Category: HM Government

Meeting with Simon Manley British Ambassador to Spain

Meeting with Simon Manley British Ambassador to Spain

Following a very informative presentation by Simon Manley (British Ambassador to Spain) in Málaga on 30 June 2017 organised by Lidera and Sur we were privileged to have a very lengthy (one hour) personal meeting with him and Charmaine Arbouin, the British Consul to Andalucia and the Canaries.

We addressed several issues:

BREXPATS IN SPAIN – The first issue we should like to address is the lack of information. In over one year we have no more information, we are no more aware of our position post Brexit nor even when the official date of Brexit is. I have commented repeatedly that there is no information being released and all this speculating and newspaper scaremongering does little to help the situation. If the government has no information then please say so publicly and some of the unfounded worries of our members might be allayed, especially the pensioners who are already at their wit’s end worrying about their already limited futures and I believe that is that is positively cruel. We are not politically biased but most of our members are very angry and feel totally overlooked, we deserve answers.

SIMON MANLEY and Charmaine accepted that this has been a problem and asked how we could address it. We had raised our concerns in the past and we agreed to collaborate closely with FCO, to have links to them on our website and to receive information from them as soon as it became public. Charmaine commented that the Embassy does have a Facebook page but it has not been updated to reflect the latest government offer published on 26 June 2017 although she would look into this because she realises that social media serves an important service in diffusing information to the masses.


BREXPATS IN SPAIN – Our members have posted questions for me to put to you and I apologise if some might seem rather angry but I do think it is understandable given the circumstances. Would you mind if I read them for you to answer?

SIMON MANLEY agreed and proceeded to answer each question.  Protection for healthcare and pensions is appreciated, if it is protected, but is anything going to be done about our freedom of movement in Europe and the EU citizenship? It is not a reciprocal issue as no freedom of movement is required for EU immigrants in the UK.

SIMON MANLEY said that until the final agreements are reached with the other EU27, nothing can be cast in stone though the UK is hopeful that such an agreement will be reached.

 Does the Embassy have the old UK/Spain bilateral agreement which is believed was never rescinded and offers a bottom line on Social Security arrangements?

SIMON MANLEY stated that the UK is looking for agreement with the EU as a whole and not bilateral agreements as yet.  Dual citizenship

SIMON MANLEY said that the UK already recognises dual citizenship but whether Spain chooses to reconsider its position on dual nationality is a separate issue. He added that it is a very complex issue and has many historical implications.  How will the British government define how those already in Spain retain their residential status – padrón, residente comunitario under Art 3.3 and 7.1 Decreto Real 240/2007?

SIMON MANLEY said that this will form part of the negotiation process and promised to update us in due course.  Is all this British dithering an intentional ploy because it is hoping that Brexit won’t happen?

SIMON MANLEY commented that the withdrawal from the EU is a hugely complicated business which perhaps isn’t fully understood and he hopes the government’s 26 June policy paper ‘Safeguarding the position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Citizens Living in the EU’ further explains and clarifies this. He added that there has been an enormous amount of work undertaken behind the scenes. BREXPATS IN SPAIN interjected by commenting that perhaps we have not been made aware of this which is why we feel overlooked and reiterated the need for information from the British government.  Many believe that the UK’s proposal is not only vague but flawed and requires clarification. The small insertion in the UK paper affects those whose pensions will be based on contributions aggregated between the UK and EU countries. Paragraph 43 states that only contributions made before Brexit would be aggregated. The current proposals say that only contributions made before exit (ie the date the UK leaves the EU, not A50 day) will be aggregated with contributions made in other EU countries to form one pension. If this goes into the final deal then contributions made in an EU country after exit day would not be aggregated with UK NI contributions, but would be paid instead as a separate pension. This is potentially serious as, for example, most countries have a minimum number of trimesters or years of contributions needed to pay a separate pension, so years of contributions could be lost. Is this correct?

SIMON MANLEY said this was a very good question but admitted he didn’t have the answer to this and agreed that we should send this question to The Department for exiting the European Union for their attention.  We, the UK immigrants in Spain, in Europe, have no British representation in the EU. We are more than 300,000 citizens holding British passports and have been loyal to our British government but not any more. We fiercely resent the government’s philanderings and oversight for us. We are delighted that your presentation earlier amended your 3 priorities which did not mention us and actually put us as the first priority.

SIMON MANLEY said that everything to do with Brexit includes the British immigrants in the EU and, of course, Spain, so it remains as his first priority.  Will those who have lived more than 15 years out of the UK ever get our right back to vote as was promised? We feel not only lied to but disenfranchised and betrayed.

SIMON MANLEY stated that he thinks it could happen eventually but it does not form part of the EU negotiations. The one main concern for the pensioners who make up nearly a third of UK immigrant residents is the potential loss of public healthcare and, ironically, it has nothing to do with the EU. It could be bilaterally agreed and would be so much cheaper for the UK to do so.

SIMON MANLEY commented that the 26 June policy paper expresses a firm intention to reach an agreement that will allow pensioners to continue with their healthcare in the EU and also for tourists to continue using the EHIC card though obviously the terms and wording of it will have to be amended and it is covered in the manifesto.  If I change my nationality and lose my wife, and become unwell myself with nobody here to care for me, it is inevitable that I should return to the UK to family. Would I still qualify as a British citizen and be entitled to medical care and other benefits?

SIMON MANLEY said that would only apply if you became a UK national. Charmaine also pointed our that if you formally renounce your British nationality in order to take on Spanish nationality, under most circumstances, you will be able to reapply and regain your British nationality – at a cost.  As a British pensioner resident here with my S1 I can get public healthcare. As a non-EU citizen post Brexit and, if I lose that right, I should like confirmation that it would mean that I still maintain that right in the UK and would be entitled to register with a UK doctor.

SIMON MANLEY stated that would only apply if you had a permanent address in the UK as a permanent resident there. The Spanish Social Security card would still be valid as a tourist for emergency healthcare and there is a commitment on the 26 June policy paper to retaining the S1 (or similar) arrangements.  Will you or your office please reply to the many emails our members sent last week following your video on Facebook? I am sorry to say that in this instance silence is not golden, it is tarnishing their opinions.

SIMON MANLEY promised a reply would be sent as soon as possible. He is aware of all the emails he has received.  Will pension increases be maintained?

SIMON MANLEY said that the 26 June policy paper quite clearly deals with pensions and the increases will be maintained.  Residency rights. How will the start of residency be determined from issue of Residency Card, Padrón etc and when will the cut off date be determined?

SIMON MANLEY commented that this would form part of the negotiations.  Bilateral agreement between UK and Spain in default of agreement between EU and UK.

SIMON MANLEY said that was still to be considered although they are quite confident that an agreement will be reached with the EU.  Inheritance tax implications. Non EU nationals are in a worse position. Will there be a cut-off date when inheritance tax for non EU nationals applies?

SIMON MANLEY said that is was not yet clear what would happen, but he would endeavour to keep us informed.  Driving and importing of vehicles, transporting pets. Is the government aware of the many implications on us as British immigrants in the EU?

SIMON MANLEY confirmed the need for us to keep them informed, especially of any personal but important issues we become aware of. He appreciates the many repercussions on us and assures us that the government wants to make it as easy a transition as possible. Mutual recognition of qualifications.

SIMON MANLEY said that a part of the 26 June policy paper deals with this in detail and he is confident that there will be an agreement reached for mutual recognition of British and EU qualifications.  Spain is only just now coming out of a very difficult economic recession but is already unfairly economically suffering some of the Brexit implications – people who were on the verge of investing in a business here are waiting for fear of what might happen, fewer British property buyers and less permanent employment is being offered to British here. Not to say we are not patriotic to our own birth country but it grieves us to see Spain start to suffer as a result of our doing.

SIMON MANLEY repeated that one of his priorities is to maintain good relations with Spain and added that it is not in our interest or our intention to financially harm any of the EU27.  Many of us are not political animals but Brexit has understandably generated a lot of political interest and sadly, seems to have given a carte blanche to openly express dislike of certain people if they didn’t vote in the same way or if they look or think differently. Brexit is going to affect us all, no matter what our political opinion is and we need to start working together to support each other and BREXPATS IN SPAIN wants to work with you but we do need to start collaborating.

SIMON MANLEY once again appreciated our offer and said he looked forward to our future and close collaboration. He said it is important that the government remains in touch with the people and since we are at grass roots level, he will rely on us to help them do just that.  And finally, BREXPATS IN SPAIN is now represented in Alicante, Valencia, the Canaries and, with Charmaine Arbouin’s help, hopefully in the Balearics. I should therefore like to extend a personal invitation to you to be our Guest Speaker at Alicante University towards the end of the year or early 2018.

SIMON MANLEY confirmed in principle that he or a senior representative from the Embassy would be happy to attend.

BREXPATS IN SPAIN comment following the meeting – The team came away from the meeting feeling quite elated and much more confident of the UK’s concern for us as British immigrants in the EU. They acknowledge our criticism of the lack of information forthcoming and will make positive steps to avoid this in the future and to keep us updated and we shall share that information with our members.  We appreciate Mr Manley’s time to meet with us and his honesty in answering the many questions we posed and issues we discussed. We also now appreciate more the enormous amount of work involved by all parties with regards to our exit from the EU.  We eagerly anticipate a close collaboration with FCO. One of our main goals has been to separate the fact from the fiction and this collaboration should enable us to do just that and continue to update our members of factual information, as and when we receive it.

Anne Hernández

President

BREXPATS IN SPAIN

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UK elections June 8 Register to Vote

UK elections June 8 Register to Vote

Use this service to apply to register to vote or to:

  • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
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It usually takes about 5 minutes.

This service is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You may need the following, if you have them:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your passport if you’re a British citizen living abroad

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums

If you are eligible find out how here:-

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote?utm_source=Overseaspartners&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=OS17

Report on Focus Group Meeting Friday 24February 2017

Report on Focus Group Meeting Friday 24February 2017

On 24th February 2017 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a Brexit Focus Group Meeting at the Centro Cultura in La Cala de Mijas.

Brexpats in Spain were invited to put a group of around 15 people together to attend the event. Our group consisted of a cross section which included retirees, small business owners, people with families as well as our lawyers and Giles Tremlett a journalist and author who writes for The Guardian and Economist. Giles travelled down from Madrid to be with us at the meeting. Also in attendance were participants from other Expat Groups, Local Businesses as well as Local Press.

Julia Longbottom, The Director of Consular Services travelled from London to Chair the meeting she was accompanied by Gerard McGurk Consular Regional Director for Southern Europe, Charmaine Arbouin Consular Regional Operation Manager for Andalucía and Rosslyn Lloyd Vice-Consul for Andalucía. A contingent from the Department for Exiting the European Union were invited to attend but were unable to do so. It is hoped that they will attend future such events.

The Mayor of Mijas, Juan Carlos Maldonado introduced himself to the meeting confirming his ongoing support for Brexpats in Spain and the British residents in Spain.

Whilst there are still “No Answers” the meeting gave a valuable chance for concerned British Immigrants to put their Brexit worries and views directly to a face from the FCO. Subjects raised included Pension, Healthcare, and Employment, Maintaining a Business, Education, Qualifications and Family Life.

Julia Longbottom took everything she was told on board and made a firm commitment to us to take it back to London and ensure that it is disseminated to the correct areas. She reiterated that there are no answers yet. She also made a commitment to ensure these Focus Group Meeting would continue.

The one thing that was prominent at the meeting was the need for good reliable and up to date information. There are too many rumours, conflicting press reports and Chinese Whispers. This was taken on board and will be worked on to find a suitable solution.

Following the Focus Group Meeting, Brexpats in Spain gave a presentation at the La Cala Town Hall on the subject of obtaining Spanish Nationality, Wills, Inheritance and Employment.

Our Mayor of Mijas Juan Carlos Maldonado introduced himself to the meeting confirming his ongoing support for British Immigrants in Mijas, Brexpats and the work we are doing .

It was explained that the basic requirement for applying for Spanish Nationality as they stand at the moment include: –

10 years continuous Spanish Residency, to sit a written examinations in Spanish on Spanish Culture and Language as well as a Spanish oral exam/interview.

It was also further pointed out that as of this moment Spain does not allow dual nationality with the United Kingdom.

Giles Tremlett gave a briefing on the work he is doing with other groups regarding British Rights in Europe after Brexit and is actively working to ease the requirements for obtaining Spanish Nationality as well as change legislation that precludes British Nationals from holding dual nationality with Spain. Interestingly, Great Britain allows a Spanish National to hold dual Nationality with the UK.

Victoria Westhead (Lawyer) then gave a briefing on employment. Since 1993 EU Nationals have had the right to come to Spain, seek employment and work in Spain with the ability to have qualifications endorsed throughout Europe. The only exceptions to this is non Spanish Nationals are not permitted to take positions in areas such as the Police or Armed Forces.

Obviously we want to conserve our rights in Spain and work to the Spanish Government confirming this post Brexit.

Sarah Hawes explained that there has been recent changes in legislation that now give the opportunity for British Residents in Spain to change their Wills to include a clause stating that they wish to have the inheritance laws of their county of nationality applied to their Spanish Will . It should be stressed that this applies only to the rule of inheritance, Spanish Inheritance tax rules would still apply. It should also be noted that if you were to choose to take Spanish Nationality under the present rules whereby Dual Nationality with the UK is not permitted then this option would not be available.

Milada Fitzgerald reiterated to the meeting that if you live in Spain more than 183 day you are automatically deemed to be a Spanish Resident and must complete a Spanish Tax Return on which you must declare all pensions, income and interest etc. regardless of where you are receiving them. The Tax return must be completed by the end of June each year with your declaration covering the previous calendar year. Milada also reminded the meeting that Inheritance tax exists between spouses in Spain, the level of which varies dependant on region.

Brexpats in Spain President, Anne Hernández, then closed the meeting thanking everyone for their attendance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit | European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Brexit | European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

MPs are to continue considering the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in a Committee of the whole House on Wednesday 8 February 2017.

Remaining stages on the Bill are also scheduled to take place on Wednesday 8 February.

Committee of the whole House: Wednesday 8 February 2017

Today’s debate is expected to start at approximately 12.45pm after the Ten Minute Rule Motion on Sexual Offences (Amendment).

Timings are approximate as Parliamentary business is subject to change.

The amendments selected by the Chairman of Ways and Means will be discussed in a wide-ranging debate covering priorities for negotiations with the EU on the UK’s withdrawal, and other issues not covered fully in earlier debates, such as implications for Gibraltar and membership of Euratom. This debate will last for up to five hours from the commencement of proceedings.

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UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

The UK will have less than 18 months to finalise its exit from the European Union once talks begin and won’t be allowed to pick and choose what it likes, said the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator on Tuesday.

Michel Barnier said that formal procedures such as parliamentary approvals across Europe will cut into the two-year period that Britain was expecting to have to negotiate the terms of its exit.

In his first press conference since taking the post, Barnier said: “Time will be short. It is clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years.”

This comes after Theresa May voiced her intention to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by March next year. A step that will officially start the 2-year countdown for the EU-UK divorce.

Still, Barnier warned that the effective negotiating time will be less, as an agreement will have to have been reached by October 2018, so as to ensure it is in place and enforced by March 2019 – exactly two years from the triggering of Article 50.

“The European Union is ready to receive the (article 50) notification,” Barnier said. “Keep calm and negotiate.”

However, May might find it difficult to trigger article 50, after a court last month decided that Parliament had to give its backing to such a move. The government is contesting the ruling in the Supreme Court, with critics warning of the serious societal instability if the ruling goes against the people’s vote to leave the EU.

Should it confirm that Parliament is to be involved in the process, May’s plans to begin the exit discussions could be delayed indefinitely.

Barnier, who spoke in English and French, said that Britain cannot “cherry pick” policies from the EU, asserting that the single market and its four freedoms, namely freedom of movement, are “indivisible”.

Craig Webb

Associate Wealth Manager
deVere Spain (Marbella)

Political shock waves after Conservative Party Conference herald further decline of Sterling

Prime Minister Theresa May will resume her foreign outreach this week after stirring global concern that her government’s focus on immigration controls as it leaves the European Union risks alienating international partners as well as curbing access to the single market.

Follow @Brexit for the latest news, and sign up to our Brexit Bulletin for a daily roundup.

The Conservative Party leader will travel to Denmark and the Netherlands on Monday for talks with prime ministers Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Mark Rutte respectively as she tries to build understanding for her position ahead of this month’s EU summit in Brussels, her first as premier. The visits to two traditional allies within Europe follows trips to other EU capitals including Berlin, Paris and Warsaw as the U.K. prepares to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, beginning up to two years of Brexit negotiations.

The prime minister is under pressure from financial markets, business leaders, government colleagues and a cross-party group of lawmakers after she set out her vision of how Britain will exit the 28-nation bloc. May’s pledge to restrict immigration is increasingly seen by investors and fellow EU governments alike as incompatible with continued U.K. access to the single market, posing a risk to the economy.

That realization has sent shock waves through markets and pushed the pound to its biggest weekly loss since the Brexit vote in June. Sterling resumed its decline on Monday, and was down 0.2 percent as of 10:35 a.m. in London.

“The U.K. is really shooting themselves in the foot and it is going to get ugly,” Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at the New York University Stern School of Business, said at an event in Washington on Sunday. “The risk is not that the U.K. has a recession of two-three quarters; the risk is that the U.K. will stagnate at 1 percent growth for the next five years,” Roubini said. Then, “those that voted for Brexit are much worse off.”

The political shock waves from the signals out of last week’s Conservative Party conference mirrored the market tremors that reverberated around the globe. The Observer newspaper reported that former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband held talks with pro-EU Conservative lawmakers on forming an alliance to demand the government allow a parliamentary vote on the terms of Brexit. Miliband is considering pushing for May to appear before Parliament to explain the body’s role in EU-exit decisions.
Credits: Bloomberg.com