Grant funding of up to £3 million (€3.3 million) will be made available for voluntary organisations to help inform people about the need to register or apply for residency, as well as supporting them in completing their applications.
“The UK will be leaving the EU on October 31st and we want to help UK nationals living across the EU to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to apply to protect their residency rights and access to services,” said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announcing the measure on Friday.
The government said it wants to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork for Brexit, focusing in particular on pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas or with mobility difficulties, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.
Sarah-Jane Morris, the British consul in Spain, explained: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and we want to help UK nationals living in Spain to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to protect their residency rights and access to services.”
The move was welcomed by campaigners fighting for the rights of EU residents affected by Brexit.
‘It’s welcome that the UK Government has recognised that 1.3 million British people on the continent – 60 percent of whom could not vote in the 2016 Referendum on their direct future – need and deserve practical support to regularise their residency status after Brexit,” said Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe, in a statement.
“We look forward to hearing more details in due course.”
Spain has made contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit – brought into law last March in a Royal Decree – pledging to protect the existing rights of British residents in Spain, providing they have the legal paperwork.