British immigrants in the EU and EU immigrants in the United Kingdom are anxious to learn what is going to happen after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 to begin the divorce procedures from the European Nation after about 42 years of being a euro zone member.
The biggest concerns are who will get what and if and when will people be required to leave the countries they’ve immigrated to because no matter where you are from and where you are today you will likely be affected one way or the other by the Brexit.
Yes! Too much uncertainty lingers in the air.
Perhaps the most vulnerable groups are retirees, which is why campaign groups are increasingly advocating for the rights of British pensioners living in the EU.
Still, Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, and other activist fear that the Brexit may force hundreds of thousands to return to the U.K., a factor British politicians have to consider as it will place an enormous strain on the United Kingdom´s already overwhelmed health and social care services.
“There are serious concerns as to whether returning pensioners would be forced to wait six months before receiving healthcare from the NHS,” Ms Wilson said. “Those remaining in the EU could be asked to prove they have private health insurance: this would be denied to many because of their age or pre-existing conditions.”
The head campaigner explained that under Spain’s private health insurance regulations pensioners may have to pay 100 percent of prescription costs, instead of the 10 percent they pay now.
Furthermore, said Sue Wilson, if because of the Brexit triple-lock pensions — these currently rise in line with earnings, inflation or by 2.5 percent — are frozen, many retirees may be forced to return to Great Britain.
However, all said, it’s important for now to not fall prey to speculation because nobody — not even those who will be negotiating the Brexit — knows exactly what’s going to happen.
The Bremain In Spain activists have announced a “March for Europe” in London’s Hyde Park on 25 March to raise awareness of these issues.
Sue Wilson´s organisation is also collaborating with 11 other groups representing British citizens in the EU and has also presented evidence to a Select Committee for Exiting the European Union.
Bremain has lobbied MPs and Peers to give pensioners a voice and protect their rights as well as promoting the ‘Choose Freedom’ EU Passport Campaign — a citizens’ initiative that requires a million signatures from across the EU to be heard at the EU Parliament.