What will happen after Brexit? After the announcement of Brexit, the usual queries and concerns are healthcare, pensions, citizenship and taxes.
Healthcare and pensions
The official line is that the UK government wishes for things to remain ‘as is’ for expats who move to Spain before the UK exits the EU.
The UK will continue to export and update the UK state pension within the EU, the EHIC card would still be available and medical care would still be arranged via the S1. Europe, it appears, wants almost exactly the same, so you would think it would be a simple process to agree and implement.
The devil is in the detail and in this case it is the jurisdiction of the European court. It’s a sticking point but the feeling is that it will be resolved.
Citizenship needs to be explained. Nobody is a citizen of Europe except by treaty which of course the UK is resigning from. Now it gets complicated and a change from what many believe and understand.
Many of us understand that while Britain allows dual nationality with Spain it is not reciprocated by Spain to the UK. However, while this is true, it is not that simple. If you choose to take Spanish citizenship then Spain does NOT require any proof that you have renounced your UK one unlike many other countries. The UK allows both so technically you can keep both passports. So, and this is a quote from the Consul, “There appears to be nothing to stop you having both passports and I have come across a good deal of British nationals living in Spain who hold both nationalities and passports”.
What does it mean in practice? Simple, if you get into trouble in Spain then it will be under Spanish law so don’t scream for the British Ambassador because nobody in authority will take any notice. You are solely under Spanish law as a Spanish citizen. Outside of Spain, technically, you could cry for help from either.
We also have it on good authority that the Spanish are thinking of removing the need for Spanish language and cultural exams to obtain citizenship in Spain for over 65’s or reduce the standard. More on this as we know more.
For those in receipt of civil service, government or local government pensions, including armed services, this is a very sore subject, especially if you don’t now have voting rights in the UK. Firstly the reciprocal agreement is between Spain and the UK, nothing to do with the EU or Brexit so it will remain unchanged.
The good news, again with an official quote from the Consul, is that “It is still the governments intention to remove the 15 year rule for voting.” For those who choose to take citizenship it would be interesting that you could then vote both in Spain and the UK!