Brexit chaos: Johnson’s cabinet ‘singled out own citizens in EU for harsher treatment’

Brexit: British expats in Spain share their thoughts on leaving EU

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been praised for getting a last-minute trade agreement with the EU which finally carried out the result of the 2016 referendum. The end of freedom of movement was one of the core policies within the pro-Brexit campaign and with the UK’s new Immigration Act, Britain has taken back control of its borders and introduced a new points-based system. However, some expats living across the EU have complained that the new Brexit arrangements have left them essentially locked out of the UK.

When the transition period ended at the end of 2020, British citizens living in the EU needed to apply for residence status in their host country by June 30, 2021.

Britons who were living in the bloc can return to the UK with family members who do not have British citizenship, if the relationship started prior to January 31, 2020.

Yet, they will have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before March 31, 2022 — leaving many expats in a sticky situation and having to make a significant decision within the next year.

An expat living in Italy, Jessca Frizell, claimed: “It will place a lot of people before an impossible choice.

“I built my life on my EU rights.

“The face that I may not now be able to go back with my family is … a shock.”

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Britons with a non-British partner will need to earn £18,600 per year to come back to the UK — this salary increases if a UK citizen wants to bring back non-British children.

The partner will also have to meet the new points-based system’s quota if they want to work in the UK upon arrival.

Lobbyist from British in Europe, Fiona Godfrey, told The Guardian that up to 40 percent of Britons in the EU may fear they do not meet the income requirements while a majority will not have partners who have occupations on the Home Office list.

She explained: “it’s just a massive change.

“It basically asks people to decide now, in the next 15 months, whether they want to change their whole lives.

“For many, it’s asking them to choose between elderly parents in Britain and partners and children in the EU.

“It’s a terrible choice, and it’s really not one that any civilised government should be asking its citizens to make.”

She was campaigning for those in the EU on December 31, especially those unlikely to return to the UK, to keep their rights as when Britain was in the bloc.

The Immigration Act which came into law in November also appears to discriminate against Britons abroad compared to EU citizens in the UK, according to the lobbyist.

Ms Godfrey said: “The Government seems to have singled out its own citizens for harsher treatment.

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“It’s extraordinary, really: why would you hurt your own people for exercising rights that you granted them?”

British in Europe recently found approximately 79 percent of its members would like the option of being able to return to the UK later, although just 10 percent want to come back to the UK now.

Britons can travel to the EU for 90 days without a visa within an 180-day period, but for some expats this has curtailed their plans especially if they have a second home in the bloc.

The right to live and work in the EU has also ceased, and Britons will have to apply to that particular country’s immigration rules.

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The Government has told those in the EU to make sure their passports are still valid — it must not expire for at least six month after the end of their trip.

Expats must also register with local authorities and exchange their driving licence, as many EU states only recognise foreign licences for up to six months, and have to apply for a car insurance green card.

Those moving to the EU now the transition period is over can still claim their state pension from the UK, and it will be increased each year in line with the rate paid in Britain.

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