Campaigners meet MPs today to speak of Britons' rights in EU

Campaigners for British people living in the EU will be talking to British MPs this morning about the importance of Britons living abroad in the EU maintaining their rights under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

30 June 2020
By Liv Rowland

It comes as today the deadline expires for the UK to ask for any extension to the Brexit transition period, meaning that the end of 2020 will be maintained as the final deadline for Britons to establish themselves in EU countries such as France if they want to retain simplified residency and working rights (similar to those of EU citizens) under the WA deal.

The campaigners are likely to raise such issues as British people’s residency cards that Britons will need to secure rights under the WA deal – and the fact that the French website for issue of these has been delayed for three months – as well as issues surrounding the bodies that have been accredited by the British government to support Britons in their applications for these cards.

The evidence session will be live on the British parliament’s website at 11.30 French time and should be archived on the website for later viewing.

Campaigners including British in Europe (BiE) coalition co-chair Jane Golding and Kalba Meadows from France Rights will be taking questions from the MPs’ Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.

British group concerned over 'patchy' cover by Britons' residency card help bodies

Christopher Chantrey, the vice chairman of one of the BiE coalition groups British Community Committee of France (BCC), told Connexion that the BCC’s current concerns include the ‘patchy’ coverage by the UK Nationals Support Fund helping bodies in France, which are for the Dordogne, Normandy, Brittany and Paris and for services veterans.

He said they are also concerned about the three-month delay to the French website, as a final June 30, 2021 date is being maintained by France for applications, especially with regard to those (it is hoped, rare) cases where a first application may be rejected and someone may have to try again.

Other topics which it is thought the MPs may bring up could include issues surrounding rights of British second home owners and also pet travel, since British EU pet passports will be invalid at the end of the Brexit transition period, expected to mean longer preparation for pet owners wanting to travel to EU states.

With regard to rights, the WA deal mostly concerns the maintaining of rights by Britons who are established in the EU before the end of the transition period (and EU citizens living in the UK in this period).

However besides the WA deal, there are also many issues affecting Britons abroad as regards the ongoing EU/UK future relationship negotiations which are hoped to lead to a new treaty or treaties this year.

These include free movement rules – for example it had been hoped that the possibility of maintaining ‘onward free movement’ rights in the EU for established British expatriates would be addressed in these talks, however neither the UK nor EU has prioritised this. This refers to the future right to live and work in other countries apart from the one where the Britons live now.

BiE campaigners are also concerned about the right for Britons to return to the UK at a future date with EU national spouses who they have married after the transition period. At present it is expected that the UK will apply strict immigration rules to such households including set, fairly high, income requirements.

With regard to second home owners, many are concerned about the 90 days in 180 rule that is expected to apply to them, with some campaigners for this group asking the UK to push for a right to visit for six months a year

UK fails to ask for S1 pensioner healthcare to continue after transition period

The future relationship talks are also – if there is time – meant to include discussion of future social security coordination between the UK and EU, including a continuation of visitors’ healthcare cover similar to the EU’s Ehic/Ceam card scheme, as well as the annual uprating of future expatriates' state pensions.

However as we covered in June’s edition of The Connexion newspaper, while the UK has expressed interest in continuing these two items, it does not intend to ask the EU to continue the S1 system of healthcare coverage for future expatriate pensioners (current pensioners are covered by the WA deal), nor the right for future expatriates to export British disability benefits – both serious concerns for Britons who had plans to move to France in later life.

This is despite the fact that continuation of these two rights is proposed by the EU in the negotiating documents.

To find out more

S1 expatriate health form not listed for Brexit talks 

Why was French website for Britons’ residency cards delayed? 

Less time to apply for Britons’ residency card for France 

Brexit residency card site – when will it open? 

UK has confirmed refusal to extend Brexit transition

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