BRITS living in the EU without permanent residence face deportation today as new Brexit rules kick in.
Some UK nationals have called living within the bloc a “hostile environment” after the UK voted to leave European Union.
Brits who intend to continue living in an EU country should have already applied for permanent residence – and should have been supplied with new documentation to show at border checkpoints.
For everyone else, there is a 90-day limit on staying within a six month period – and because today is 90 days since the UK left the EU, it’s time to leave.
However, according to some Brits, the transition has not been smooth.
An expat group called British in Italy claims UK nationals have been left without healthcare, driving licenses and some have even lost their jobs because of the rule changes.
The group claims Brits are now faced with a “hostile environment in Italy, where lives have been brought to a standstill.”
Government officials in Italy previously announced a new electronic document which Brits will use to prove their residency status.
However, according to the group, some residents have been told it will take months to receive the digital card despite them applying for it last year.
Brits claim they have had trouble renewing their healthcare cards because they do not have the digital doc.
Others claim they have lost their jobs due to the Brexit rule changes.
Paul, a service engineer in Puglia, says he was sacked from his fixed-term contract, reports the Local.
He said: “I suddenly found myself without a job because the system for registering contracts does not recognise my Withdrawal Agreement rights and I am being treated like a newly arrived third-country immigrant.
“I have a family to support, but cannot work due to a systemic issue. I am very angry and frustrated by this.”
The expat group claims UK nationals are running into problems because “the computer demands” the number of the digital card “which does not yet exist.”
And in Spain, Brit expats have told how they are packing their bags and quitting over fears they face deportation.
The news comes amid unconfirmed reports the police in the Costas are planning to deport those caught “living under the radar.”
Yet, the UK government says it has spoken to its counterparts in Spain who insist those claims are baseless and say those who are turned down for residency will still have the right of appeal.
And the Foreign Office says the rights of UK nationals to continue living, working and studying in Spain are protected by law with only a small fraction impacted by the rule changes.
Brits most at risk are those who have dodged paying taxes during their new life abroad.
If a Brit wishes to forgo legal registration – or is rejected – they must leave Spain by TODAY or risk being seen as an illegal immigrant.
Shaun Cromber, who until the rule changes lived in Spain, told Global247News: “Yes I voted out, but I didn’t realise it would come to this, my application has been rejected and we are on our way home.
“The wife is in tears, she’s distraught if I’m honest and I’m not too happy at the prospect of returning back to the UK.
“I’ve loved living on the Costa del Sol and after five years…we applied but got rejected and so have no choice, although long term I think the Spanish will regret chucking us out of Spain.”
One of those who had – until now – enjoyed his new life in the sun was Anthony Cook.
He said: “The Spanish dream is over for me, it’s time to go back to Cardiff, it’s been a blast but the new regulations have made it impossible to stay.
“I don’t have enough credentials to become a resident, it was so easy before, get your funds in from the UK, do a bit of cash in hand around the likes of Benidorm and bob was your uncle, but that’s all changed now.
“Anyway, it’s time to head home, the freedom of movement has gone, and I don’t want to end up getting deported and fined.”
John Shiers, who has lived in Spain for more than two years, was one of those that missed the deadline to apply for residency.
“It was naivety on my behalf,” he told ITV News. “I didn’t put mine in until just after [the deadline]. And then it has been knocked back, shall we say.”
He is appealing against the decision but should that not succeed, he will have to leave the country.
He says he is one of thousands of other Brits in the same dire position.
Spain has been rolling out a new system to register permanent foreign residents with biometric cards called TIE but it’s suffering a backlog due to the high number of requests.
Around 300,000 British citizens are registered as permanent residents in Spain.
However, before Brexit, many more had been living full or part-time in the country without officially registering.
To be able to live in Spain now, you will need to show proof that you’re earning, either through having a contract with a Spanish company, or by proving that you have at least £2,000 a month coming into your account.
For a family, it will be much more. You will need to show that you have an extra £500 a month for each member of the family.
For example, a family of four will need to prove they earn a yearly salary of at least £42,000.