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GIBRALTAR

‘Gibraltar not for sale’: Britain’s Johnson

British foreign minister Boris Johnson on Sunday stressed that Gibraltar "will not be bargained away" during Brexit negotiations after the EU said Spain should have a say on whether any post-Brexit deal applies to "the Rock".

'Gibraltar not for sale': Britain's Johnson
Photo: JORGE GUERRERO/AFP
“Gibraltar is not for sale. Gibraltar cannot be traded. Gibraltar will not be bargained away,” Johnson wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
 
The EU proposal states that no agreement between the EU and Britain can apply to the overseas territory of Gibraltar without agreement between Britain and Spain.
 
This means that Madrid could potentially block Gibraltar's access to any trade deal Britain negotiates with the EU, opposition politicians in the Rock claim.
 
The British overseas territory fears that Madrid will seek sovereignty over the Rock.
 
Johnson insisted that the policy of the government “remains fixed and firm.
 
The sovereignty of Gibraltar cannot be changed without the express consent of the UK and the people of Gibraltar.”
 
“The status of Gibraltar has been unchanged since 1713. It made no difference when the UK joined the Common Market in 1973 and when Spain was not yet a member. It should make no difference today.”
 
The 6.7-square-kilometre (2.6-square-mile) peninsula on the southern tip of Spain, is home to about 33,000 people, with a key electronic gambling industry and offshore finance sector that deals with the whole of Europe.
 
Gibraltar's leader Fabian Picardo on Friday hit out at the EU proposal, branding it “unnecessary” and “discriminatory.”
 
“This is a disgraceful attempt by Spain to manipulate the European Council for its own, narrow, political interests,” Picardo said in a statement.
 
Gibraltarians want to stay British, as demonstrated in 2002 when they rejected a referendum on shared sovereignty with Spain.

BREXIT

Britons investigated for using fake documents to stay in Spain after Brexit

Spanish national police are investigating four British citizens who allegedly forged padrón documents in order to gain residency status in Spain after Brexit. One of them has been arrested in the Canary island of Tenerife.

Britons investigated for using fake documents to stay in Spain after Brexit

Spanish police investigators, through the Immigration Office of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, have discovered the possible existence of fraud in some post-Brexit residence applications.

After carrying out the necessary checks, they found that at least four residency application requests had been made using false documents which claimed their registration at their local town halls (padrón) were prior to Brexit coming into force.

British citizens wanting to apply for residency after Brexit and be protected under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) have to prove they were living in Spain before the end of 2020 through documents such as their padrón certificate or private medical insurance. 

READ ALSO: 16 things you should know about Spain’s padrón town hall registration

The four British nationals in question are based in the southern part of the Canary Island of Tenerife and one of them, who was on the island at the time of investigation, has been arrested. The investigation is ongoing and new arrests haven’t been ruled out. 

This is not the first time that fake applications and falsified documents have been used by British citizens to try and gain Spanish residency after Brexit.

Having WA protected status makes the residency application simpler and grants more rights than for Brits applying after Brexit as non-EU nationals, as they don’t have to prove a large amount of savings and they can apply for jobs in the same way as EU nationals, among many other advantages.  

In November 2021, the UK Embassy warned UK Nationals against submitting fraudulent residency applications – either directly or through a third party.

“They are particularly on the alert for forged healthcare insurance, padrón certificates and lease contracts, as well as people falsely claiming student status,” the embassy wrote on their Facebook page.

There were also reports of fraudulent gestores (similar to lawyers) in Spain targeting non-EU citizens ‘to help’ with residence applications.

Since Brexit came into force in 2021, the main reasons why UK nationals’ residency applications have been rejected have come as a result of them not ‘regularising’ their situation in Spain, in other words registering at the town hall or immigration office, as well not being able to prove that they were living in the country before the end of 2020 when the UK left the EU.  

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