Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights post-Brexit.
Since this report was first published an interview with several attendees has appeared on German TV and can be seen with english subtitles on YouTube:
And Deutsche Welle also produced a report on the effect of Brexit on British Nationals in Hamburg.
The original report follows:
On the evening of 22 January 2019, the British Embassy, along with the British Honorary Consul for Hamburg, Nicholas Teller, hosted an information evening for British citizens in Hamburg. The event was held at the Anglican Church of St Thomas Becket, thanks to Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel and was very well attended with 220 people filling all available seats.
On the panel were Nicholas Teller, Rachel King and Prisca Merz from the British Embassy in Berlin, Ellie Sellwood representative from British in Germany, Beate Wolk from the Einwohner Zentralamt Hamburg and Christiane Lex-Asuagbor, Head of the Rechtsabteilung.
The event kicked off with a welcoming speech from Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel and Nicholas Teller. Then there were individual speeches on the topic of Brexit and what Brits can do to prepare from Rachel King, Ellie Sellwood and Christiane Lex-Asuagbor.
Rachel King outlined the British government’s hopes for Brexit, and outlined the Withdrawal agreement, which would give British Citizens in Germany a transition period within which to get everything in order. During the transition period, from 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020, British Citizens can be expected to be treated as EU nationals, with the same rights to live and work in Germany and move freely around Europe. Of course, she stressed that the government does not want or expect a no-deal situation. But in this case, Ms King assured all British Citizens present that there are plans in place to mitigate the effects of this, i.e. the 3-month transition period offered by German authorities which will allow British residents to apply for permanent residence or a passport and stay in the country whilst a decision is made.
Ellie Sellwood introduced the campaign group British in Germany and stressed that British Citizens across Germany have been living in limbo since June 2016. She also outlined the deal and no-deal scenarios and what both will mean for British Citizens in Hamburg and ended by outlining British in Germany’s ‘No-Deal Checklist.’
Christiane Lex-Asuagbor stressed that there wasn’t much that she could add given the complexity of the situation, but stated that after the UK’s departure from the EU, British Citizens will need a residence permit of some kind to be able to continue living and working here in Germany. She outlined the different types of residence permit and the requirements for each.
The evening then concluded with a 90 minute Q&A session led by Nicholas Teller in which concerned British Citizens could direct their questions to the representatives from the British Embassy and Hamburg authorities.
Main image: By IqRS – Fotos von IqRS, freigegeben als PD (siehe [[:de:Wikipedia:Bilderwerkstatt/Archiv/2008/Juli#Alster|]]), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15650549
Article images (c) Chris Nicolls, Hamburg English Pages
An information event organised by the British embassy and the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft was held in Dresden on the evening of 11 January 2019. It was attended by approximately 70 persons. The vast majority of those present had arrived in Germany within the last 5 years and were working. None had taken on German citizenship and only three people were applying for German citizenship.
Deputy Head of Mission Robbie Bulloch gave an update on citizens’ rights in both a deal and no-deal situations. He stressed that the government does not want or expect a no-deal situation. Rob Compton then gave a short speech introducing British in Germany, its current activities and called for audience members to get involved with British in Germany in Dresden.
Daniel Senf of the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Dresden chaired a 90-minute Q&A session in which the audience asked many questions concerning their rights after the UK exits the EU. Almost all questions were related to residence entitlements and third country national status and/or retaining British nationality when taking German citizenship in both deal / no-deal scenarios. Prisca Merz of the British embassy was able to provide lots of detail.
Main Image: By User:Kolossos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2092763
Attended by a representative from Munich´s Immigration Office
A high-calibre panel fielded questions from 300+ concerned UK Citizens last night in an open evening organised by the Consulate-General in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and British in Bavaria/British in Germany e.V. Munich´s Immigration Office was also represented on the panel. This is only the second Immigration Office in Germany (after Berlin) to speak publicly to UK nationals in Germany about their future status in a deal or no deal scenario.
Was the audience reassured by what they heard? What were their concerns?
BR Fernsehen interviewed attendees and also panellist David Hole of British in Bavaria. Watch that report on BR Fernsehen´s Abendschau Süd programme from 15th January at 17:30. Click the image to go to the BR Mediathek. The interview is the first item in the programme.
[A fuller report on the evening follows on this website]
Safeguarding the rights of British nationals living and working in the EU remains a top priority for both the UK and the EU, and the British community in Germany are an important part of the future UK-Germany relationship. We are continuing our series of information evenings across Germany to ensure British citizens have the opportunity to share any concerns, and ask our speakers any questions they have about citizens’ rights after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Nicholas Teller (British Honorary Consul in Hamburg) and Rachel King (Economic Counsellor and Head of EU & Economic Section at the British Embassy Berlin) are pleased to invite you to our next open evening for British citizens living in Hamburg.
Time: Tuesday 22 January 2019, 18.00 – 22:00
Place: The Anglican Church of St Thomas Becket, Zeughausmarkt 22, 20459 Hamburg
After the opening speeches you will have plenty of opportunity to ask any questions you might have.
As attendance numbers are limited please only come if you are a British citizen in Hamburg and are directly affected by the topic of citizens’ rights after the UK’s exit from the EU. Attendance will be accepted on a first come first served basis. We reserve the right to limit numbers according to capacity.
The British Consulate-General Munich in collaboration with British in Germany will host another Open Evening for UK Nationals in Munich.
Time: 6:00 – 8:30pm. Place: The Auditorium at the St. Georges International school, Heidemannstr. 182, 80939 Munich.
HM Consul General Simon Kendall will give an update on the status of negotiations on citizens’ rights and what this means for you. Joining him will be David Hole from British in Germany e.V. Then there will be plenty of time to ask any questions you have.
The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Munich. Family members and friends are, of course, also welcome to attend.
Doors open at 5.30 pm. The event will run from 6pm to 8.30 pm.
The British Embassy, in cooperation with the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Dresden e.V., will host an Open Evening for UK Nationals in Dresden.
Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm. Place: The ‘Dachsaal’ of the Riesa Efau Kulturforum, Wachsbleichstraße 4a, 01067 Dresden
Deputy Head of Mission Robbie Bulloch will give an update on the status of negotiations on citizens’ rights and what this means for you. Joining him on the panel will be a representative from British in Germany e.V (tbc). Daniel Senf (Board member, Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Dresden e.V.) will then chair a Q&A session, where you will have plenty of time to ask any questions you have concerning your rights after the UK exits the EU.
The event is primarily aimed at British citizens living in and around Dresden. Family members and friends are, of course, also welcome to attend.
Doors open at 5:30pm. The event will run from 6:00pm to 8.00pm.
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)
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.
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:
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:
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.
Adam Takar, one of the British in Germany Interns, reports on the recent InfoAbend in Bremen.
Last Tuesday, the British Embassy held a citizens’ info event in the Bremen Chamber of Commerce with British in Germany e.V. and the Migrationsamt. The night kicked off with drinks and discussion, where Brits got to meet and get to know each other. Although Daniel and I arrived late thanks to a sudden train cancellation (so much for the famed German efficiency), Daniel Tetlow nevertheless made up for it with a well-received speech. The Embassy, though their hands are still tied, could not offer much in the way of any new information or reassurance beyond the same line they have been towing over the past few months; that they are unsure of what will happen in the event of a no deal, and that they can only provide guidance on what should be done as stated in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
Fortunately, despite it being last minute, I was asked to speak too during BiG’s speech, making up for the fact I was not able to as part of the mass lobby on the 5th. I’d never done anything quite like this before, so was a little shaky getting up on the podium, and, though I was perhaps a little less well-versed in public-speaking than Daniel, it was a worthwhile experience to put a smile on some of the audience’s faces. A young voice has been largely missing from the Brexit debates and negotiations in Britain so far, and thus BiG offering Connie and me to actually speak in a public setting has been something we are both very grateful for.
Following the speeches, came the Q&A, which focused predominantly on issues of overseas housing, what Germany’s policies will be post-Brexit day (no more information here as of when I’m writing), healthcare, voter registration and pet passports, an issue surprisingly never asked about previously. Prisca Merz of the Embassy was extremely helpful as always giving citizens an update of the current situation, but, as we can expect, not many concrete answers could really be given at the time, e.g. that economically inactive Britons in the EU will be able to claim healthcare costs from the NHS if there is a deal, and that pet passports may have new requirements in the event of a no deal etc. In short, answers tended to be more conditional than definite.
British in Germany has, as a result of the event, managed to raise €135 from donations, which, as always, we are extremely appreciative of. We got to know several more Brits in Germany, and we’d invite anyone who hasn’t, to either become a member, or send us a donation. In this especially turbulent political climate, all the support you can give is much appreciated to ensure that we can continue preserving British citizens’ rights here in Germany. We have even featured in local news as a result of the event:
Finally, for any Brits in and around Bremen, we would love to invite you to our first Stammtisch event! This will be a more relaxed evening where you can meet fellow Brits and discuss the latest developments re: Brexit. We look forward to seeing you at Loft (Bahnhofspl. 5, Bremen – above Paddy’s) from 19:30 on Wednesday 28th November.
If there are any remaining questions that could have been asked, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to try and help you.