Britons face deadline to retain rights in five EU countries | Brexit
Tens of thousands of UK nationals in five EU member states, including France and the Netherlands, have yet to apply for residency after Brexit and risk losing their right to live and work there. unless they file their application within 30 days.
“There is only a month until a difficult deadline, after which many people could lose their rights,” said Michaela Benson, professor of public sociology at Lancaster University, who specializes in studying British residents in the ‘EU.
“We urgently need more communication – from the UK, EU and Member States – to get in touch, especially with vulnerable and hard-to-reach UK citizens who are at risk of moving to side of a vital cut-off point. “
Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, UK citizens who were legally resident in one of the 27 EU member states at the end of the transition period on December 31 are eligible for permanent residence, thus protecting their fundamental rights .
Fourteen countries, including Spain, Germany, Portugal and Italy, have opted for systems that automatically grant a new post-Brexit residence status to legally resident Britons, without the risk of losing their rights if they are exceeded. administrative delay.
The remaining 13, however, operate systems in which UK nationals must formally apply for their new residency status. Five of them – France, the Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg and Latvia – have set a June 30 deadline to do so.
Benson said those at risk of “pulling through the gaps” were often the most vulnerable. “Those who stayed off the radar for whatever reason – maybe because they couldn’t prove they were legally resident when they had to,” she said.
“The ones to worry about are the ones who are just scratching, maybe in remote areas. They are unlikely to manifest on their own. There will also be homeless Brits, sick Brits, British children in care.
According to the EU / UK Joint Committee on Citizens’ Rights, whose last report, dated April 28, was out on friday, around 298,000 Britons live in the 13 countries with so-called constituent systems. Only 190,000 applied for their new status.
In the five countries with a deadline of end-June, 25,500 of the 148,000 estimated UK residents in France have not yet registered, according to the most recent data, as have 8,300 of the 45,000 estimated residents in the Netherlands.
Almost 800 have yet to apply in Latvia, 1,700 in Luxembourg and 5,300 in Malta, as well as 12,000 in Finland and Sweden, which have deadlines of 30 September. The deadline in Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Hungary and Slovenia is December 31.
Benson said the numbers were approximate, as most were based on data from 2018 and some EU states, such as France, had never required EU residents to register with authorities in order to qualify for utilities, and may therefore have significantly underestimated.
“This means that it may well have a lot more UK residents than he imagines, just as the UK had a lot more EU residents than he thought,” she said. declared. “It’s also much harder to reach them than in places like the Netherlands with up-to-date records.”
According to the EU’s post-Brexit guidance, “failure to apply on time … may result in the loss of any right under the Withdrawal Agreement” in countries with constituent systems, including the right to continue to live there.
According to the committee’s report, around 762,000 UK citizens live in EU countries with automatic – or ‘declaratory’ – systems of post-Brexit residence status, and nearly 165,000 have registered to date.
Several of these 14 countries also have deadlines for UK residents to register for their new status, but those who do not face a fine rather than the loss of their rights.