All posts by Daniel Tetlow

UPDATE ON UK CITIZEN STATUS IN GERMANY DEAL OR NO DEAL

First and foremost, the German government has been emphatic in their assurance that post Brexit, UK nationals will be allowed to carry on living and working here in both deal and no deal scenarios.
Who spoke, when and where?  (video link below)
Jane Golding

An Information Evening was held in Berlin on 18th December, hosted by the British Embassy and addressed by Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador, Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe and Chair of British in Germany, Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde), and Christoph Wolfrum, EU Policy and Strategy Unit of the Federal German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). Christoph Wolfrum explained how the German government is preparing for both deal and no deal scenarios.

Deal Scenario:
Engelhard Mazanke

In the case of a deal and ratification of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, Germany plans to have an application or constitutive system.  This means that British citizens will need to apply for the relevant status, subject to the conditions and provisions set out in the Withdrawal agreement. However, during the transition period planned to last until at least 31 December 2020 our status (other than voting rights) will remain as it is now. That’s all dependent on some form of Withdrawal agreement being agreed.

No Deal Scenario:
Sir Sebastian Wood

Following on from the European Commission´s Contingency Action Plan published on 13 November, the German government is now starting to put its no-deal plan together. Part of that is to introduce measures to ensure UK nationals in Germany can continue to live and work here legally after 29 March 2019. Mr. Wolfrum explained that, in the case of no deal, a ministerial decree would be adopted and British citizens would have a three month transition period post March 2019 during which they would be exempt from needing whichever new status would ultimately apply to UK citizens in Germany. UK citizens would need to apply for the new status with applications to be processed by end 2019 latest – it is not yet clear what that would be but it would be a third country national status, given Brexit is taking us out of the EU.

What Berlin has said:
Christoph Wolfrum

Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office, set out what process the State of Berlin is planning for UK nationals resident in Berlin in case of a no-deal. In January 2019 his office will be launching an online system to provide for voluntary “registration” on the Ausländerbehörde website.  Based on that registration the Ausländerbehörde will then issue a certificate confirming that the individuals were resident in Berlin before March 2019. 

What is British in Germany doing now?

The British in Germany team is currently seeking clarification on a number of questions raised by the Berlin proposals, as well as the proposals outlined by the Auswärtiges Amt. The proposals on the process described above only apply to Berlin but we are also seeking information on what other Länder are planning.  In addition, British in Europe/British in Germany together with the3million, have already requested meetings with both the Brexit team in the Auswärtiges Amt and the office of Heiko Maas (Foreign Minister) for early January in anticipation of more public information about Germany’s plans and we have been informed that both offices will propose dates shortly.  More information on this website as soon as we have it.

Video link to the event:

Here´s the video link with all the speeches given that evening. Jane Golding speaks from 27:10. Mr Wolfrum from the German Foreign Ministry (which has a steering role in the Brexit process in Germany) starts speaking at 19:09 and Mr Mazanke, Head of the Foreigners´ Office of Berlin, speaks from 39:00 onwards.

We will continue to work for the rights of UK citizens living in Germany and do all we can to keep you across the changes that will affect our lives in the coming months and years.

Please, if you are able, support our work here, or consider giving membership to BiG as a Christmas gift at this critical moment in all our lives.

Best wishes and a very Happy Christmas.

British in Germany. e.V.

 

BiG’s Nationwide ‘Stammtische’ Event off to a flying start

As part of British in Germany’s first nationwide Stammtisch, UK nationals met in around 20 different locations (see below for list) on Wednesday, 12 December. While the date was chosen specifically to follow the meaningful vote in Parliament, a last-minute postponement brought about a shift in focus. Fortunately – or rather unfortunately – UK politics is the gift that keeps on giving and one vote was quickly replaced for another (a no confidence vote in Theresa May by the Conservatives). Certainly there was no shortage of news to talk about, but most of it was very unsettling!

Frankfurt Stammtisch

Whether the groups consisted of five or thirty people, conversation flowed as easily as the local beer. Participants were keen to discuss the scenarios that could unfold in the coming weeks, though nobody was brave enough to place bets. Although two of the Bavarian Stammtische did envisage a last-minute intervention by the Queen!

In Frankfurt there was a shared feeling of resignation and concern that the plight of citizens was being swept under the carpet in what is perceived to be a game of political poker. A number of other groups expressed fears for peace and economic stability in Europe in the light of Brexit.

Aside from the uncertainties of deal or no deal, attention focused on practical issues and what UK nationals can do to safeguard their positions now. The no-deal checklist provided by British in Germany e.V. prompted some to set off the next day to exchange their UK driving licences for a German one and others to file their German citizenship application.

Stuttgart Stammtisch

Questions were raised about UK bank accounts and securing favourable exchange rates, participants using the Stammtische to share their experiences with alternative mobile banking apps. In Ottobrunn, David Hole talked about the introduction of registration requirements for Brits in Germany post Brexit: “UK nationals will be required to register in some manner; the exact process and deadlines are yet to be announced.”

A Bavarian official, who was also invited along to Ottobrunn, concurred and assured us that this process would be kept as simple as possible. Issues relating to dual citizenship applications were also raised – and some wanted to know how to challenge negative decisions.

Towards the end of the evening the result of the confidence vote in Theresa May came through – one more twist in this ongoing saga. What´s the next going to be? On the whole, however, Brits in Germany overall appear to have faith in the German authorities to do the right thing by the UK nationals living here. But until the road ahead is clear, British in Germany e.V. will be monitoring further developments closely, to be discussed at the next round of Stammtisch gatherings in the New Year.

German TV and radio showed a keen interest in this nationwide Stammtisch initiative. The TV channel ZDF interviewed the group in Düsseldorf, and Fritzradio did a report on the group in Berlin.

Click here to watch ZDF TV Report

British in Germany would like to thank all volunteers who played a pivotal role in making the first nationwide Stammtisch a resounding success. We encourage you to look out for more information on the next Stammtische near to you, for example in Bamberg, Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Eberstadt, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Mainz, Miesbach, Munich, Ottobrunn, Nuremberg, Potsdam, Stuttgart, Trier.

Many thanks goes to the BiG Events team for organising the nationwide event:  Amanda Diel, Ingrid Taylor and Connie Simms. 

If you would like to set up a Stammtisch in your area or join in this next nationwide Stammtisch movement, please feel free to contact us at info@britishingermany.org.

 

Stammtisch were held in the following locations:

Bamberg
Fässla Keller
Moosstraße 32, 96050 Bamberg, Germany
19:30

Berlin
Brewdog Berlin Mitte
Ackerstraße 29, 10115 Berlin
19:30
* Due to a limited amount of places, please RSVP to this event by email by Sunday at 5PM if you wish to attend.

Bremen
Loft Bremen
Bahnhofsplatz 5-7, 28195 Bremen, Germany
19:30

Cologne
The Corkonian Irish Pub
Altermarkt 51, 50667 Cologne, Germany
19:00

Düsseldorf
Motel One Düsseldorf – Hauptbahnhof
Immermannstraße 54, 40210 Düsseldorf, Germany
20:00

Frankfurt
The Fox and Hound
Niedenau Str 2, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany
19:00

Hamburg
Weihnachtsmarkt am Gänsemarkt
Gänsemarkt, 20354 Hamburg, Germany
19:00

Heidelberg
Infoabend on the 13th of December
Stadtbücherei Heidelberg
Poststraße 15, 69115 Heidelberg
18:00

Leipzig
Restaurant Andria
Nikolaistraße 22, 04109 Leipzig
19:00 (if you can arrive at least 10 mins early to allow numbers to be gauged that would be useful)

Magdeburg
Café Central Magdeburg
Sternstraße 30, 39104, Magdeburg, Germany
19:00

Mainz
Me and all Hotels
Binger Straße 23, 55131
19:00

Miesbach
Schützenwirt Miesbach
Am Windfeld 23, 83714 Miesbach
19:00

Munich (2 Stammtische)
1. Ayinger Ottobrunn – Das Wirtshaus am Rathausplatz
Rathausplatz 2, 85521 Ottobrunn
19:00

2. Gaststätte Rumpler
Baumstraße 21, 80469 München
19:30

Nuremberg
Adina Apartment Hotel
Dr Kurt Schumacher Str 1-7, 90402 Nürnberg
19:00

Seeheim – Jugenheim
Das Laternchen
Bergstraße 19, 64342
20:00
* On the 11th of December not the 12th!

Stuttgart
Christmas Drinks Gathering on the 13th of December
Academie der Schönen Künste
Charlottenstraße 5, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany
19:00

Wittlich
Der Italiener da Marco Alt
Kurfürstenstr. 47, 54516 Wittlich
19:00

BiG welcome to new Erasmus trainees

Connie Simms and Adam Takar have arrived in Berlin to step into the large shoes of Emma Corris who’s been the BiG Erasmus trainee since April 2018.   Big thanks goes to Emma for such tireless, committed work taking BiG to new heights this year.  She returns to complete her fourth and final year in German and French at Oxford University. Connie and Adam come from the same Erasmus university scheme as Emma.  They had a useful week’s handover with Emma at the beginning of September starting off with the infamous ‘Don’t Go Brexit My Heart’ Party and Infoabend in Berlin on 31st August.  See Adam’s first article on the night here.

Welcome to BiG Adam and Connie and we’re looking forward to getting stuck in with all the challenges and the unknowns of the coming months up to March 2019.

Embassy BREXIT Open Eve 13 Feb

Click here to view the full speeches

from left to right: Jane Golding: Chair of British in Germany and British in Europe, Ulf Landgraf-Wölfelschneider: Berlin Senate, HMA Sir Sebastian Wood, Simon Wells: Head of Communications and Bilateral Relations British Embassy Berlin.

On the 13th of February 2018, around 350 Brits met at the British Embassy in Berlin to discuss their fate in the face of Brexit.  British in Germany and the British Ambassador hosted the evening, allowing an open discussion on the future status of UK nationals living in Germany. The British Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood opened the evening emphasising the importance of securing citizens’ rights followed by the Chair of British in Germany and British in Europe, Jane Golding, who mapped out the many citizens’ issues that remain unresolved.

British Forces in Germany/BiG launch 23 Feb

British in Germany launched their first British in Germany/British Forces Germany Paderborn meeting on Friday night 23rd February in Elsen, Padernborn, North Rheinnwestphalia.
Mr Roy McIntosh, a military man himself, made a sterling effort organising the launch: 51 serving and retired military and their families turned up to discuss the issues they are facing with Brexit and a Q&A video link was set up with Daniel Tetlow, co-founder of British in Germany.
The majority of those that attended intend to stay in Germany post Brexit and they discussed issues some of which are particular to British military serving in Germany as well as pensions, future German residency and dual citizenship.
The group decided to set up a BiG BFG Paderborn group, communicate via Whatsapp and Roy McIntosh will be announcing the next BiG Paderborn meeting in the next few days.
If you would like more information or would like to support Roy McIntosh in the organsation of BiG Paderborn, please contact him at big_paderborn(at)roy-mcintosh.de

Facts and Figures

HOW MANY BRITS LIVE IN GERMANY?

In 2017 the Destatis figures commissioned by the German Statistics Office reported there to be around 116,470 registered Brits living in Germany.   The latest published Destatis 2017 figures may have changed considerably in the last year due to the increased number of Brits moving to the EU since the Brexit referendum.

WHAT’S THE BREAK DOWN BY FEDERAL STATE?

The Statistisches Bundesamt, Destatis in 2017 reported Berlin for the first time to have more Brits than Nordrhein-Westfalen.   26, 840 was the number of Brits recorded as registered in Berlin, compared to 25.125 in Nordrhein-Westfalen.  For the full break down by Federal State click here.  

HOW MANY BRITS LIVE IN EUROPE?

There are around 1.24 million Brits living in Europe according to the latest 2015 UN global migration database figures in agreement with Fullfact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity.  (who probably got their figures from the UN report)

Previous figures from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in 2006, put it around 2.1 million.

WHY DO THE FIGURES VARY?

Evidently, the figures are not completely accurate as requirements for registration vary across nation states, some people live part time in one country and part time back in the UK and some do not register with their local authorities.

HOW MANY BRITS IN EUROPE ARE PENSIONERS?

Of the 1.24 million Brits in Europe, British in Europe estimate that around 200 – 250,000 are retired.  So no more than 20%.   The rest being of working age. There is a common misconception that the majority of Brits in Europe are retired.   That’s simply not the case. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pays out 490,869 British pensions a year according to the latest Sept 2016 from Stat-Xplore operated by the DWP.  It’s important to remember that a considerable number of these pensions will be received by non-British EU nationals who have gained a British pension by working in the UK and since left for retirement.   Therefore that 490,869 figure is significantly reduced.  According to Eurostat data from 2011, 79% of British pensions sent to Ireland are given to Irish citizens whereas 89% of British pensions sent to Spain are given to British citizens.   Evidently the numbers of Brits at pension age in different countries varies considerably.

HOW MANY BRITS LIVE ABROAD AND WHERE?

Fullfact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity,  in their ‘Brits Abroad’ report estimated that 5.5 million British people live permanently abroad – almost one in 10 of the UK population.  They estimate that 1.24 million Brits live in the EU which is broken down as follows:

Spain had the most British citizens living in Europe at 310,000
The Republic of Ireland at 250,000
France at 190,000
Germany is around 107,000
Italy at 26,000

As we’ve said figures vary somewhat between different data collecting and monitoring organisations but the proportion of Brits in different countries in the EU remain roughly the same.

Where has Dec agreement left us?

This is a quick (and non-exhaustive) general summary of the state of play from British in Europe after the phase 1 agreement on citizens’ rights. It’s a mixture of good news, bad news and unfinished business, the balance of which is different for each of us, depending on the particular situation that we are in.

The unfinished business, such as whether we have free movement across the EU 27, will be discussed in the second phase. Our concern is that this could get lost in the mass of issues now to be discussed such as airline slots. And until the final agreement is signed, none is this is set in stone although it is unlikely that what has been agreed so far will be changed.

Added to the mix, the European Council agreed today that it was prepared to negotiate a transition period of two years with the UK. If negotiated, it would delay implementation of the agreement, including on citizens’ rights. Depending on what is negotiated, it would probably mean that our rights to live and work in the EU won’t change substantially from what they are now during that period.

The good:

If you are ‘legally resident’ at Brexit you can stay – but in some countries you may have to make an application to secure this (see OPTION 2 below and our concerns about this).

The current conditions under EU law will apply. For the first 3 months there are no conditions. After 3 months you have to be working/self-employed, self-sufficient, a student or a family member of any such person. People who are self-sufficient or students have to have health insurance (for pensioners or others who hold one, the S1 form is sufficient). After 5 years these conditions fall away and you will either be entitled to ‘permanent residence’ or may have to apply to secure it. The 5 years can include years both before and after Brexit.

If you have acquired permanent residence, you can be away from your host country for 5 years and still retain the right to return and keep your rights of permanent residence.

If you are a ‘frontier worker’ – living in one country and working in one or more other countries at Brexit – you will still have the right to work in each country.

Reciprocal healthcare is agreed; if you have an S1 from the UK or will get one when you retire you’ll still have your healthcare funded by the UK.

UK pensions will be uprated in accordance with inflation and aggregation of social security contributions including pensions is agreed, both before and after Brexit day.

There is some agreement on recognition of professional qualifications – if you have an individual recognition decision re. your qualification including through automatic recognition eg. doctors, architects, your qualification will continue to be recognised but only in the country where the decision was issued.

Certain close family members (spouse, partner, direct ascendants/descendants who are dependant on you) will be able to join you if your rights are protected under the withdrawal agreement. This will apply for the whole of your lifetime. If you have children after Brexit day they also are protected under the withdrawal agreement if you and the other parent are also protected or a national of the country you live in .

What hasn’t been included:

Continuing freedom of movement – i.e. the ability to move, reside and work in EU27 countries other than our country of residence/frontier working –and this is still be discussed in the second phase. If the final withdrawal agreement does not include a right of free movement across the EU 27 for UK citizens in the EU, there is various EU legislation dealing with rights of non-EU citizens to move within the EU. How this might apply to UK citizens in the EU would have to be agreed but it is fair to say that it doesn’t offer the same free movement rights as we have now as EU citizens.

Some professional qualifications e.g. lawyers practising under their own titles and EU-wide licences and certificates are not covered, and recognition outside the country of recognition/residence across the EU 27 is still to be discussed.

Territorial scope of economic rights, e.g. secondary establishment and cross-border provision of services has not been agreed yet nor have rights of posted workers.

The right to be joined by a future spouse or partner – i.e. one that you weren’t in a relationship with on Brexit day.

Ring-fencing of the agreement so far.

So should you be happy?

If you’re happily settled in your host country, work solely there or are retired, have no wish or need to move to or work or study in another EU country, fulfil all the requirements for exercising treaty rights and don’t rely on professional qualifications, then your rights should be covered. But …

How your rights will be confirmed:

EU27 countries will have two options:

OPTION 1: They can adopt what’s called a declaratory system, in line with current EU law, which mirrors what happens now and simply confirms the rights that we already hold, whether as permanent residents (5 years or more) or temporary residents (less than 5 years).

OPTION 2: They can adopt a constitutive system. Under this, we would have to APPLY for a new status; the application process would include checks on whether people had been exercising treaty rights, as well as criminality checks. This is the equivalent of the UK proposal for EU citizens of ‘settled status’; the concept of reciprocity has led to this being an option for each EU27 country if they wish to adopt it.

Why British in Europe thinks there is still a long way to go

One of British in Europe’s major objections to the agreement concerns OPTION 2 because (i) this means we will have to apply for a new status instead of having our existing rights confirmed (ii) some people will struggle to find the proof that they meet the statutory requirements of ‘legal residence’ and (iii) bureaucracies can make mistakes.

Another is the fact that continuing freedom of movement isn’t included. This is a big deal for many people whose livelihood depends on being able to work in an EU country other than their country of residence and who don’t fall under the definition of a frontier worker. This particularly effects cross-border workers, especially the self-employed. It also matters to our children, who would find their rights to study elsewhere in the EU27 curtailed without it.

And it has a big knock-on effect for the territorial scope of professional qualifications and economic rights (e.g. to run a business), which currently would only apply in your host country.
We will be pursuing a strong advocacy campaign on all these issues in months to come to ensure that outstanding issues don’t fall off the table and are included in the withdrawal agreement. ​