We all hope that sanity prevails, but it’s a good idea to make some personal preparations for a no-deal scenario. Here are some ideas.
1. Make sure that you’re legally resident in your host country.
- Make sure that you are registered under current rules with the relevant proof of residence. This will evidence the date of your arrival in your host country and give you proof that you were legally resident on 29 March 2019. If you already have five years’ residence, apply for an optional permanent residence document. These proofs of residence may be like gold dust in the case of a no deal exit, and if there is a Withdrawal Agreement or its terms are honoured despite no deal, it will help you benefit from the streamlined process envisaged under that agreement to receive a new card if necessary under post-Brexit rules.
- Make sure that you’ve submitted income and other tax returns if you’ve been there long enough to do so (even if all your income comes from the UK).
- Make sure that you’re in your country’s health system and that you have some proof of your rights even if you don’t yet have proof of health cover.
2. If you are in a country without a compulsory registration system, make a dossier as if you’re applying for a proof of residence or permanent residence document.
- Collate all your income, property and other tax returns and notifications since your arrival. You may need them to prove the length of your residence.
- Put together a file of utility bills for at least 10 years if you can. This will prove your continued residence.
- If your name is not on the income and property tax bills for your household or on any utility bills, get it added now. For anyone who has changed their name through marriage or otherwise: make sure that the name on bills, bank statements, pension statements, payslips etc. matches the name on your passport if possible.
- Put together a file of bank statements, wage slips (if employed) or income and other tax declarations (if self-employed), proof of health cover and pension payments and/or pension statements for the last 5 years if you’ve lived in your host country that long. Longer is even better – 10 years is best. You may need these to prove the stability, sufficiency and regularity of your resources.
3. Check your passport and driving licence.
4. Prepare financially. The following is particularly relevant to those who derive their income or have savings in the UK in sterling.
- If you have bank accounts, savings or investments in the UK, consider moving them to your host country now. Sterling may drop suddenly in the case of a no-deal exit; there may also be temporary problems moving money in and out of the EU. If most of your savings and income are in the UK, try and make sure you have access to enough cash in euros to see you through two or three months, especially if your income is transferred monthly.
- If you have a personal pension in the UK (this doesn’t apply to state or public service/occupational pensions) and have not yet retired, think about getting advice about how to deal with this and cashing it in if you’re old enough, or moving it. There may be issues with the rights of UK insurers/financial services providers to operate in the EU without having a formal presence there after Brexit and these could cause problems e.g. with insurers making payments to those living outside the UK. Write to your insurer/private pension company in the UK to ask them what plans they have put in place for post-Brexit scenarios.
5. Put in place contingency plans to secure your income and minimise your expenses.
- This applies particularly if the bulk of your income is in sterling, which may take a serious hit after a no-deal exit. Create a personal financial contingency plan. Look at ways you can cut your spending temporarily, and how you could create additional income, particularly in euros. Get any potentially expensive dental, optical and hearing work done now, in case you have to reduce the cover on your private health insurance (if you have one)!
- If you have a business that relies on attracting people from the UK, think about changing your client base. If there is a no-deal Brexit, people may not want to travel to the EU next year and you’ll need to find new clients in the EU 27 if you’re to survive financially. Make sure you have a website in the language of your host country, if you haven’t already, and that you begin to advertise NOW to attract EU27 customers.
- If you have a business that relies solely or partly on UK customers/clients, put contingency plans in place now to deal with potential issues with VAT, excise, billing, professional insurance cover, etc.
6. Prepare for applying for long-term residence and think about citizenship.
- Check out information about the language level required for third country nationals in your host country to apply for long-term residence status and the paperwork required.
- Citizenship won’t guarantee all the rights you currently hold as an EU citizen (mutual recognition of professional qualifications, for example) but it will guarantee you the right to reside and to work – and as an EU citizen you’d continue to benefit from full free movement rights.
- If your partner is an EU citizen, think about formalising your relationship through marriage.
7. Top up your medication before 29 March 2019.
- If you currently rely on an S1 form for access to the local health service and you need regular medication, think about making sure you have a good supply of it on 29 March 2019 – if the worst happens and the reciprocal health care system stops on that date it might take several weeks to get an alternative system up and running and there may be short term chaos. Making sure that you have the permitted 3 months of long-term medication would mean that you’d avoid having to pay full whack for your meds while the situation was resolved.
8. Get your professional qualifications recognised now.
- The European Commission has said that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, Brexit does not affect decisions made pre-Brexit by EU27 countries recognising UK qualifications under the general EU directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2005/36/EC). For details of which qualifications are covered see https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/services/free-movement-professionals/qualifications-recognition_en. So if you have a UK qualification covered by that Directive and you need to be able to use it, apply to get it recognised before 30 March 2019.
9. Make sure that you’re in your host country on 29 and 30 March 2019.
- This is probably not the best time to make a family visit to the UK! Transport could be chaotic, with no agreements on air or other travel between the UK and EU.
- Ideally it would be best to be in your host country on those dates but if not possible, try to be somewhere in the Schengen zone: https://www.etiaseurope.eu/schengen-countries/.
10. Above all, don’t panic!
- This is about hoping (and working) for the best, while preparing for the worst. Whatever happens you won’t be alone and will always find help and support from your local or other British in Europe coalition group. You can find a list of our current groups here.
On 27 August 2018, Edouard Philippe, the French Prime Minister, asked his ministers to begin putting into place contingency plans and enabling legislation in case the UK leaves the EU with no deal, including to ‘facilitate the stay in France of British citizens who are already resident’. You can read the statement here.
Continue reading Letter to Edouard Philippe, the French Prime Minister
With the3million, we have written an open letter to the UK and EU Brexit negotiators to call on them to end the extreme legal uncertainty for citizens on either side of the Brexit divide in case of a no-deal scenario. Continue reading Letter to UK & EU negotiating teams
Following the recent change in strategy, The Guardian published this explanatory article by British in Europe Continue reading The Guardian – Opinion
After nearly two years fighting for the rights of UK citizens in the EU after Brexit and working closely with EU citizens in the UK (the3million), the coalition British in Europe has to accept that the rights of UK citizens in the EU will only be protected fully if the UK remains in the EU. Continue reading Why British in Europe has to come off the fence
The British in Europe Steering Committee, along with many members from our groups right across the EU27, attended the first People’s Vote march in London on 23 June 2018 to raise awareness of our outstanding issues and also to campaign for all British citizens living in the EU, and EU citizens living in the UK, to have the right to vote in any ‘People’s Vote’ referendum on a final deal. It was a very successful day, and we now have strong support for our issues from the People’s Vote team.
Another – hopefully even larger – march is planned in London for Saturday 20 October 2018 – just a couple of days after the crucial October EUCO summit. We will be there once again, and we warmly invite all British in Europe, along with your friends and families (whether in the EU or in the UK) to join with us and march under our banners. We’d love to meet you.
The ‘no-deal’ scenario appears to be becoming more likely so we wrote to Dominic Raab in conjunction with the3million regarding teh position of UKinEU and EUinUK. He was then demoted in the negotiation team so we hope he passes it on to Theresa May…
Continue reading Letter to Dominic Raab
Perhaps it goes without saying, but we must make clear that the White Paper is just about the future relationship. Unless otherwise stated any proposals refer to all UK citizens, including those who move temporarily (e.g. holiday) or permanently after 2020. Only point 13 below applies just to those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
- The White Paper (WP) draws a distinction between movement of goods and provision of services, with a free trade area for goods but not for services. This is probably more because the UK wants to be free to export its successful services sector across the globe without customs union-style restrictions, rather than any recognition that the UK would not be able to get such a good deal for services in any event (Chapter 1 para. 47 notes that UK non-EU services trade grew by 73% in the last 10 years).
- For services the WP proposes broad coverage across services sectors and modes of supply, “deep” market access commitments with no limit on the number of service providers from one country that can operate in another, and “deep” commitments to prevent as far as possible national suppliers being given more favourable treatment (1:52).
- On Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications – the proposal is for the same range of professions to be covered as at present, including those operating on permanent and temporary bases, and operating in a very similar way to the existing Directive (1:55).
- In addition to the general provisions on services, it proposes special arrangements for “professional and business services” including, e.g., joint practice between UK and EU lawyers, and joint UK/EU ownership of accounting firms, though the rights of service providers would differ from present rights in unspecified ways (1:57).
- We are referred to as being around 800,000 again and it says that an EU/UK agreement already reached gives us certainty about our rights. At least it does not say that we will be able to continue to live our lives as before. (1:72).
- Free movement will end and EU migration brought under EU law. (1:73)
- Aim is to allow UK firms to move and attract talent and to deploy staff to provide cross-border services (1:79).
- Will seek reciprocal visa free travel for short-term business reasons which would permit only paid work in limited and clearly defined circumstances in line with current business visa policy (how does this apply to self-employed people?)(1:80).
- Will seek to agree reciprocal provisions on inter-corporate transfers in line with rules in trading agreements with non-EU countries. Will also discuss how to facilitate temporary mobility of scientists, researchers, self-employed professionals, employees providing services as well as investors (note the use of the word “discuss” rather than seek to agree in this context). (1:81)
- Will seek reciprocal visa free tourist travel (1:83) and EHIC cover for travel (1:84).
- Proposes a UK-EU youth mobility scheme for students similar to those for Australia and Canada: query whether this will mean that international fees apply and whether student loans would be available – this will need to be checked. (1:86). Includes successor scheme to Erasmus+ (4:36)
- Will seek continuation of reciprocal social security system, including aggregation of contributions, and EHIC cover for UK citizens who go to live in the EU in future. (1:89)
- Will seek “onward movement opportunities” for UKinEU (i.e. those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement) but then references “the opportunities we will have if we choose to move to another country” i.e. the focus is on moving from one country to another, rather than free movement to work in other countries or spend time in other countries without moving. This is not the key or at least not the only issue as regards free movement for this group and the UK government must understand that. (1:90)
- Framework that would be sought on mobility could also cover recognition of professional qualifications as referred to above. (1:91)
- UK wants to explore options for reciprocal access for road haulage and passenger transport operators, as well as private motoring (1:134).
- UK to bind itself by treaty to require UK courts to pay due regard to CJEU decisions on matters covered by “common rule book” for trade, though not able to make preliminary references to CJEU (4:35)
- UK to work “at pace” to conclude Art. 50 negotiations this autumn (October), including the political statement about the future relationship (Conclusion:4)
- “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” applies not only to the WA but also the political statement (barely sotto voce, if we don’t get the future relationship we want CR and the divorce bill go out of the window too) (Conclusion: 5).
You can download our reaction as pdf: Response to UK White Paper 15 July 18.
The Government’s White Paper is available here.
Photo © Mangostar/Shutterstock.com
Responding to the appointment of Dominic Raab as Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Jane Golding, Chair of British in Europe said:
‘If Mr Raab wishes to stamp his own mark on this new job from Day One he could differentiate himself from David Davis by inviting British in Europe and the3million to a meeting to discuss what Brexit means for the 4.6mn people directly and immediately affected by it. Continue reading Raab appointment as Secretary of State for DExEU
21 JUNE – In response to UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid’s call for the EU 27 to publish more detail on its post-Brexit registration plans for UK citizens living on the continent, Jane Golding, Chair of British in Europe said:
‘Obviously, we welcome any interest from the UK government when it comes to fighting the corner of its 1.2 mn British nationals living on the continent.
However, as Mary Berry might have said: this display of concern from the British Government is a bit late and a bit rich. What the Home Secretary appears not to realise is that it is the UK government that has thrown its own nationals in Europe into this uncertainty by insisting on introducing settled status for EU citizens in the UK so that it became an option for us in the EU 27 in December’s last-minute deal.
The EU 27 was not interested in settled status up until then.
Furthermore, Mr Javid seems to be asking all the wrong questions. Rather than asking what systems the EU 27 are planning to set up he should know by now that the current registration systems across the EU27 are largely working well and that it is only France – along with the UK- that doesn’t require some form of registration for EU citizens. As such, he should be asking what the EU 27 is planning to do to tweak existing systems, rather than setting up new ones.
Perhaps Mr Javid, Mr Davis and Mrs May could come and talk to us about what people on the ground actually need rather than simply deciding what’s best for them.
If they did, they would also know that free movement remains a huge issue for British people on the continent. With 80% of Brits in the EU 27 working age or younger, many of us rely on it for work and to keep our families together. We need Mrs May to put it back on the table at next week’s summit as part of the withdrawal agreement. We think it would be an easy win for her and it would put people back at the heart of Brexit: helping her to meet one of her key negotiation objectives’.
For additional comments and interviews – contact us or tweet @BritishInEurope or @mediawhizz.
We carried out a survey on the importance of Freedom of Movement (FoM) amongst our supporters in May 2018. Over 3 000 people responded.
It is clear that a significant proportion of British in Europe rely on FoM to carry out their daily lives, while others have future plans dependent on FoM. FoM is also consistently seen as important when considering the opportunities available to children.
The full details can be read here:
The pdf is available for download here:
Whilst others took a break over Easter, our legal team were hard at work analysing the detail of the text on Citizens Rights in the Withdrawal Agreement draft dated 19 March, 2018.
BiE has previously issued guidance on the elements that are of major concern to UK nationals living in the EU27 and were told that any proposal of amendments of substance would be ignored.
This feedback takes two forms:
1) Drafting comments on the agreement
2) Questions requiring answering by both sides of the negotiation. Continue reading Legal Analysis of the WA text