The British and their EU partners have warned of future problems returning to the UK

The British and their EU partners have warned of future

For some, this is the reason they moved abroad, while others simply met a beautiful local in their new home and fell in love.

Either way, of the estimated 1.2 million Britons living in EU countries, a significant number have met and settled with partners from the country they live in or of another nationality. not British.

While most Britons living abroad have been successful in securing their residency rights since Brexit, they could face a whole different set of issues if they ever wish to return to the UK and take their spouse or partner with them. partner with them.

Under the rules agreed in the Brexit negotiations, the British can return to the UK without their European partners needing expensive visas as long as they do so before March 29 next year.

But despite assurances from the British government, the citizens’ rights campaign group British in Europe warns that it is already seeing problems with the system, although the deadline is still six months away.

When I got on the ferry to Dover in September 1995 with my new German husband to move to Luxembourg, I thought I was exercising my free movement rights from the EU. I didn’t know I was going into exile because I fell in love with a non-Brit #BrokenUKPromises

– Fiona Godfrey 🇱🇺 🇬🇧 (@fjgodfrey) 23 Aug 2021

The system

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, EU nationals wishing to settle in the UK have faced a difficult immigration process which has strict requirements, including a minimum level of English and financial requirements.

Merely being married or in a civil partnership with a UK national does not remove these obligations.

What is in place, however, is an extended grace period during which UK nationals who moved abroad before Brexit can return to their home country and bring their EU spouse with them, provided they do so before March 2022.

The problems

This system was not ideal and left people with difficult choices. Even returning for a relatively short period of time, for example to care for an elderly relative in the UK, can leave people with a choice between their partner and their family.

Others may not have plans to return to the UK immediately, but may have seen it as a long-term option – they must now either return before March 2022 or do so. faced with the prospect that a return to the future might not be impossible.

However, Britons in Europe are now warning that even the system put in place to process claims during the post-Brexit grace period is not working as it should.

EU nationals who move to the UK as a spouse of a Briton have until March 29, 2022 to apply for settlement status.

However, before they can apply, they must obtain a new European family permit from the Home Office in the UK.

And the British in Europe warn that the Home Office is refusing some of these applications, often for apparently fragile or technical reasons.

Olivia, 7 months pregnant, must return to take care of her sick father, but her husband’s visa has been refused. Does she stay with her OH or go back to her dad? Stress imposed on the whole family is bad for everyone’s health.

– Brits in Europe (@BritishInEurope) 23 Aug 2021

Appealing against this can be a lengthy process, leaving some people who have already applied worried about missing the March deadline.

Other families are living in limbo as visa processing takes months when they have been told it will take weeks. They fear that they will not meet deadlines, for example for schools, not to find temporary jobs and to run out of money while they wait.

– Brits in Europe (@BritishInEurope) 23 Aug 2021

British in Europe Co-Chair Jane Golding said: “We are concerned that there are many families across the EU who do not understand the implications of the strict immigration rules that now apply to British citizens in the EU. the EU.

“Many of us have older parents in the UK who may need our care, or we had always planned to retire in the UK to be close to family.

“The grace period granted until the end of March 2022 is simply not long enough for families to make the decision to uproot themselves and then arrange to return to the UK. We continue to press for a longer grace period.

‘Families considering moving should now be aware that the process is long and complex and that non-UK family members will first need to apply for a family permit with EU settlement status outside the UK before the end of March 2022, and only when they have that and move to the UK will they be able to apply for pre-established status in the EU. “

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