People power: Spaniards surviving Brexit launches in UK

A FACEBOOK group has been set up in the UK for Spaniards living in the country to share their Brexit stories, hopes and fears. Named ‘Espanoles en Reino Unido – Surviving Brexit’ it boasts almost 1,000 members who are demanding better diplomatic support from the Spanish government. 

Millions of EU citizens living and working in the UK are anxious over their precise legal status once Britain’s divorce from the union is final. A complex web of details will be taken into account in granting permanent residence but nobody is clear as to what they are. 

The group has attended meetings organised by the Spanish embassy in London and includes people who have lived in the UK for over 20 years, own property and are married to British citizens. 

In many ways it is a parallel to the similar groups set up in their home country such as Brexpats in Spain. In the absence of real leadership and basic information, people are taking matters into their own hands. 

Last week the complexity of British bureaucracy for EU citizens was laid bare when a Dutch woman with a British husband and two British children was told to leave the country after applying for citizenship. 

Monique Hawkins is a software engineer who has lived in the UK for 24 years. She decided to become a citizen to avoid post-Brexit airport immigration queues but was rejected for being unable to supply her original Dutch passport – which she needed to travel home following her father’s death.

After being told to leave the country she tried contacting the Home Office only to be informed that she was not allowed to personally discuss her case with the government. Fortunately her local MP stepped in to resolve the mess. 

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