New campaign urges Brits in Germany to get ready for Brexit

There is still uncertainty surrounding Brexit. But a new campaign is urging Britons in Germany to take steps for it happening on October 31st.

New campaign urges Brits in Germany to get ready for Brexit
Brits must have up-to-date passports. Photo: DPA

The UK Government on Monday launched a major information campaign urging UK nationals living in and travelling to the EU to take steps to get ready for Brexit at the end of next month.

The campaign aims to inform more than a million UK nationals living in the EU – including over 117,225 Britons in Germany –  about specific actions they need to take to secure their rights and services in their host country, including information on residency, healthcare, driving licences and passports.

It will also encourage people travelling to the EU to make all necessary preparations by checking passports, buying travel insurance and checking driving licenses and pet passports. 

The campaign will use multiple channels – from Facebook posts to billboard posters in towns and cities across Europe – urging people to take action ahead of the October 31st deadline.

It comes even though negotiations are continuing over Brexit and no deal has been reached yet.

Regardless of what happens, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will leave the EU at the end of October.

This is what Brits have been urged to do in Germany:

– Apply for a residency permit through your local Ausländerbehörde (immigration or foreigners office).

– Register for healthcare in Germany.

– Exchange your UK driving licence for a German one

– Check your passport is valid for travel. (If there's a no-deal Brexit, Brits must have at least six months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe).

There is also some other actions that Britons can take, such as getting qualifications recognized and applying for citizenship.

CHECK OUT: The ultimate Brexit checklist for Brits in Germany

Last month the British Embassy in Germany urged Britons to seriously prepare for the possibility of a no-deal.

As The Local has reported, Germany has given verbal reassurances that no British person will be forced to leave Germany as a result of Brexit.

A new draft law – called the Brexit-Aufenthalts-Überleitungsgesetz (Brexit Residence Transition Act) – went a step further to provide reassurances to British nationals who have set up their lives in the Bundesrepublik.

It is meant to guarantee that all British people and their family members will receive residence permits if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. However, the law hasn't been passed yet.

For all The Local Germany's Brexit coverage CLICK HERE

In the latest press release issued by the British Embassy in Germany, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are stepping up efforts to ensure Britons abroad are prepared for Brexit on October 31st.

“This campaign provides practical advice to the more than one million British people living in the EU, as well as British tourists and business travellers.”

The UK government recently announced up to £3 million in grant funding for charities and other voluntary organizations who can inform UK nationals about the need to register or apply for residency and to support them as they complete their applications.

The government also allocated an extra £300,000 to British Embassies and consulates across the EU to engage with UK nationals who may be more difficult to reach, such as people with disabilities, those living in remote areas or people who might need extra help to complete any paperwork in preparation for Brexit.

How are British people in Germany dealing with Brexit?

The Local has been reporting how Brits have been applying for residence permits from their local Ausländerbehörde (immigration office) and the difficulties they face due to the different processes across Germany's 16 states.

We've also reported on possible healthcare restrictions and how Brits are dealing with the constant uncertainty.

We also exclusively revealed that 8,000 Brits in Berlin still hadn't applied for a residency permit ahead of Brexit, even though the registering process opened up in the capital in January.

For details on what kind of residence permits are being given out to British people in Germany, check out our story here.

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Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the ‘die’ and carnival lingo

From the push to reform long-term unemployment benefits to the lingo you need to know as Carnival season kicks off, we look at the highlights of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the 'die' and carnival lingo

Deadlock looms as debates over Bürgergeld heat up 

Following a vote in the Bundestag on Thursday, the government’s planned reforms to long-term unemployment benefits are one step closer to becoming reality. Replacing the controversial Hartz IV system, Bürgergeld (or Citizens’ Allowance) is intended to be a fair bit easier on claimants.

Not only will the monthly payment be raised from €449 to €502, but jobseekers will also be given a grace period of two years before checks are carried out on the size of their apartment or savings of up to €60,000. The system will also move away from sanctions with a so-called “trust period” of six months, during which benefits won’t be docked at all – except in very extreme circumstances. 

Speaking in parliament, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said the spirit of the new system was “solidarity, trust and encouragement” and praised the fact that Bürgergeld would help people get back into the job market with funding for training and education. But not everyone is happy about the changes. In particular, politicians from the opposition CDU/CSU parties have responded with outrage at the move away from sanctions.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has even branded the system a step towards “unconditional Basic Income” and argued that nobody will be incentivised to return to work. 

The CDU and CSU are now threatening to block the Bürgergeld legislation when it’s put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Monday. With the conservatives controlling most of the federal states – and thus most of the seats in the upper house – things could get interesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage in the coming weeks to see how the saga unfolds. 

Tweet of the week

When you first start learning German, picking the right article to use can truly be a roll of the “die” – so we’re entirely on board with this slightly unconventional way to decide whether you’re in a “der”, “die”, or “das” situation. (Warning: this may not improve your German.) 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Residents of Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding area will no doubt recognise this as the charming town of Kronberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains.

This atmospheric scene was snapped on Friday morning, when a drop in temperatures saw Kronberg and surrounding forests shrouded in autumnal fog.

After a decidedly warm start to November, the mercury is expected to drop into single digits over the weekend. 

Did you know?

November 11th marked the start of carnival season in Germany. But did you know that there’s a whole set of lingo to go along with the tradition? And it all depends on where you are. First of all, the celebration isn’t called the same thing everywhere. In the Rhineland, it’s usually called Karneval, while people in Bavaria or Saxony tend to call it Fasching. Those in Hesse and Saarland usually call it Fastnacht. 

And depending on where you are, there are different things to shout. The ‘fools call’ you’ll hear in Cologne is “Alaaf!” If you move away from Cologne, you’ll hear “Helau!” This is the traditional cry in the carnival strongholds of Düsseldorf and Mainz, as well as in some other German cities.

In the Swabian-Alemannic language region in the southwest of the country, people yell “Narri-Narro”, which means “I’m a fool, you’re a fool”. In Saarland at the French border, they shout “Alleh hopp!”, which is said to originate from the French language. 

Lastly, if someone offers you a Fastnachtskrapfe, say yes because it’s a jelly-filled carnival donut. And if you’re offered a Bützchen? It’s your call, but know that it’s a little kiss given to strangers!