On Friday 1st February 2019 the British in Italy team met again with Pierluigi D’Elia from the Italian ministry dealing with Brexit.  We had a very productive and positive meeting. The main message was that the ministry are working hard to ensure that all our rights will be protected and as per their communique on 21st December 2018  (http://www.governo.it/articolo/il-governo-italiano-prosegue-la-preparazione-alla-brexit/10585) any British citizen living in Italy and registered as resident in their local comune on or before 29th March 2019 will have a continued right to live, work and healthcare etc. in Italy.

Extract from their online statement:

Da parte italiana, in linea con le Comunicazioni della Commissione europea del 13 novembre 2018 e del 19 dicembre 2018 sulle misure preparatorie e di emergenza alla Brexit, sono in preparazione misure legislative per un sostanziale mantenimento del quadro giuridico esistente per garantire che i cittadini britannici residenti al 29 marzo 2019 in Italia avranno riconosciuti i requisiti e il tempo necessario per chiedere e ottenere lo status di soggiornante di lungo periodo disciplinato dalla Direttiva 2003/109/CE. In questo modo, essi potranno continuare a godere di diritti quali l’accesso a cure mediche, occupazione, istruzione, prestazioni sociali e ricongiungimento familiare. I cittadini britannici che vivono e che lavorano in Italia sono invitati ad iscriversi all’Ufficio Anagrafe del proprio Comune italiano di residenza prima del 29 marzo 2019.

However, a few messages came out of our meeting that we wanted to communicate to you because we believe them to be of importance to everyone.

TIMING OF ITALIAN LEGISLATION

Firstly, we were reminded of the timing of the legislative measures that Italy ‘will’ have in place on March 29th in the event of No Deal. D’Elia wanted us to understand that the timing of the Italian legislation is being coordinated by Brussels and so given the confusion surrounding ‘in, out or shake it all about British politics’ it is highly likely that legislation will only be in place at the very last minute, and by very last minute we do mean days before Brexit happens.  We replied that legislation really needed to be in place by the end of February at the latest, to give time for UK nationals to understand their position and for the Italian public administration to inform their staff. We know that this is causing a lot of stress and anxiety amongst British citizens but we were assured by D’Elia that legislative measures would be in place to protect our rights at the moment of Brexit. Our impression is that Italy is taking this very seriously indeed and want to ensure that registered citizens are protected. So whilst we do understand this might cause us more anxiety as we lurch towards Brexit day they have made it clear that they wish to legislate once and only once to cover all our rights and do not want to be legislating piece meal, from now until B-day.

REGISTRATION OF LEGAL RESIDENCE AS EU CITIZEN

The second message was that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, we will effectively be shoe-horned into Third Country National (TCN) Long Term Residence, even if you have less than 5 years residence in Italy. To qualify for this you and your family have to be registered as being legally resident here as at March 29th.  That means having either an Attestazione di Iscrizione Anagrafica di Cittadino dell’Unione Europea or an Attestazione di Soggiorno Permanente UE.

If you have not yet registered, but you want to be covered by the new status, then you MUST apply now and KEEP EVIDENCE  of your application including the date of it.

British in Italy raised the issue of residence not being available immediately to individuals who have arrived in the country but who cannot get an appointment with their Municipio/Comune to make a request for residenza.  This might be more relevant to the large cities who have moved to online systems of appointment making. In some cases, the system does not give an appointment until after 29th March 2019 and therefore an application for residenza cannot be made.  However, D’Elia informed us that when the appointment is made you will receive a confirmation date.  YOU MUST RETAIN A RECORD OF THIS CONFIRMATION AND THE DATE YOU MADE IT as you may be required to prove that you requested an appointment before Brexit day when you go along for your appointment.

Similarly, we raised the issue that in some comuni the personnel are requesting that any individual completes the 90 day period of temporary residence before an application for residenza can be made.  Where this takes you over the 29th March deadline YOU MUST KEEP THE PROOF OF YOUR ENTRY INTO THE COUNTRY e.g. plane ticket. If you arrived by car we recommend that you request that your passport is stamped on the border when you enter into Italian territory.  YOU MUST ALSO KEEP EVIDENCE OF ACCOMMODATION AND THE DATE ON WHICH THIS STARTED e.g rental contract, or in the absence of a formal rental contract, details of the place where you are living. This would preferably need to be a formal paid arrangement with evidence of payment e.g. receipt from a hotel or Air BnB.

Whilst we don’t think that these cases will be numerous it could cause difficulties for some and inevitably you might come up against ill-informed local authority staff.  We are requesting that all information is published online so that we can use this as a reference tool. In the event of any particularly difficult cases we would advise you to get in touch.

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation of Italian legislation in a No Deal scenario will take place in two stages.  The first is a Grace Period beginning on 30th March and lasting for 6 to 9 months (the precise length has not yet been fixed).  At the end of that we will have a new status.

During the Grace Period all our existing rights in Italy will continue automatically.   During the Grace Period we will need to apply to the Questura for the new status, which will become effective at the end of the Grace Period.

All ministries are being asked if they could send out circulars to local levels to inform them and we have raised the issue with the ministry that it is imperative that all the necessary information is flagged at local level and in adequate time. British in Italy is continuing its campaign to draw the attention of Sindaci/Prefetti to the practical problems that will arise both for them and for us during the various stages from now on. If you would like to get involved all the details are on our website britishinitaly.net or on our Facebook page.

IF THERE IS A DEAL

If, on the other hand, Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement does finally get through the UK Parliament, the situation is different.

TRANSITION PERIOD

The Withdrawal Agreement Transition Period runs from March 30th 2019 to December 31st 2020 (subject to adjustment if Brexit is postponed).  All our EU rights continue during this period automatically.

REGISTRATION OF RESIDENCE

To qualify for the new status you and your family will need to prove that you are registered as resident as an EU citizen on December 31st 2020, rather than March 29th 2019. Otherwise the above advice about problems of registering apply.

THE NEW STATUS

Details of the new status are set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, and are available on British in Italy and British in Europe’s websites.  The Italian government has opted to go for the simpler “declaratory” route for obtaining the new status (Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement for those who are interested).  Details of what we need to do, if anything, to secure that status will be provided later, but there is less urgency as it will not kick in until January 2021.

AGGREGATION OF NATIONAL INSURANCE, INPS ETC CONTRIBUTIONS

Lastly, British in Italy would like to stress a point regarding retaining records and specifically in relation to your National Insurance contributions record.

Although the UK and the EU have agreed that the aggregation of social security contributions will continue post Brexit it could be subject to some difficulties, specifically for post Brexit contributions.  This might be due to language barriers, administrative hurdles and also political changes. It is for this reason that we would like to stress that if anyone has a National insurance contribution record in the UK that they go on the government website to take a printed record of their contributions.   Your full record, including years contributed is listed on the website. Just click on the following link and follow the instructions:

https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record

We would also suggest you spread the word amongst any Italian friends who may be working, have worked or have family members living and working in the UK.

CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS: LANGUAGE TEST REQUIREMENT

In the decreto di sicurezza which was introduced last year, you may remember that citizenship applications would now be subject to a possible 4 year waiting period instead of 2 years.

In the same piece of legislation an Italian language test was also introduced.   It is now  imperative  that your certificate of the language test is now uploaded with your other documents if you have made or are intending to make a new citizenship application AFTER the  5th December 2018.   You can upload this under the ‘documento generico’ section. If you have submitted your application AFTER the 5th December 2018 and have not included your language certificate you will have your application automatically rejected. You will need to contact the Prefettura dealing with your application.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.  We hope you find this information useful and please forward it to as many British and Italians citizens who might be affected by any of these issues, as you know