The interest of the Citizens Advice Spain is on citizen’s rights. As a civil society association this is our obligation.
The fifth round of the negotiation between the EU and UK concluded yesterday. I have read the information received today from the home office that explains the move forward. I can only express considerable concern on reading that the UK government remains intransigent. They stand by their proposal of June 19 on citizens residency. This means that after the withdrawal date, resident permanent or otherwise, will have to apply for settled status. That this would be reciprocated in all the 27 EU countries. To understand what this would mean for us, please read my paper in response to the UK government proposal of June 26
The government appears to believe that they are making concessions in that the EU legal residents living in the UK would have the procedure for the application of settled status simplified. Maybe they will only have to complete a sixty-page application form instead of Eighty-five. Residency application forms in Spain consist of a one-page sheet known as the EX18 and the simple tasa form 790. Below is the quote from the home office publication:
“The UK has also provided further information on its settled status scheme to be introduced next year. It will be streamlined, digital and low cost. As we have said previously, you do not need a document now to prove that you are resident in the UK.
For those who already have EU permanent residence documents the process will be very straightforward, with greatly reduced or zero cost to applicants to update their status under the new scheme”.
How many residents in Spain are aware of what reciprocal agreement on the above would mean? We would also have to apply for settled status, which means losing the acquired rights we hold today. Thousands will surely be refused the new status. We are already aware of the difficulties citizens have when just trying to renew a lost or damaged residency certificate or change an address.
I reiterate that we wish to retain our present residency status and agree that EU nationals should be given the same rights we have. They have after all acquired their rights legally.
This is not about leaving or remaining as the decision was made and article 50 was invoked on March 29, 2017. This is about retaining our present resident status for those of us who and our family members who applied for these under the EU Directives.
These are proposals but with each meeting, the UK government continues to make a stand for a system that will take away the status quo of all UK nationals residing in Spain. We need to be heard. I have written to the negotiating team in Brussels who will take note. Unfortunately we do not have a voice for our community in Spain.