Status of Brits in Germany up in the air, as Berlin makes no guarantees

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Status of Brits in Germany up in the air, as Berlin makes no guarantees
Photo: DPA

A leaked EU document suggests that Brits across the EU will face fallout due to the UK's treatment of foreigners after the Brexit vote - and Berlin is stalling on its own position.


Brits in Germany could be facing an uncertain future, at least that's according to a leaked EU document that British newspaper The Guardian saw last week.

The leaked paper said that the future status of Brits in the EU will be a matter for each individual member state after the UK leaves the union in 2019.  

This means that the roughly 100,000 Brits currently living in Germany will have to see what the Berlin government decides to do with them.

Last year, shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU, then vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel spoke of offering young British people resident in Germany a fast-track towards gaining German citizenship.

But, contacted by The Local this week, the interior ministry refused to guarantee the residency rights of Brits currently working in Germany from 2019 onwards. It also did not deny that Britain’s treatment of EU nationals in the UK would affect its attitude towards Brits in Germany.

In response to a request for assurances on both these questions, the interior ministry replied “the German government has not yet conclusively come to a position on the legal status of British citizens after Great Britain leaves the European Union.”

The leaked EU report warned that the British stance on EU nationals living in the UK could make life more difficult for Brits living in the EU.

"The fact that it appears to be particularly difficult for foreign nationals, even if married to UK nationals or born in the UK, to acquire permanent residence status or British nationality may colour member states' approach to this matter," the document says.

In other words - if you're married to a German person, there's a chance that this marriage won't guarantee success in your quest to pursue German citizenship or permanent residency.

The leaked paper added that there had been a 50 percent increase in EU citizens seeking British residency - but that the process was extremely complicated and involved an 85-page form.

The leaked document suggested Brits may not be able to rely on factors like pension or property ownership to give them unrestricted rights to live, work, and study in the EU, or indeed take advantage of things like reciprocal healthcare arrangements.

Brits working in EU institutions will also likely feel the pinch, the document said.

"The European parliament, the council and the commission alone have more than 1,500 British staff members. The UK withdrawing from the European Union will definitely have an impact on their careers for, in principle, only nationals of a member state can work for the EU institutions," it said.


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