Friday March 1st, 2019, the Spanish Government adopted and act containing a number of contingency measures before the possibility of a no-deal Brexit (Real Decreto-ley 5/2019).
The declared objectives of this act are: first, to preserve the interests of Spanish and British citizens who exercised their right to freedom of movement before Brexit. Secondly, to preserve the normal development of trade flows and economic interests of Spain in the face of Brexit.
The act is based on the principle of reciprocity. It will enter into force on the day the EU treaties cease to be applicable in the UK, but its application may be suspended after two months if British authorities do not reciprocate.
Regarding the rights of citizens, the act will be applied to UK nationals and their family members, provided they resided in Spain at the time of Brexit. It also contains regulations concerning the situation of cross-border workers, professionals and civil servants, workers temporarily posted abroad, and European works council.
As a point of special interest to our clients, we observe that the registry certificates and the family member cards will remain valid for 21 months following Brexit. Before these 21 months have elapsed, they must apply for the documents according to their new situation as foreign residents in Spain.
The act adopts measures to guarantee social security contributions of Spanish nationals in the UK and vice versa, as well as the corresponding payment of pensions. It also guarantees healthcare in Spain, to be charged to the competent British entities, and university access in Spain for students from British or Gibraltarian educational systems up until the class of 2020-2021.
Chapters IV and V of the act regulate matters of economic activities and transport. Finally, the additional clauses regulate a variety of piecemeal matters such as application for academic recognition of diplomas obtained in the UK or the application of transport measures to Gibraltar.