#EmbraceSpain XXXI: Expats, free movement and polarization of Brexit

  • News
  • 4 min read

#EmbraceSpain XXXI: Expats, free movement and polarization of Brexit

The British Government changes the general guidelines for Residence Card applicants following the recent implementation of a new warning system.

At Del Canto Chambers residence permits for European citizens living in the United Kingdom are, once again, a key subject this week.

In this regard, the British Government has modified the guidance notes offered to residence permit applicants related to the documents to be submitted. Our lawyer Julio Prieto, in an analysis published in our corporate blog, advocates for the Home Office “to take more steps to further simplify the 85-page Application Form and to include free-lancers, students and those unemployed (… ) and to either give a better explanation on the health insurance, or to remove this requirement in some cases.

In addition, the government has set up a warning system, to which residence permit applicants must subscribe in order to receive information.  In this way, the government can control the predictable increase in the number of applications to be received once Brexit negotiations start. On this subject, Julio Prieto points out that “for the moment, Spanish nationals and nationals from other EU countries living in the UK have a 2-year margin period before Brexit negotiations conclude.  We must remember that residence requirements remain (and will remain) the same until that date “.

On the other hand, the UK is going through a political impasse due to the early elections, and the government has announced that the digital tax reform will not be tackled until a new government is in place. It has also announced that they could grant powers to the pensions regulator in order to veto some merger and acquisition deals.

As per our Firm, Leon Fernando del Canto, is in Colombia this week visiting clients in Bogotá and strengthening professional alliances with local partners. Colombia is becoming an attractive destination for Spanish investments and for other European countries, such as the UK, in sectors like energy, in a context in which exports increased by 37.9% in March alone in this country. In addition, Colombia is taking steps to promote more environmentally friendly energies. National and foreign investors join projects all over the country in the so-called “green energy revolution.”

The Lord Mayor of the City of London will be visiting Colombia soon with a UK delegation.  The Spanish government does not want to miss this opportunity and has recently sent a trade delegation, with the aim to strengthen institutional, commercial and collaboration relations under the motto #EmbraceLATAM.

In Spain, the Tax Office has discarded the possibility of the Cadastre update to imply a  direct increase in taxes, such as the yearly property tax (IBI), the capital gains tax on the sale of a property, or the transfer tax (ITP), nor there will be a reduction on the nuclear power stations tax either. Meanwhile, in the Spanish Chamber of Deputies, the government has overcome the motion for the rejection of a bill brought by the opposition parties on the National Budget; a controversial Budget, full of interest-based agreements, such as the one with the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB),  in which the promises of the president of Spanish government will not be kept, as the Catalan and Valencian Autonomous Communities are in great discontent.

Lastly, we highlight in our blog that the Qatari government has passed a new law on the business operations of public-private companies. Qatari tax modernization is still underway and the authorities are urging companies to be prepared for the upcoming VAT implementation in 2018 “in an attempt to raise the level of public revenue to counteract the global decline in oil prices.” The rest of the Gulf countries will also introduce such measures within the framework of agreements within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

We reiterate the value of consensus as the best way to solve the complex problem of the European expats rights in the UK, as well as those of the British residents in other EU countries. This idea, widely shared by those attending the #EmbraceLondon event, could prevent an unnecessary polarization that would put at risk the smooth running of the Brexit negotiations.

You can follow our opinion on the development of international news in our blog and our social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Xavier Nova (@xavinova)

Director of Del Canto Chambers