UK nationals in Italy assured of residency in event of no Brexit deal

British in Italy group say their worst fears are over after landing new year Brexit break. lisaocarroll

Theresa May and the EU have called on EU member states to be “generous” and to ensure Britons’ rights are protected. Theresa May and the EU have called on EU member states to be “generous” and to ensure Britons’ rights are protected.

British nationals settled in Italy have landed a new year Brexit break after the Italian government announced they would remain legal residents of the country in the event of no deal.

High level officials from the Ministero degli Affari Esteri told volunteers in the British in Italy campaign group that they “would continue to be legally resident with their existing rights to work” if Theresa May does not get her withdrawal agreement ratified and the UK crashes out of the EU on 29 March.

“Our worst fears are over. This makes Italy the first EU27 country to publicly declare their plans for citizens’ rights post-Brexit, and to provide the reassurance we have been awaiting so long,” said the group in a statement.

The Italian breakthrough comes days after immigration officials in Berlin vowed to open an urgent registration process to secure legal status will be in place for them in the event of the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

The Berlin authorities delivered their promise quickly opening the registration process on Thursday 3 January, and telling worried Britons that if there was no deal they would be briefly exempt from German law requiring residency documentation.

“From 30.03.2019 onwards British citizens in Germany will, for an initial period of three months until 30.06.2019, be exempted from the requirement to possess a German residency title,” they said on their website.

Before Christmas the French also sought to reassure British nationals in France of their status post-Brexit. Nathalie Loiseau, the Europe minister, said that France would guarantee the residence, employment and welfare rights of the 160,000 resident British citizens living there provided that Britain offered the same guarantees to French expatriates.

There are an estimated 60,000 British nationals living and working in Italy who were concerned at the prospect of becoming “irregular” with no rights to reside, work, or access national healthcare or social security if there was no deal.

While British in Italy says they feel reassured that they will not now be illegal, they are concerned that they lose some of their rights including the freedom to move to another EU country or work or offer services in another EU country.

This is because negotiations on these rights were set aside, to be discussed at the next Brexit phase of talks on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

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