THE ASSOCIATION – WHAT ARE WE AND WHAT DO WE DO?
Following the result of the referendum last June – a shock to leave and remain voters alike – as part of my help group for British residents in Spain, I started getting heartfelt pleas for help to support them here. Amid the scaremongering, they feared being asked by Spain to leave following Brexit. That couldn’t be further from the truth so with a couple of friends we decided to set-up a group to represent them and to fight to defend our rights here as EU citizens. Few of us want to leave, Spain is our home, but after talking to many British immigrants here their main concern, especially among the pensioners is their potential loss of access to pubic healthcare. Obviously, if you work and pay into the system, the chances of this are zero and for those very worried pensioners private healthcare would be the answer but for any who have a pre-existing condition, not only is it too expensive for them to pay on their now reduced pensions it is also virtually impossible to secure. As a firm believer in nothing is impossible, on guidance from our local mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado and relentless champion of our cause, we set up the association.
Our policy, as well as being not politically-biased because Brexit will affect us all in exactly the same way, is that we are a non-profit group so have self-funded costs to date. Given our dismay and in my case, the lack of faith in the British government since I was disenfranchised by my own country together with the other 700,000 British immigrants in the EU who were not allowed to vote last June on a subject that will affect our family and our futures here we decided to garner the support of the Spanish. Through our Facebook group and contacts we began to be invited to other areas in Spain and, at each, we have 100% support of their local councils. Our name has spread and we are constantly being asked for radio, TV and newspaper interviews at local, national and international levels and as a result of that our name has continued to travel far and wide. We are raising awareness of the plight of the 320,000 British immigrants in Spain and now making inroads and have the help of the British Consulate.
Not to say we are amateurs but we are just concerned British residents abroad without the necessary professional knowledge to challenge the opposition so we sought the necessary expertise in the areas we had previously identified as of greatest concern – legal, economy, health, banking, employment, education, insurance, property, Spanish residential and police issues and now rely on them to offer our members free expert and professional advice at all of our presentations.
The law in Spain is constantly changing and it is more important than ever now for us to be as fully compliant with the law as is possible. We have heard some dreadful and costly stories of how we Brits have fallen foul of the law here and since ignorance is not an excuse we must do our utmost to remain legal residents. Come the day of reckoning or the glorious day (whichever way you choose to see it) after we leave the EU, Spain will obviously only defend their legal immigrants. With our help you still have time to get your personal house in order to stand you in good stead.
Help us Grow
Given our financial limitations, everything we have done so far has been self-funded but we need to get out to other parts of Spain. We make no charge to our members and our funds are raised via donations. It is difficult to fund our many trips, presentations and satisfy the countless requests to travel to other parts of Spain and perhaps now, more than ever, we need to be a united force.