Campaigner and Brit expat Tig James mentioned UK nationals who made Portugal their house earlier than Brexit now face deportation and arrest once they attempt to enter one other EU nation
Hundreds of British expats in Portugal are having their lives ‘paralysed and broken’ due to the nation’s failure to problem them with post-Brexit residency playing cards, it has been claimed.
Tig James, who runs the British in Portugal marketing campaign group, says many UK nationals who made areas such because the Algarve their house earlier than the withdrawal settlement got here into drive are going through deportation and arrest once they attempt to enter one other EU nation.
They’re additionally struggling ‘dreadful penalties’ in Portugal – together with being unable to register for well being care, difficulties registering a toddler’s delivery and obstacles on the subject of household reunification.
Expat representatives say the issues are being brought on by the Portuguese Border and Immigration Service’s failure to problem WA biometric playing cards wanted by each UK nationwide underneath the EU-UK Withdrawal Settlement.
To this point on mainland Portugal solely a brief doc and QR code has been issued which affected Britons say just isn’t recognised domestically or at worldwide borders.
Mrs James, who claims the issue has severely affected those that arrived earlier than the Brexit settlement kicked in at first of 2021 and have been unable to acquire residency from immigration workplaces because of the pandemic, mentioned: ‘The method wanted for UK nationals to register for residency took months to be put in place and, previous to that, prompted an excessive amount of difficulties particularly for these arriving simply earlier than the top of 2020 who weren’t allowed to acquire any residency documentation.
Expats in Portugal (photograph by James) face ‘dreadful penalties’ and no healthcare, she mentioned
‘This meant they have been unable to signal work contracts with many being threatened with retraction of them together with, most notably, 5 Easyjet pilots who had moved to Portugal with their households solely for that goal.
‘Individuals weren’t solely unable to acquire work however weren’t permitted to register for well being care, social safety, at banks, the tax workplace, each identified establishment in Portugal.
‘Many stopped at Portuguese borders have been being threatened with deportation.
‘Lastly they have been allowed to register for residency and a system put in place the place a QR code was given stating that every one have been legally resident in Portugal but it surely wasn’t the WA biometric card wanted by each UK nationwide coming underneath the withdrawal settlement.
‘I’ve been promised the playing cards can be arriving quickly since July 2019 and that has been the unvarying reply since.
‘The explanations for the three yr delay by the immigration division? Workers shortages, vacation durations, the pandemic, and now Ukrainian refugees.
‘The dreadful penalties of not having a WA biometric card, the seriousness of which can’t be underestimated, has paralysed and broken UK nationwide’s lives emotionally, bodily and financially.
‘With out one you may’t register for well being care should you transfer tackle (individuals severely ailing, probably terminally ailing, can’t get remedy), docs refusing remedy, appointments cancelled.
‘Repeatedly it has been advocated UK nationals alternate their driving licence for Portuguese licences to be absolutely coated by the legislation.
‘One UK nationwide has submitted her utility seven instances attributable to lack of documentation, and the driving licence workplace refusing to take any functions with out the WA biometric card.
The tax workplace refuse to vary addresses with out one so even when a UK nationwide will get a driving licence it will get despatched to the mistaken tackle if individuals have moved.
‘Banks refuse to vary addresses with out the tax workplace say-so, so credit score and debit playing cards are despatched to the mistaken tackle, autos are unable to be matriculated costing UK nationals 1000’s in importation charges for autos that ought to be free to import, and garages are refusing to restore autos.
Brits overseas in Portugal face unprecedented paperwork within the wake of Brexit (Faro pictured)
‘The QR code individuals have been given just isn’t being accepted at many EU borders with the holders of such codes typically being threatened with refusal of entry into the nation, detained or deported.
‘Two individuals have been lately detained in Germany due to outdated residency documentation.
‘The Portuguese Border and Immigration Service have refused to resume any residency documentation held by a UK nationwide saying the QR code covers them.
‘No different EU nation is on this state of affairs and lots of border forces refuse to simply accept expired paperwork leading to refusal of entry or detention.
‘The 2 individuals in Germany needed to buy different return tickets as they have been informed they weren’t allowed to return by means of Germany costing them roughly POUNDS 4,200.
‘They’re now ready to see if and once they have a court docket date in Germany having needed to make use of a German immigration lawyer once they have carried out all the pieces legally and as they have been informed to do.’
She added: ‘Portuguese establishments or companies are merely refusing to cope with UK nationals or present a service.
‘The Portuguese social safety workplace has ceased household allowance funds till a WA biometric card might be produced and the delivery of a kid can’t be registered.
‘Solely a WA biometric card is appropriate for firms taking up new staff, the ramifications being UK nationals can’t both achieve employment or transfer jobs or, if they’re employed however unable to register for well being care and are then ailing, acquire a sick word overlaying their interval of illness.
Vacationer and expat hotspot Tavira within the Algarve, which quite a few Brits name house, is pictured
‘EU employers, exterior of Portugal, are demanding a WA biometric card to ensure that contracts to be signed and are refusing the QR code along with the pre-Brexit residency paperwork UK nationals have.
‘UK nationals wishing to deliver their third nation nationwide spouses to Portugal underneath the household reunification guidelines aren’t being allowed to take action till they’ve the biometric playing cards. One couple have been ready three years to be collectively and one other two and a half with out even having the ability to begin the method.’
A pilot scheme to supply British expats with their long-awaited biometric playing cards, generally known as WABC’s, started within the Azores and Madeira in February of this yr however nothing has but been carried out on mainland Portugal and consultants reckon round 60,000 UK nationals residing in Portugal are nonetheless ready for them.
Nicola Franks, a British resident in Portugal, informed Portuguese TV channel SIC of her issues when she flew to Amsterdam in June three years after her transfer overseas along with her husband: ‘We knew of the deadline and wished to get right here nicely upfront and ensure we had all our paperwork carried out and didn’t depart all the pieces until the final minute.
‘In June I used to be stopped after flying to Amsterdam and informed as I attempted to enter Holland I had overstayed my visa.
‘The border management official checked out these papers he had clearly by no means seen earlier than and determined they weren’t official, that the truth is they have been solely functions for residency.
‘To make a protracted and scary story as brief as attainable, he turned me again to Portugal.
‘He informed me everybody within the UK has a residency card. I informed him Portugal has not received round to issuing them and he form of laughed and mentioned he was speaking and I ought to be listening and that was the top of his listening.’
She added: ‘I don’t go to the native clinic which has nice docs and good individuals. I confirmed my QR code to them they usually mentioned: ‘You’re not a resident, you could pay’
Tig James mentioned: ‘Nicola’s case just isn’t an remoted one.
In 2021 alone, practically 50,000 Brits moved to Portugal to imagine residency (Algarve pictured)
‘I do know of people who find themselves resident in Portugal and are nonetheless making an attempt to work throughout the Schengen space.
‘I do know of people that have been stopped by border guards in each single European nation.
‘They’ve had their papers taken off them, they’ve had them thrown to the ground as a result of they’re merely not the withdrawal settlement biometric playing cards that the Portuguese Border and Immigration Service are failing to present us and are directed underneath the withdrawal settlement to take action.’
She mentioned: ‘My very own residency expired final yr. The Portuguese Border and Immigration Service SEF won’t renew expired residency paperwork, therefore if I journey exterior Portugal I’m going to be exhibiting border controls expired paperwork.
‘I can’t take the chance of being detained.’
One British nationwide who requested to not be named mentioned: ‘There are literally thousands of British individuals with husbands and wives and kids who’re virtually landlocked in Portugal as a result of there is no such thing as a manner ahead.’
An SEF spokesman mentioned the present residence paperwork of British residents residing in Portugal proceed to be accepted.
Regardless of the issues British nationals say they’re experiencing with the short-term paperwork and QR codes they’ve been issued with, he mentioned: ‘The doc with the QR can be utilized every time they journey, as proof of their residence in Portugal, guaranteeing additionally entry to public well being providers and social safety advantages.
‘This doc containing the QR code was disclosed in a well timed method to the related European authorities, assuring the holders all of the rights contained within the Withdrawal Settlement.’
A UK authorities spokesperson mentioned in a press release: ‘We proceed to induce the Portuguese authorities to finish the method of issuing biometric residency playing cards to UK nationals residing legally in Portugal with out additional delay.
‘Portugal should instantly and absolutely implement the withdrawal settlement commitments it signed as much as in 2018 so UK nationals have the safety they want.’