qualification requirements.

The physical rendering of services by Brits in an EU member state will be possible in certain circumstances in accordance with the free trade agreement between the EU and UK along with existing provisions for third-country nationals such as fixed-term secondment through a company established in an EU member state.

Whether and how this is permitted will depend greatly on factors such as your sector, experience, form of establishment, and target country, so it is important to check out the conditions for your specific situation and to establish whether a visa will be required.

Note that in numerous service sectors such as media and arts & culture, service providers are effectively left with a "no deal" scenario which means that they are subject to baseline conditions for third-country nationals and the requirements of the national legislation of EU member states.

If in any doubt, service providers should take individual legal advice to ensure that their activity is permitted.

The European Commission’s EU-UK trade agreement explainer contains a section on services, including certain sector-specific information.

EuroCitizens expresa su preocupación por las violaciones de los derechos de los británicos residentes en España en los primeros días del año

Cae una red que introducía en Europa familias sirias a través de Barajas |  Madrid | EL PAÍS 
 
07/01/2021: Durante la primera semana de Brexit como la nueva normalidad, la aplicación del Acuerdo de Retirada del Reino Unido de la UE, el tratado que protege los derechos de los residentes británicos en la UE  y de los europeos en el RU, ha sido caótica en España como en otros estados miembros. Varios países han denegado la entrada a residentes británicos aunque llevaban la documentación adecuada (pasaporte, residencia en vigor y PCR negativa). El sábado 2 de enero, al llegar a Barcelona unos diez ciudadanos del RU, tuvieron que volver a Londres por no tener la nueva Tarjeta de Identidad para Extranjeros, a pesar de llevar su pasaporte y el certificado de residencia comunitaria. Este incidente afectó en cadena a otros vuelos y varias familias, que intentaban volver a casa, se quedaban en tierra por las directrices de las aerolíneas.

Agradecemos que el pasado domingo día 3, a la vista de los acontecimientos, la embajada española en Londres emitiera un comunicado para confirmar otra vez la validez de la “tarjeta verde comunitaria”. Este comunicado es coherente con las reiteradas afirmaciones que EuroCitizens ha recibido por parte del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación  de que no hay requerimiento administrativo de sustitución del antiguo certificado verde (con el NIE) por la nueva TIE para británicos: la nueva tarjeta biométrica es más cómoda, pero ningún residente británico en España está obligado a tenerla si ya cuenta con el NIE y el certificado de residencia comunitaria. Durante nuestros contactos con la Administración española, desde EuroCitizens hemos reiterado nuestra preocupación por la validez de ambos documentos, tanto en España como para la entrada y salida de la zona Schengen, y seguimos preocupados. Como señala Nigel Aston, el Presidente de EuroCitizens “Los acontecimientos de los últimos días han generado sufrimiento personal y  dificultades económicas para británicos residentes en España. Somos conscientes de que el Covid-19 complica la situación, no obstante el virus es poco más que una excusa por la evidente falta de atención a los detalles de la implantación.”

 
Sigue habiendo problemas en varios estados de la UE y muchos británicos residentes en la UE 27 han tenido sus pasaportes franqueados, en contra de lo estipulado en el Acuerdo de Retirada, algo que puede generar problemas posteriores para británicos en las fronteras. Aunque la Administración española ha reiterado que los certificados comunitarios siguen siendo válidos, ha anunciado que los resguardos de los británicos que solicitaron la residencia el año pasado solo tienen validez durante esta semana. Este plazo carece de sentido práctico, teniendo en cuenta el aplazamiento administrativo y demoras en las oficinas de extranjería debido al Covid-19, e implica que los británicos afectados pueden tener dificultades para regresar a España.


Es evidente que la crisis de Covid-19, la tercera ola y la nueva cepa 'británica' del COVID están complicando la situación actual. Sin embargo esto no justifica denegar los derechos establecidos en un tratado internacional y esperamos que no sea un mal augurio para el futuro. En palabras del presidente de EuroCitizens, Nigel Aston:   "Desde el referéndum de 2016 sobre el Brexit, los británicos residentes se han sentido como moneda de cambio en un juego político. La aparente incapacidad de las Administraciones europeas y en el Reino Unido de proteger plenamente nuestros derechos, tal como fueron establecidos en el Acuerdo de Retirada, hace patente la vulnerabilidad de los ciudadanos: el Acuerdo nos protege en la medida en que sea implementada; sino es así, es papel mojado.”

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2020

26/10/20: AN IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM EUROCITIZENS ON CITIZENS' RIGHTS ISSUES

Since our recent Zoom meeting on Friday 16 October, EuroCitizens has received a reply from one of the two Brexit leads in the Spanish government whom we deal with. Last week, after consulting with the Interior Ministry, she replied to our detailed queries. These were the result of a survey on registration that EuroCitizens carried out amongst our members in September. Our thanks again to everyone who participated in that.

 

A. Information from the Spanish government on registration of UK citizens under the Withdrawal Agreement: 

 

1. UK citizens who have received an erroneous Tarjeta de Identidad para Extranjeros Brexit (Spanish third-country-national ID card for UK citizens): 

- these TIE cards are valid despite the erroneous reference to 'family member of an EU citizen' (familiar de un miembro de la UE).

- if you have received one of these TIE cards, you can ask for a duplicate (and correct) copy at no extra cost at any national police station in Spain which has a documentation unit (unidad de documentación). A duplicate will be issued and no appointment is needed.

2- Problems in getting an appointment for a TIE Brexit:

- due to the Covid pandemic, the demand for appointments has gone up, thus extending waiting times. The government has announced an increase in staff at a series of national police stations around Spain (see below the list below).

- you can apply for a TIE Brexit at any national police station which has a documentation unit and which is in your province of residence. In Madrid, appointments are available at Padre Piquer and the team dealing with UK citizens there has been reinforced.

- currently 6,000 TIEs are being issued daily, of which 500 are for UK citizens.

3- Variations in procedures for receiving a TIE Brexit (documentation required, handing in of EU green cards, appointments to collect the TIE Brexit):

- you can find the documentary requirements for applying for a TIE Brexit on the appointment website (see the website for UK citizens in Alicante: https://www.consultorga.com/section.asp?sec=207)

 - Civil servants can require extra documentation in certain cases, such as where the applicant has changed domicile recently.

-There are two phases to the process: issuing and collecting the document (as TIEs have to be printed by the official organism (La Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre).

-The Spanish government had been unaware of cases where UK citizens have been asked to hand in their green EU card before receiving their TIE Brexit. The procedure is for this to happen at the same time as they are given their new cards, and for the old EU green card then to be destroyed.

4- Other issues related to UK citizens in Spain:

 

Some of queries which we have raised with the Spanish authorities are still pending, such as how UK citizens can combine more than one status (eg TIE Brexit + EU family member), the exchange of temporary TIEs Brexit for permanent cards after five years residence, possible administrative problems as a result of the handing in of EU green cards and the coordination of TIE and Spanish nationality applications.  

 

B. News from the UK Embassy:

EuroCitizens and other BiE groups such as ECREU and BHOV have also been in close contact with the UK Embassy. 

For newly arrived Britons who are registering for the first time, it seems that the best policy is to keep trying to get an appointment and, at the same time, to gather evidence of residence before the end of the year (e.g. rental contracts, healthcare insurance, utility bills).

The Embassy has updated its page on driving licences: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#driving-in-spain-

The Spanish authorities have agreed that applications received before the end of the year can be processed after the deadline. 

 

C. List of national police stations in Spain with extra staff to deal with Brexit TIE registration: