AROUND 200 residents of Urbanisation La Marina came along to one of a series of meetings along the Costa Blanca organised by the British Consul to gain a little more information on how Brexit is likely to affect them in the future.
British Consul for Alicante Sarah-Jane Morris was welcomed by local councillor Paulino Herrero, along with the Mayor of San Fulgencio Carlos Ramirez who was greeted with a series of boos and jeers from a small number who took this public opportunity to express their views on his continuing tenure in the post.
Also on the top table was Richard Hill from the Brexpats in Spain organisation, and between him and Sarah-Jane Morris, they explained the current state of play in the Brexit negotiations, concentrating on those aspects that would most likely apply to UK citizens living in the EU.
“For those wishing to continue to be resident in Spain after the UK leave the EU, they should ensure that they are registered on the local padrón and to take up formal residency of the country,” said the British Consul, reiterating the advice given since the 2016 Referendum. “People should also continue to look at the official sources of information on all aspects of Brexit and that’s on the gov.uk website,” she continued. “If it’s not listed on there, then it’s not been agreed.”
Most of those present were retirees and so were relieved to hear the British Consul state that those living legally in Spain at the time the UK leaves the EU would not have their current healthcare arrangements affected. They would also continue to receive any annual state pension increases.
Richard Hill from Brexpats in Spain explained that one of their roles is to “dispel the propaganda and misinformation that is nothing more than scaremongering.” He said that they are “fighting for the fairest deal for all UK citizens living in the EU, without trying the reverse the decision taken in June 2016.”
They are focusing much of their current campaign aiming to get the accords on healthcare arrangements and pension increases that have already been part of the Brexit negotiations, ring-fenced in the event of a future ‘no-deal’ scenario.
During the question and answer session that followed, the subject of work permits post Brexit was raised. Sarah-Jane Morris said that if they satisfied the residency conditions of the withdrawal agreement – legally living in Spain on the date the UK leaves the EU – then the understanding is that no work permits would be needed. The situation may be different for those coming to work in the EU after Brexit.
With almost as many UK citizens living in San Fulgencio as there are Spanish, the subject of future voting rights was raised. As things stand, UK citizens will not be allowed to vote at the next May 2019 municipal elections unless there is a bilateral agreement between the UK and Spain or comes within any agreed transition period…which hasn’t been agreed as yet.