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National Insurance, Healthcare and Health Professions

National Insurance

Pensions

I have contributed for periods in both Spain and in the UK. Will these periods be taken into account for the purposes of a pension as from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK)?

Yes, they will be taken into account pursuant to European Union (EU) law applicable to all periods of contribution up to 31 December 2020, and as from 1 January 2021 pursuant to the provisions of the Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the European Atomic Energy Agency, on the one hand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on the other hand.

Payment of pensions

I receive a Spanish or a British pension and am a resident in the UK, in Spain or in another Member State. Will my pension payments be settled after the withdrawal of the UK?

Yes, pensions recognised before the end of the Transition Period (31/12/2020) will continue to be settled in accordance with the principle of the exportability of benefits provided for in EU law provided that the periods have been met in the other country before 31 December 2020, in which case the pension will be recognised, whether before or after that date.

In default thereof, those recognised as from 1 January 2021 will be settled in accordance with the Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the European Atomic Energy Agency, on the one hand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on the other hand.

Unemployment Benefits

What will happen with unemployment benefits?

On 31 January 2020, the UK formally left the EU, and acquired the status of a third country.

The Transition Period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement under which the acquis communaitaire continued to apply to the UK ended on 31 December 2020.

On 24 December 2020, the principle of the Agreement on Future Relations was reached between the EU and the UK, which will provisionally apply until its definitive ratification.

As from 1 January 2021, the UK and Spain will retain their jurisdiction to manage Social Security benefits based on contributions made in their respective territories, under conditions of equality and non-discrimination.

Furthermore, as from 1 January 2021, the Agreement on Future Relations establishes, in relation to unemployment benefits, that those people who legally reside in an EU Member State or in the UK can aggregate periods of insurance:

  • Aggregation of periods of insurance:

- UK nationals that legally reside in Spain can validate all contributions made in EU Member States, including the UK, provided that their last job was in Spain.

- Nationals of EU Member States, of the European Economic Area and of Switzerland can validate all contributions made in the British Social Security system, provided that their last job was in Spain.

Furthermore, in regard to the recognition of benefits in Spain, for those cross-border workers that reside in Spain and work in Gibraltar, the periods of insurance will be taken into account, both before and after the final date of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

What situation do I fall under?

  • Which Member State should pay my unemployment benefits if I am a Spanish citizen that has worked in the UK?

Unemployment benefits will be recognised by the State where the last job was performed. If the most recent period of insurance was in Spain, the periods worked in both the UK and Spain will be taken into account.

To put it another way, if your last employment activity was in Spain, you should apply for unemployment benefits here and present the document issued by the UK that shows the periods worked in that country.

  • I work in Gibraltar; will the periods of work be taken into account when I apply for unemployment benefits in Spain?

The cross-border worker that resides in Spain but works in Gibraltar will have the periods of contribution in Gibraltar, both before and after the withdrawal date, taken into account for unemployment benefits, both if the last job was in Spain and if they have exercised their right as a cross-border worker in the United Kingdom and continue to exercise this for an uninterrupted period.

  • I have been a resident in the UK for a long time and, due to Brexit, return to Spain after 31 December 2020. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits?

In order to receive an unemployment benefit after returning to Spain you must obtain the document substantiating the periods of insurance and/or employment and benefits received in the UK.

According to the situation you are in, you may receive a contributory benefit based on contributions accredited in Spain before going abroad that have not been used or aggregate the contributions made in the UK if you work in Spain following your return.

Healthcare

If you are a Spanish citizen

If you are insured in Spain and want to travel to the UK (stay for tourism, temporary commutes for work) you should know that your healthcare there continues to be covered, from 1 January 2021, with the presentation of the European Health Insurance Card.

Information for British citizens

Introduction

Access to the Spanish public health system for people entitled to healthcare charged to the British health authorities (NHS) after the UK's withdrawal from the EU is guaranteed until 31 December 2020 under the Withdrawal Agreement reached in November 2019 between the EU and the UK and under the Protocol on Social Security Coordination as from 1 January 2021.

The guarantees offered by the Withdrawal Agreement are as broad as possible, maintaining the entitlement of UK nationals to continue receiving healthcare in all EU Member States under the same terms as if they remained EU citizens and vice versa.

1. UK nationals that are tourists in Spain

I am a UK national and wish to travel as a tourist to Spain. Will I be entitled to receive healthcare in Spain? What documents will I need to present?

Yes, the Protocol on Social Security Coordination under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the European Atomic Energy Agency, on the one hand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on the other hand, provides for this cover with the UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC) or the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Contact the British institution to see which documents substantiating your rights need to be issued.

2. UK national students in Spain

I am a British national studying a PhD/Master's Degree/Erasmus student in Spain. Will I be entitled to receive healthcare?

In principle you will be entitled to receive healthcare, but as far as this matter affects cover charged to the UK, it is not possible to provide exact information at this time.

3. UK nationals working and resident in Spain

3.1 I am a British national and work full-time in Spain. Will I be entitled to receive free healthcare? How can I prove this if asked to do so?

Yes, Spanish legislation guarantees healthcare to all workers registered with the Spanish Social Security system. In this case, the recognition of the right is automatic and you will not have to undergo any procedures.

You will be attended at the health centres that make up the National Health System by presenting the health card issued to you by the regional authorities with jurisdiction in your place of residence.

Health cards issued prior to the date of withdrawal will remain valid and be fully effective to authorise healthcare in Spain.

3.2 I work in Spain; will my family be entitled to healthcare?

Yes, a family member of a British national that works legally in Spain and is authorised to reside and indeed resides in Spain is entitled to healthcare.

This applies to the descendants of workers under the age of 26 and older if incapacitated provided that they are dependents and live with the worker, together with their spouse or civil partner.

3. 3 Which Spanish National Health System services are free of charge?

Holders of Spanish health cards and those who can substantiate their entitlement to healthcare in the UK or in Gibraltar do not have to pay to be attended by the Spanish public health system, since the cost of their assistance will be covered by Spain or the UK, which will refund the cost to the Spanish State.

3.4 If I am not considered to be an habitual resident in Spain, can I be asked to pay for healthcare?

Foreign visitors that do not have a health card issued by the Spanish National Health System or do not present a document accrediting health cover charged to British entities may be charged by the Spanish National Health System for services rendered.

3.5 How will scheduled treatments be affected by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU?

They will not be affected, since they will continue in a similar manner to those established in EU Regulations, pursuant to the provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK

4. UK nationals posted to work by their employer in Spain

I am a British national, my company is located in the UK but I have been temporarily posted to work in Spain. Am I entitled to healthcare?

Yes, both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Social Security Coordination guarantee that similar coordination rules to the EU Regulations will continue to be applied. A company may post a worker to another country and maintain their contributions in the country of origin.

As a posted worker you may worker temporarily in an EU country and remain registered with the British Social Security system for a period of two years during which time your social security rights, including healthcare, will remain unchanged.

5. UK nationals who are cross-border workers resident in Gibraltar

I am a British national and travel to work in Spain each day. Will I be entitled to healthcare?

This question is pending an agreement to be reached on its application in the territory of Gibraltar.

6. UK nationals who are pensioners under the British Social Security system and residents in Spain

In the case of UK pensioners resident in Spain, will their access to healthcare in their place of residence following Brexit be affected?

Their entitlement to healthcare will not be affected, which will continue on a similar basis to under EU Regulations, pursuant to the provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK.

Informative Note on the Agreement on Future EU-UK Relations in the field of the Coordination of Social Security Systems

The text of the Agreement on Future EU-UK Relations was received on 26 December 2020, which includes a Protocol on Social Security Coordination defining the rules that will govern relations between the two territories in relation to the social protection of citizens that have been or are subject to the legislation of one or more States under the scope of said agreement.

A preliminary analysis of the document leads us to some initial conclusions that will need to be completed in the near future once certain doubts on their scope and content have been clarified.

- The new Protocol will be in force, on the one hand, in the territory of the EU and of the European Atomic Energy Agency and, on the other hand, in the territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It will not apply in Gibraltar or have any effects in that territory.

- The new Protocol will apply to all people, regardless of their nationality, who have been or are subject to the legislation of one or more States and to the members of their family. Hence, by way of example, if you are a worker or self-employed and insured in Spain who then goes to the UK to work and becomes insured in that country, this Protocol on Social Security Coordination will apply to you.

- The new Protocol on Social Security Coordination includes most of the social security benefits within its scope of application that are currently included in EU Regulations. These specifically include:

o Healthcare, both in short stays (holidays; temporary work postings) and as a resident, with the same extension as the EU Regulations.

o Maternity and paternity benefits.

o Retirement pensions; invalidity (with some limitations in the UK) and survival.

o Unemployment benefits (non-exportable)

- The new Protocol does not apply to non-contributory pensions; such non-contributory economic benefits as family benefits; benefits for long-term care (dependency), or to non-contributory benefits under the Minimum Living Income, which remain outside of the material scope of application of the coordination regulations.

- The new Protocol takes on the basic principles of the coordination of social security systems: the principle of equal treatment; the principle of the assimilation of facts; the principle of the aggregation of periods of insurance accredited in different States; the principle of the export of benefits (with limitations on invalidity and unemployment benefits).

- A specialised Social Security Coordination Committee is set up as the body tasked with overseeing the correct application of the Protocol.

- The forms and documents issued in a valid format before the entry into force of the Protocol will remain valid and may be used during the Transition Period as established by the Specialised Committee, both by citizens in the exercise of their rights (E.g. the European Health Card issued before the entry into force of the Protocol for access to health services during a short stay in the territory of a country other than that of the insurance) and by liaison institutions and bodies for the exchange of information between institutions.

Medical History

What will happen with my medical history information?

Holders of health cards maintain the same rights, unless specific bilateral agreements are adopted between the UK and the Kingdom of Spain.

Eexercise of Health Professions

If I am a healthcare professional with a qualification obtained in the UK and wish to exercise my profession in Spain

Which authority should I send the application for the recognition of my professional qualification to?

Jurisdiction over the recognition for professional effects of foreign qualifications falls to the Directorate-General of Professional Organisation to enable the exercise of health professions over which the Ministries of Education and Vocational Training and of Universities have no jurisdiction:

- recognition for professional exercise in Spain of professions regulated in Annex X of Royal Decree 1837/2008, of 8 November.

- recognition of specialist qualifications in Health Sciences obtained in third countries.

After obtaining recognition, how can I exercise my profession?

Obtaining recognition does not mean, per se, that the applicant meets the other conditions required to exercise a health profession, such as compulsory association membership, not being disqualified or suspended for the exercise of a profession and having taken out civil liability insurance. It is also obligatory for the professional that fulfils these criteria to exercise their profession in a health centre authorised by the regional authorities where it is located.

Once the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is ratified, what procedure should I follow to apply for recognition of my qualifications?

The Royal Decree-Law adopting measures to adapt to the status of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a third country after the end of the Transition Period establishes that EU law will continue to be applicable, and hence those qualifications obtained in the UK will continue to benefit from EU rules on the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in other EU Member States.

You can find information on the procedures to follow on the web page of the Ministry of Health.

Is there any difference in the procedure depending on the nationality of the applicant from a third country?

The recognition or not for professional purposes of a specialist qualification from a third country is based on the verification of the skills acquired, which is independent of the nationality of the applicant, except for the provisions contained in the Royal Decree-Law adopting measures to adapt to the situation of the status of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a third country after the end of the Transition Period.

Access to specialised healthcare training places. What repercussions will Brexit have on access to rounds of selective tests for specialised healthcare training places?

British nationals will have access to specialised healthcare training places in the 2020/21 Round of Tests under the same conditions as the nationals of the other Member States of the EU/EFTA.

Non official translation


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