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]
The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) posted an FAQ on its website just before Christmas about Germany’s plans regarding the residence rights of British citizens in Germany after Brexit. The FAQ covers both deal and no deal scenarios.
The BMI explains that, until 29 March 2019, British citizens remain EU citizens with rights of free movement, but of course are still subject to the obligation to register with the relevant administration where they reside.
After 29 March 2019, the position will change.
In the case of a deal, there will be a transition phase until December 2020 during which the rights of British citizens in Germany will stay the same as they are now. Any British citizen who arrives in Germany before that date will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and will be able to apply for a status under that agreement in Germany, which will secure (most of) their rights in Germany going forward. To this end, some federal immigration authorities (Ausländerbehörde) are already planning a voluntary registration system before the UK’s withdrawal.
No Deal Scenario
The BMI also gives more details of what is planned in the case of a no deal. In this case, Germany is planning a three-month transition phase from 29 March 2019, which could be extended, during which time British citizens and their family members can, without a residence permit, live and work in Germany as before. However, after this, British citizens will need such a permit, since after Brexit, they will no longer be EU citizens but third country nationals. They are advised to apply for this before the end of the three-month transition phase (the BMI then links to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) information on residence in Germany), and their rights to live and work in Germany remain the same until a decision is taken on their application. As noted above, some Ausländerbehörde are already planning a voluntary registration system to this end.
How different categories of British citizens will be affected
The BMI then explains how different British citizens will be affected by the two scenarios:
British citizens who also have another EU citizenship will not need a residence permit.
British citizens who have German citizenship will obviously not need a residence permit but may obtain additional rights under certain conditions under the Withdrawal Agreement.
British citizens who are family members of an EU citizen of another EU country are expected to keep their free movement rights but are asked to register with the relevant Ausländerbehörde where that (voluntary) registration is already envisaged (see above).
British citizens without another EU citizenship will need a residence permit and should make sure that they are registered properly where they live and are asked to register with the relevant Ausländerbehörde where that (voluntary) registration is already envisaged (see above).
The BMI also sets out the position on citizenship applications and dual citizenship in both scenarios. In the case of a deal, those applying before 31 December 2020 will be able to keep both citizenships (German and British) even if the decision is after the transition phase, and if all the conditions for citizenship were filled before that date. Similarly, in the case of a no deal, those who applied by 29 March 2019 will have the right to keep both citizenships.
The FAQ sets out some first useful information but by no means answers all the detailed questions you may have about your future status. These issues include: how each Land proposes to implement these measures; in the case of no deal, the position of people who already have a permanent residence document but do not have German citizenship, or those with less than five years’ residence in Germany; and details of which status to apply for in the case of no deal, as well as how to apply for the status in the case of a deal, and so on. The British in Germany team will be seeking clarification on these and other questions raised by these proposals and have requested meetings with both the Auswärtiges Amt, along with representatives from other ministries such as the BMI, and with the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, early in the New Year. We have also collated the types of questions raised by our members on social media so that these can also help inform our discussions with the German authorities in the New Year, and will be putting out a call for case studies shortly as well. In short, we are following up to confirm how the government’s proposals will apply to all British citizens, as well as their family members, currently resident in Germany, whatever their circumstances.
More information on this website as soon as we have it.
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.
Last night’s Channel 4 news included interviews with Jane Golding and other BiG activists in Berlin. We were asked about the impact on our everyday lives and what a no-deal Brexit means to us. You can watch the interviews here, and the entire show at the C4 news website.
You can also watch the opening speeches at the British Embassy event below, from Sir Sebastian Wood (British Ambassador to Berlin), Christoph Wolfrum (Federal Foreign Office); Jane Golding, Chair, British in Europe and British in Germany, and Engelhard Mazanke, (Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office).
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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com and we will do our best to try and help you.
The British Consulate Munich and the Deutsch Britische Gesellschaft Rhein-Neckar e.V. will host an Open Evening for UK Nationals in Heidelberg on Thursday 13 December at 6pm at the Heidelberg Stadtbuecherei.
British 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 Nicola Hayton (President of the DBG Rhein-Neckar e.V) and David Hole (British in Germany). Following the opening remarks, are speakers are primarily here to answer your questions about your rights post-Brexit. The event is primarily aimed at British nationals living in and around Heidelberg. Family members and friends are of course welcome to attend.
Doors open at 5.30 pm. The event will run from 6pm to 8.30 pm. We look forward to welcoming you then.
This event can also be found in our Events Calendar.
Image – By Christian Bienia. – Farbkorrektur von de:Bild:Heidelberg.jpg by Godewind 18:13, 1 January 2006 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=489975
With the threat of a “no deal” looming ever larger, about 50 Brits in Munich gathered on Monday evening, 26 November, for a Stammtisch entitled “End Game – Are you ready?”.
A journalist and a photographer from the Süddeutsche Zeitung came along to report on our concerns at this critical point in the Brexit process. Worries centred on residence status post Brexit, loss of onward freedom of movement, healthcare costs, citizenship and family reunion. Comparisons were also drawn with the plight of EU citizens in the UK.
The organising team of British in Bavaria gave updates on the main themes, reporting on recent lobbying activities and urging all Brits to consult the “no deal checklist” on the British in Germany website. Then followed a Q&A session and an exchange of views on what happens next.
The article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung can be access by clicking on their icon below:The latest British in Bavaria Newsletter is also available and can be downloaded below.