- October 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm #192797
With hard Brexit looking more and more likely by the day, does anyone know if British nationals who currently have residency in EU member states (like Spain, Portugal or Ireland for example) be entitled to free movement throughout EU member states post Brexit?
There are horror stories circulating about British nationals needing a visa waiver in order to be able to travel to EU countries and I was wondering if this would apply to EU residents with British passports. Perhaps there are some non-EU nationals who are resident in Spain who can answer this question. What is the deal for US and Canadian nationals for example?
We are in uncharted territory here but any thoughts would be appreciated.
- October 5, 2016 at 12:32 am #192816
The answer to your question is nobody knows.
The negotiations haven’t even begun. So ignore all horror stories and remember this… there are about 3.3 millions EU citizens living and working in the U.K. (mostly very hard). Few retirees, mostly young, ‘get up and go’ types, which is exactly what they have done. Contrast this with about 1.3 million UK citizens living in the EU, many working in higher paid jobs and lots and lots of retirees with cash and pension incomes. ( Source, Migration watch).
Nobody’s throwing anybody out. The 48% simply won’t stand for it. We will all have free movement for holidays and fun and retirement. Spain has a history of open doors for such inflows of people and capital. The Spanish have a golden visa for non EU residents who invest €500,000+ in real estate.
The biggest problem I see at the moment is the sinking £ making Spain look very expensive, especially after you add the 12% + transaction costs. Plus, post Brexit, any tax equality between EU residents and Spanish residents may well disappear, a big deal if you are renting out your place.
Finally, Teresa May’s speech was to the party conference. She had to be bold and loud and bullish to the party faithful, and they loved her for it. Shades of 1984.
She was also sending a message, slightly more sotto voce, to the EU. We’re leaving, and no later than April Fools Day, 2019.
I hope this allays some of your fears.
- October 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm #192822
Simple answer is no, residency doesn’t give you freedom of movement around the EU.
- October 5, 2016 at 6:58 pm #192824
Thanks for your replies, I had rather suspected that residency alone would not allow freedom of movement around the EU. Obviously formal negotiations will not commence until A50 has been triggered and then we will be locked into a 2 year negotiation period with the clock running down. I hope we don’t end up with hard Brexit because it will mean no single market or freedom of movement which will be a problem for many Brits with property in Spain.
- October 6, 2016 at 9:53 am #192825
Reports from the Conservative party conference point to a Hard Brexit as the only option and the preferred option on both sides. Yes, it sucks.
Get a EU passport.
- October 6, 2016 at 11:09 am #192826
Good advice regarding getting an EU passport. I’m about to apply for an Irish passport by virtue of Irish born grandparents only (just one would be enough). Both my parents were UK born. It’s a bit of a process involving registering foreign births etc but the rules are quite clear, I will get one, eventually. The Irish authorities have been flooded by applications ever since the referendum and this week’s announcements will bring yet more. So if anyone wants an EU passport and has an Irish grandparent, even if long since deceased, then get in now; they could change the rules at any time as they were not designed for this type of passport shopping.
- October 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm #192830
Snap, I’m going the Irish passport route too! It’s definitely the way the go but not an option for my partner.
I think the 48% (which will increase to well over 50% with a 5 year demographic shift) are now looking for an escape plan. I wonder if there will be more Golden Visa opportunities available with lower price tags?
There’s no doubt about it, a high percentage of the 48% want out of the UK so any EU member states that come up with good schemes are going to clean up.
- October 7, 2016 at 11:13 am #192835
I’ve been French resident for 23 years (longer than I ever lived in the UK). I’m trying to apply for a French passport, but the paperwork required is daunting, and in some cases, impossible (an original copy of my mother’s South African birth certificate from 1935. Photocopies, even notarised are not accepted). As we’re moving to Spain next month and I really, really don’t want to be French, I’d rather get Spanish residency and hang on for 5 years before applying for a Spanish passport. So I guess I’ll have to go through maybe three years of visa waiver before I can apply for a Spanish passport.
Shame that there’s no EU passport with no country attached.
- October 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm #192889
poujol, I agree, it is a shame there is no such thing as an EU passport, there would be plenty of takers that’s for sure.
Re your situation, I believe you have to be resident in Spain for 10 years before your can obtain a Spanish passport.
I’m sure the majority of people don’t ever want to see the introduction of a horrendous visa waiver scheme but we do have to plan for worst case scenario. The effects of Brexit are now beginning to bite (with much worse to come) so I am hoping that the UK will be forced into EEA membership. The government is now coming under immense pressure and business leaders do not want to leave the single market – they have written an open letter to the government pleading their case for barrier free trade.
It might be a good idea to obtain Spanish residency immediately and hope for the best.
- October 10, 2016 at 11:54 am #193008
John Collier Solicitor in SpainParticipant
Before the UK joined the EU in 1975 there was no problem coming to Spain or buying property here. Similarly in the subsequent period when UK was a member but Spain was not there was no problem. Spain has always benefited from the money British tourists and residents spend in the country. Currently, it benefits even more from the number of its nationals (who might otherwise be unemployed in Spain) working in the UK and sending money back to Spain. It would be completely against Spain’s interests to impose any restrictions and I believe that when all the sabre rattling is done things will continue pretty much the same as they are now except that it is probable that if you want to work in Spain you will need a work permit.
- October 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm #193088
Trying to second guess what will happen early in 2019 is probably futile and liable to cause unnecessary panic amongst those British nationals who live in Spain, either with or without residency.
My inclination, having lived in Spain for 15 years and as a tax resident here is to trust in the negotiations which the British government is yet to start with the E.U. and which cannot start in earnest until Article 50 has been triggered.
Meanwhile we should keep our ears to the ground and continue to watch forums like this. My feeling is that John Collier (see above thread) is likely to be proven right when he says that little is likely to change. So making a sudden decision as a knee-jerk reaction to instinctive panic is neither necessary nor, in most cases, desirable.
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