Brexit forces to repair the lack of consular aid to Spaniards in the United Kingdom

On June 24, 2011, the Consulates General of Hannover and Manchester were abolished through order AEC / 1792/2011.

In that text it was explained: “Identified the Consular Representations that, due to having changed the existing circumstances at the time they were created, are now less essential for the exercise of protection and consular assistance tasks for which they were opened.”

After two years of the beginning of that crisis in 2009, we wanted to cut back and those of us who are out without a voice or vote (a begged vote is a way of stealing it) could do little about this injustice that contributed even more to a loss of our rights, and in many cases to a feeling of helplessness on the part of our authorities.



A woman wearing a mask walks past a sign urging people to cover their faces in Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)

History was showing the error and the numbers of Spaniards packing their suitcases and reaching tens of thousands in these two countries did not change the minds of the different governments.

During all this time thousands of citizens that we remember, in a majority come to seek sustenance in jobs that were initially precarious, and who arrived without the economic cushion of the savings brought from Spain, arrived in the United Kingdom and had consular assistance that it did not correspond to the real need.

Passersby wear face masks as they walk the streets of Manchester.

Passersby wear face masks as they walk the streets of Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)

There are several factors that explain it, the main one being the lack of urgency in registering at the Consulate General of your demarcation.


Registration at the Consulate when you arrive at your new destination is mandatory … but if there is no punishment, fine or reprimand, the easy thing is not to “


Also, if you live in Liverpool, you have to travel to Edinburgh, missing a day of work. And you have to deal with a train ticket at a British price, which is around 160 euros for a round trip per person, or more than 4 hours by car (if you have a car), which seems impossible for a large part of the population to be registered.



It is the fish that bites its tail. If there are no registries, the need to increase consular templates is not demonstrated, so that users, faced with endless queues and very long deadlines, complain about the service in social networks, causing those who have not registered to lose any interest in doing so And the governments, if there is no data that will push them to make changes and increase budget items, then they don’t.

Brexit and the data that make the United Kingdom the main recipient in the world of Spanish emigration in the last two years, forced the need to rethink the reopening of the Manchester Consulate, which never had to close.

A man wearing a mask walks past a mural painted as part of the Cities of Hop festival in Manchester.

A man wearing a mask walks past a mural painted as part of the Cities of Hop festival in Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)


Unfortunately, in return the Consulate of Genoa has closed “


The arrival of proposals from the Council of Residents of Edinburgh, through me as Counselor for the United Kingdom in the General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad (CGCEE … you will not have heard of this body and I do not blame them), as well as campaigns together to the indefatigable companions of Maroon Tide in Manchester, they reflected how much a third Consulate General in the United Kingdom was missing.



The rulers in Spain know better than we do how much emigration helped in full years of economic crisis.

This drain of young people, not so young, families, trained professionals, “almost children” without work experience, and tens of thousands of workers who were left without a job or future in their country, were greatly reducing the unemployment rate in Spain, And imagine how much it would have grown if these titans had not decided to voluntarily leave their country … economically and socially expelled.

A man without a mask reads a newspaper outside a shop in Ancoats, north Manchester.

A man without a mask reads a newspaper outside a shop in Ancoats, north Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)

And I call them titans because I consider many of the emigrants I have met that way … without knowing English, with a family to support and doing as many hours as they could in chained jobs, with minimum wages and little chance of approaching the “average wage ”Of the country… and even so this desire to work that, in Spain, was faced with a wall, call it age, call it a lack of plugs, call it an economy that is not prepared to be creative and seems to only pull the beach bar and the beach .



But, it has helped many of them to have a long-term home, and not worry about going beyond the 50 barrier, that barrier that in Spain raises a guillotine over their heads and after which they lose their job. it will be very difficult to reengage in the job market.

A boy walks past a sign showing the Covid alert level as 'high', at Ancoats, north of Manchester.

A boy walks past a sign showing the Covid alert level as ‘high’, at Ancoats, north of Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)


Emigration is not tourism “


Emigration is that your children speak Spanish with a Yorkshire accent and do not go out to play in the streets with their cousins.

Emigration is not being able to go to your parents’ house on Saturdays, and that your children are practically unknown to their grandparents.

Emigration is not knowing in your first jobs abroad if they understand you, and pretending in those first jobs that you understand everything they tell you for fear of losing your job.

A woman wearing a mask walks with her shopping cart in Manchester.

A woman wearing a mask walks with her shopping cart in Manchester. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)




Emigration is an effort that is rewarded by a decent salary, by money to make ends meet, by a better future… from your bank account.

In the United Kingdom, this week will be the last in which we will suffer from having only two Consulates. This coming Monday, the Consul General of Manchester, Laura García Alfaya, seconded by the Chancellor, Iñaki Torrecilla Vilela, and a team of almost 20 workers, among them Sara or Pepe, will open the doors to the more than 30,000 Spaniards registered in this demarcation .


There are more than 30,000 Spanish emigrants, perhaps twice as many, and possibly now that they have a closer Consulate they will register “


This Consulate, apart from helping with bureaucratic procedures, has brought us hope with this team that they have formed. Not all are civil servants, the majority are emigrants moved out of Spain for the same reasons as the rest. Some of them won’t earn much above the minimum wage, let’s not forget that.

This Consulate and the changes that are being proposed, we hope they will be copied in Consulates of the rest of the world. For now, they give us hope.

Passers-by with masks on a Manchester street.

Passers-by with masks on a Manchester street. (OLI SCARFF / AFP)





Author Profile

David Casarejos

Chairman of the Northern UK Residents Council. Counselor for the United Kingdom in the General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad.

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