France Rights, the iceberg, and the next six months
Dear France Rights followers and supporters
As we approach the end of the transition period, we want to outline to you all a bit about what France Rights will be doing and how we'll be working until the end of the application grace period, 30 June 2021. We want to do that because it's important for us to be transparent about what we do, and hopefully it will also help everyone know how to get the best out of our page and website.
Monitoring the implementation of the WA in France
Once the décret and arrêté have been published and our website is up to date, France Rights' primary role will be the overall monitoring of how implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement is working across France. As you know, we're the French arm of the EU-wide advocacy group British in Europe - Kathryn and Kalba have both been BiE steering team members for 4 years - and we're working there at monitoring implementation right across the EU. France is seen as a key country for evaluating the success of the citizens' rights chapter of the Withdrawal Agreement.
This means that much of our time will go into this rather than answering hundreds of individual questions on an ad-hoc/daily basis. There are many other places to ask questions about how to apply (see below), but France Rights is uniquely placed to monitor implementation and feed back and advocate on the issues that arise, because we have direct and long-established regular contact with not only the Embassy and the Ministry of the Interior but also the European Commission and and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office plus other relevant UK government departments and committees.
France Rights has always been a bit like an iceberg, with most of what we do hidden in the background ... but be assured that even though you may not always see or hear us, we are there, working in your interests!
Surveys and feedback
From time to time, as decisions start to be made across préfectures, we'll put up posts and/or run surveys asking for people's specific experiences of the application process. That way we can use your feedback to get a sense of what the issues might be to take up nationally and if appropriate with the Commission and FCDO. We'll also use the information to update and if necessary to amend our website.
We're not, however, completely dipping out of answering questions! Once every week or two we'll run a post as a Q&A info session, covering a particular subject or issue each time. That way we keep all the questions and answers on a particular subject together so that they can be referred to later.
We'll also post regularly with a 'question of the moment', covering the main questions that come up on thorny issues to do with residence, social security, etc and providing the information to answer them.
Beyond the deadline ...
We will keep our Facebook page and website live and updated until 30 June 2021, until the end of the application deadline. After that, our future will depend on what, if any, resources we have to continue. As you know, France Rights is run on a voluntary basis; by next June we will have been working continuously on citizens' rights for 5 years and for many, many hours each week; it's no exaggeration to say that lives, families and businesses have taken a real bashing. We'll keep you fully informed of any decisions that we take.
Where to go to ask questions about the application process?
If you have questions about how to apply, your first port of call is our website where we provide you with all the information that is available at any given moment. We only publish information that has either been officially produced or derives directly from legislation; if you're seeking information elsewhere, take care that you're not reading supposition or hearsay and that the person, place or group you're asking understands the legal basis of France's constitutive system.
You may find this page on our website helpful: https://www.francerights.org/information-vs-advice.html
If you need further help, we suggest that you contact one of several organisations that are funded to do this.
1. Four organisations have received grant funding from the FCDO to help people make their applications. Here are those organisations and their area/remit of cover - click on each to go to their website where you'll find details of the help they can provide.
The Franco British Network - covers Dordogne.
The International Organisation for Migration - covers Brittany, Normandy and Paris.
The Church of England: Diocese in Europe - currently covers Nouvelle Aquitaine.
SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity - covers forces veterans only, anywhere in France.
2. The British Embassy runs weekly Q&A sessions on its Facebook group; you need to post your question on Mondays, before 8pm, and they will be answered by 6pm on Thursday. You can find the page here: https://www.facebook.com/ukinfrance/.
3. The Your Europe Advice (YEA) service is run by ECAS operating under contract to the European Commission. It consists of a team of 65 lawyers who will give free and personalised advice, within a week. If you have a more complex question about your rights, you can contact YEA from this page: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/residence/brexit-residence-rights/uk-nationals-living-in-eu/index_en.htm - scroll down to the bottom of the page to the 'Get help and advice' button and follow the instructions.