Spain: British expats face threat of return to UK warns expert
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And Ms Adye claimed there was a conspiracy of silence on the issue, pointing out the reaction would be very different if the rights of EU citizens living in Britain were being undermined. Writing in her weekly newsletter, Ms Adye, director of Get Britain Out, said: “Despite every attempt by the EU to undermine us, the UK is pushing forward and beginning to see the benefits of Brexit, benefits shared by all who live in the UK, because we have rightly kept to our promises to protect the rights of EU citizens here in the UK.
“Yet every day we hear new stories of expats being forced to consider moving back to the UK because the EU is not keeping up their end of the deal.
“Some UK citizens are even being held overnight by Border Police in Europe for staying in countries too long – in some cases, even after they were trapped there because of COVID-19.”
She added: “If this was the UK undermining the rights of EU citizens here, you can be sure we would never hear the end of ‘racist Britain’, but instead we hear little from the press and nothing from the Government.
“It is clear the EU is not sticking to its end of the deal, so why are we acting as if everything is fine?”
Rule changes mean unregistered UK residents are only permitted to stay in the country for 90 days out of 180.
Britons living in Spain are now required to prove they have a minimum income of £2,000 per month, and even more for families.
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Sue Wilson, chair of the campaign group Bremain in Spain, last month warned thousands were at risk of deportation with the Spanish authorities poised ruthlessly to enforce post-Brexit visa rules.
Expats living in Italy, France and Spain have all warned their lives are being made difficult by overzealous local authorities.
Speaking last week, Jeremy Morgan, a member of the campaign group British in Italy, said: “Italy is keen to be on our side but is being slow to fix things.
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“We are often treated like third-country migrants from outside the EU and are asked for the number of the permesso di soggiorno document residency permit which those immigrants have.
“The problem is that we did not need to have that document when the UK was in the EU and now we can’t get it because of the withdrawal agreement.”
Mr Morgan, a former QC, added: “People have been stopped by police who demand to see their permesso di soggiorno, which they don’t have.
“A British man in Puglia was told by an employer that his contract could not be renewed because the labour ministry’s computer would not accept his application without a document number.
“The British embassy has been working with the Italian government to increase awareness of our rights but it has been slow going.”
Spain has likewise been accused of exploiting Brexit red tape to make life difficult for the 360,000 Brits who live there.
UK driving licences are no longer valid indefinitely – meaning people must take a test in Spanish.
Boris Johnson’s Government earlier this month paid an extra £1million into a fund offering help and support for UK expats who are struggling to cope with rule changes that have come into force after Brexit.
The extra cash – which comes on top of £3 million already allocated by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) earlier this year – will go towards providing practical support for UK nationals living in the EU.
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