British Ambassador Met With Representatives of UK Nationals
The new British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Hugh Elliott, met with members of three of the groups representing UK nationals in Spain: Bremain in Spain, Brexpats Hear our Voice and EuroCitizens. They discussed the issues affecting the more than 300,000 British citizens who have made Spain their home.
HMA Hugh Elliott said “Protecting the rights of UK nationals in the EU is an absolute priority for the UK Government. That’s why it was so important for me to meet some of the groups that represent UK nationals during my first official week as British Ambassador to Spain. We have had frank conversations and I have learned a lot about what matters to our citizens living here and how people feel. My team and I will continue to work hard to address any outstanding issues.
I welcome what Spain has done to protect UK nationals here, including through the Royal Decree. It is important citizens take action to ensure that they can access the rights laid out in that decree:
- Registering for residency.
- Checking that they are covered for healthcare.
- Checking their passport is valid for travel.
- Exchanging their UK driving licence for a local one.
Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain said “It was a pleasure to meet the Ambassador and his staff and to discuss ongoing collaboration in the best interests of our members. We are encouraged by the depth of understanding of the issues we face and of the anxiety caused by the ongoing political situation. Clearly there is a willingness and determination to provide much-needed guidance and information and I look forward to working together further to achieve those aims.”
Debbie Williams, Founder, Brexpats Hear our Voice said “I was delighted to meet Mr and Mrs Elliott, Mr Milen and the consular team. The meeting was insightful, friendly, frank and open. We discussed our ongoing concerns and I look forward to further communications, working together to help and support British Citizens living in Spain.”
Michael Harris, President of EuroCitizens said “EuroCitizens’ members remain concerned about the reciprocity clauses in the no-deal contingency plans of the Spanish Royal Decree 5/2019. We emphasised to the Ambassador that the treatment of Spanish citizens in the UK could invalidate protection for UK citizens in Spain. We have presented a summary of the status of our rights in different Brexit scenarios, including losses implied by third country national status and we look forward to hearing from the Ambassador on how the rights of British citizens in Spain will be safeguarded after Brexit.”
We urge all UK nationals living in Spain to ensure they are correctly registered and to stay up to date with the latest news by signing up for email alerts and visiting the Living in Spain guide on gov.uk and following our Brits in Spain Facebook channel.
Get Ready for Brexit – Prepare for Brexit at gov.uk/brexit
Uprating Guarantee for UK State Pension Recipients Living in Spain
The UK government has announced that it will continue to uprate the UK State Pension paid to people living in the EU each year for the next 3 years.
The UK State Pension has already been uprated in the EU for the year April 2019 to March 2020. The government has now committed to uprating the UK State Pension paid to those living in the EU each year until March 2023, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The government plans to negotiate an agreement with the EU to make sure UK State Pensions for those living in the EU will continue to be uprated in the longer term.
The UK basic and new State Pension is uprated by either 2.5%, average wage growth or by prices growth as measured by the Consumer Price Index – whichever is highest.
There is no need for individuals to take any action unless your circumstances change between now and 31st October, in which case you should contact the office that pays your pension/benefit to let them know. Information on pensions can be found at www.gov.uk/brexit-pensions
British Consul Sarah-Jane Morris said “From the many outreach events that we have held across Spain and the Facebook live sessions that we’ve done for UK nationals, we know that the uprating of pensions is an issue of great concern to many people living here, so I hope that the news will provide reassurance that their pensions will continue to rise.”
UK Government Announces £3 Million Grant to Help UK Nationals in the EU Prepare for Brexit
UK nationals who may struggle to complete their residency applications will be helped by measures announced by the UK Government. Up to £3 million is being provided for organisations who will inform UK nationals who live in EU member states including Spain, about the need to register as resident and support them as they complete their applications. The Government wants to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork – focusing in particular on pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas or with mobility difficulties and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.
Organisations working with people who might be affected and who might require additional support can apply for project funding from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at gov.uk/fco. The fund’s programme team, based in London, will be running a series of webinars to provide bidders with a fuller understanding of the fund and an opportunity to ask questions on the bidding process.
Interested organisations can find further detail at
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/3-million-grant-to-help-uk-nationals-in-eu-for-brexit. They can also contact their nearest consulate for an initial conversation.
Individuals wanting to access support with their residency applications will be able to contact those organisations who are successful in their bid, once the funding has been awarded. We will provide details of the providers for Spain in due course. Meanwhile, UK nationals living in Spain should continue to prioritise registering as a resident by 31st October.
Advice on residency for UK nationals living in Spain can be found at