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Important message from the Brexit team at the British Embassy in Madrid

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 7:17pm
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chrisso50

chrisso50

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I have just received this from the Brexit team at the British Embassy in Madrid. It’s long and involved but it does attempt to answer / clarify a lot of points.

“Healthcare:

Reinstatement of the Convenio Especial in Andalucía: some U.K. nationals are worried this is part of the preamble of the S1 form being stopped.  I can absolutely confirm this is not the case.  The suppression of the Convenio in some provinces of Andalucía went against national Spanish law.  Andalucía was in fact the only region in Spain to take action on the Universal Healthcare Law, which is in the process of being amended at national level. The bringing back of the Convenio merely means that Andalusia is once again in line with the rest of the country.  So, the issues that we saw with the Convenio Especial in Andalucía were a domestic Spanish matter, and in no way related to Brexit.  The Embassy lobbied for its reinstatement so that UK nationals without state (i.e. Spanish or UK) or private healthcare cover could successfully apply for residency before EU Exit.  Universal healthcare cover is not recognised by the national police as appropriate healthcare cover for the purposes of registering on the “Registro de Ciudadanos de la Unión”.  As always, our aim is to protect the Citizens’ Rights of UK nationals living in Spain.

It is also certainly not the UK government’s intention to stop reciprocal healthcare under the S1 form.  If the UK leaves with a deal, the continuation of reciprocal healthcare for those registered as living in Spain is confirmed within the citizens’ rights agreements reached with the EU.  And if the UK leaves without a deal, the UK government has very publically stated it wishes to continue reciprocal healthcare until the end of 2020 (more on what happens after 2020 below)...

DarioMartin

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:08pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:08pm

Chrisso ... your post is blank - are you trying to tell us the Brexit team have nothing to say? :-D

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:23pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:23pm

Haha! No, I tried to post it twice but nothing appeared so I guess there was a message length limit. I have posted a Part 1. Part 2 next ...

Chris

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:26pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:26pm

PART 2 -

UKNs on universal healthcare: some on universal healthcare in Andalucía are worried they might have to start paying contributions again.  However the Servicio Andaluz de Salud (SAS) has not announced any changes, as far as we are aware, to healthcare cover for those currently on the universal healthcare scheme.  We recommend anyone in this situation continues to monitor the SAS website and if they are concerned to check with their local health centre.

Alleged Spanish complaints over S1 payments: I can confirm that this is not the case.  The Spanish are responsible for calculating the average cost for S1 holders here and all average costs are reviewed/confirmed at an Audit Board in Brussels on a yearly basis.

Healthcare after 2020 in a no deal: The UK has proposed to keep reciprocal healthcare provision the same until 2020, should the UK leave the EU without a deal, in order to avoid there being any disruption to those currently dependant on it.  But this is also to enable further discussions to take place with the EU on longer term options for a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the EU after this date.  So, there would be a phase 2, if you like, of discussions.  The UK and Spain want the same thing here – a transitional period of continuity during which time further discussions about the future relationship can take place – and we are working hard to ensure it is finalised as soon as possible.

I know healthcare continues to be an area where many UKNs would like further information and I’m including Alexis, the Country Manager for the Healthcare Team in Spain, on copy, in case you would like to follow up with her.

Royal Decree and Reciprocity

I know there has been a lot of attention on this since the debate in parliament last week and Alberto Costa’s comments about the UK needing to pass legislation in order for the Spanish no deal plans to come into effect.  I think there are some important points to clarify about a no deal scenario:

· It is not possible for the UK on its own to protect the rights of UK nationals living in the EU if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  Just as it is not possible for the Spanish government on its own to protect the rights of Spanish nationals living in the UK.  

Therefore…

· The UK has made a unilateral offer to EU nationals in the UK, and the Spanish government has made a unilateral offer to UK nationals in Spain, via its Royal Decree Law.

· The Spanish government is not waiting on anything further in order to put their no deal contingency measures into law.  The Spanish Royal Decree was passed into Spanish law on 3 April 2019.

· The chapter on citizens’ rights in the Royal Decree is comprehensive.  Some sections, such as the section on residency, do not make reference to a requirement for reciprocal treatment for Spanish nationals.  Other provisions explicitly say they are based on reciprocity, such as the measures on social security and healthcare.

· To reassure you on the point of reciprocal treatment for EU nationals in the UK, the UK already has the necessary primary and secondary legislation in place to underpin its unilateral offer.  The UK and Spanish legal systems are different.  While Spain has needed to pass a specific no deal law, the UK government has made amendments to existing laws.

DarioMartin

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:26pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:26pm

Thanks Chris - are you posting from a mobile phone perchance ....?

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:27pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:27pm

PART 3 -

For example:

o   the EU (Withdrawal Act) 2018 (primary legislation) freezes current EU law into the UK’s domestic statute book on exit day.

o   the EU Settlement Scheme is implemented under the Immigration Act 1971 through Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules.  The Spanish government is in regular contact with the UK on the progress of the scheme (90,000 Spanish nationals are already registered) and how the UK is protecting the rights of their citizens.

o   EU nationals’ continued access to the NHS is covered by the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which was passed back in March.

o   For access to education, the Education (Student fees, Awards and Support) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 was made on 28 January 2019 to ensure EU citizens living in the UK by exit day can continue to access education on the same basis as now.

o   The rights of EU nationals are therefore already provided for by UK law.

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:28pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:28pm

Dario said “are you posting from a mobile phone perchance ....?”

Si! I’m in Scotland on holiday!

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:34pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:34pm

PART 4 -

However, it is true that there are aspects of EU nationals’ and UK nationals’ rights that cannot be protected unilaterally, such as social security coordination and reciprocal healthcare – it is just not possible for one country alone to legislate to ensure that these continue.  That is why the UK is seeking either an EU-wide or bilateral arrangement with Spain to ensure there is a transitional period, until the end of 2020, when everything would stay the same, allowing for further discussions to then take place on future options for arrangements in these areas.  The UK and Spain want the same thing here and we are working hard to ensure it is finalised as soon as possible.

· The UK and Spain signed a bilateral voting rights treaty earlier this year.  I hope you’ll agree this demonstrates the importance both countries place on protecting citizens’ rights.  Just as we at the Embassy, colleagues in London and our Spanish counterparts worked hard to deliver that result, we continue to work hard to ensure all other necessary arrangements are in place for any scenario.  We’ll continue to update UK nationals living here, via social media, face-to-face events, etc, with the latest information as and when we can.  I hope that reassures you that UK nationals in Spain have certainly not been forgotten, not by us nor by our colleagues in the UK, whose work may not always be visible to those living here.

Residency registrations:

A lot of work is required to promote the essential message around the need to register as a resident. We’ll all keep plugging away…

Appointments: yes, the appointment system appears to have changed.  We have also noticed that in certain provinces only there is now the option for ‘Policia – Certificados UE (exclusivamente para el Reino Unido)’, alongside the previous option for ‘Policia – Certificados UE’.   There don’t seem to be any appointments available via the first route.  We are following up with our Spanish contacts to get clarification.  For now, however, it is possible to request an appointment via the previous ‘Policia – Certificados UE’ route, even as a UK national.

I can assure you that the Spanish government are not looking to deliberately delay the residency applications of UK nationals. They have been working very closely with us to open up appointments and encourage UK nationals to take advantage of these.  However, I appreciate that this sudden appearance of an option for UK nationals has caused some confusion.

Transition/grace period: one final point I just want to highlight is that, whilst we are strongly recommending that everyone get their residency paperwork sorted before the UK leaves the EU, anyone who is unable to do so will not suddenly become ‘illegal’ on 1st November (as some commentators suggest).  If the UK leaves with a deal, UK nationals will have the transition period (until the end of 2020) to get their paperwork in order.  In the event the UK leaves without a deal, the Spanish Royal Decree states there will be a period of grace of 21 months, during which time all UK nationals living in Spain will be considered legal residents, whether or not they are in possession of a green residency certificate. This similarly therefore gives UK nationals time to get their paperwork in order.”

* Message from Embassy ends *

DarioMartin

DarioMartin

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:35pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:35pm

chrisso50 wrote on Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:28pm:

Dario said “are you posting from a mobile phone perchance ....?”

Si! I’m in Scotland on holiday!

Ahhh - entonces, disfrutas tus vacaciones :-D

I ask because I note that if I paste something in using my phone, if I don’t add a space, or a character after the pasted information, it simply does not show in the post. I generally backspace then retype the last character and it posts ok

chrisso50

chrisso50

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Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:40pm

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Posted: Mon Aug 5, 2019 9:40pm

Thanks Dario! Will bear that in mind ... Now off to watch a parade of Coldstream Pipers 😁

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