British citizens living in Portugal cannot access healthcare, job change or travel in as well as out of country, since its ministers did not issue them with post-Brexit residence cardsit appeared.
United Kingdom government raised issue at the ministerial level and called on Portugal to fully implement the withdrawal agreement and protect the rights of 34,500 British who made their country home before Brexit.
People were left delayed at airports, paying for fracture treatment, or at risk of losing their jobs due to delays in obtaining biometrics card which is vital for everyday life and proves their legal status.
According to the UK exit agreement, British citizens in Portugal were guaranteed their social and labor rights will be protected. However, the Portuguese government has not yet provided biometric data on the place of residence cards.Instead, a temporary document and a QR code were issued, which, according to the British, are not recognized either locally or on international borders.
James Campbell computer programmer, said: “I feel more like illegal immigrant at the moment.” He listed 25 things that happened to him because of absence of documents, including £4000 private hospital bill for broken limb because he couldn’t access public health.
British-South African couple live just outside Lisbon said how they were detained in Frankfurt Airport Without Proper EU Residence Documents And Now They’re Being Blamed of criminal violation of immigration law, as well as a bill of around €4,000 (£3,375). for new flights to get back to Portugal.
husband, who not wish to be named in connection with the ongoing legal action, said: “We were in transit and when we walked to the gate for in the Seychelles we were taken aside and asked for documents about our residence. We were told we didn’t have enough. We proposed show utility bills, tax payments, prove we were residents in Portugal, but he didn’t want to listen. His only concern was that “you are illegally in Germany’. He kept on saying it doesn’t matter what the Portuguese government to tell you.”
He said it was “almost a criminal what happened to him and his wife, adding that separate should do not have to resort to media to fix a government-created problem. He was told that he risked arrest if they returned. via Germany, so they had to give up their original tickets and buy new flights to Lisbon via London.
Teague James, who runs British in Portugal campaign group said about 41,000 British citizens were affected and it held past three years “shouted from the rooftops” about problem – but no one heard her. She blames the Portuguese immigration and border guard SEF.
“SEF willfully, deliberately and systematically fails to comply with the withdrawal agreement, as a result of which in physical, emotional and financial suffering of thousands of British citizens living in Portugal,” she said.
James made up six- page report with a chronicle of exposure of situation facing British citizens in Portugal and planned to introduce it in person to the European Commission in September, but says she won’t go because of fears that she will be detained at the border.
United Kingdom government said he raised the issue at ministerial level and through his embassy in Portugal on number of cases. it also raised it officially in June in the UK-EU Specialized Committee on the rights of citizens, body instructed with ensuring the implementation of agreement.
“We continue to call on the Portuguese government to complete process of issuance of biometric data on residence cards UK citizens legally residing in Portugal without further delay, UK government spokesperson said in statement. “Portugal must immediately and fully comply with the obligations under the withdrawal agreement that it signed. up to in 2018 so UK citizens have the security they need”.
Alex Braithwaite, EasyJet pilot. in Portugal, said he was at risk of losing his job due to lack of documents and had to get help from the British Embassy in prove he was entitled to work locally for airline. He has also was unable to register with a local general practitioner or change his German driver’s license for local one.
SEF said in statement: “In current residence documents of British citizens living in Portugal continues to be accepted even after graduation of transitional period (December 31, 2020) and until new residence card released.
“Exchange of in current document of residence (either an EU registration certificate issued by the mayor’s office or an EU permanent residence certificate issued by the SEF) out through Brexit portal (brexit.sef.pt), which allowed UK citizens to apply online exchange document.
“Until then, the certificate with The QR code that can be downloaded from the portal continues to be official residence document for those under a termination agreement. It is valid until new card released. In addition, valid EU residence documents continue to be accepted. for for the purpose of travel new card released.”
European Commission official said that Portugal had assured him that the delay in issuance of a residence permit cards has no “structural implications” for British citizens or their right to access social and medical services.
official stated that he continues to monitor the situation. He had also was informed that new laws were to expand the number of government agencies are allowed issue those cards.