Brexit threatens students, retirees and their dogs

Published:  1 Jul at 6 PM
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As if the situation post-Brexit wasn’t dire enough for UK expats living in EU countries, more threats are emerging, especially for students, long-stay retirees on the state pension and, unbelievably, their dogs.

Although at the present moment no-one is going to be deported from their country of residence after having their assets seized, more bad news about the effects of Brexit is coming out day by day. Brits living in Europe are by now familiar with the potential losses of free healthcare via the European Health card, the strong possibility of frozen pensions and the dreaded prospect of having to apply for visas for already held jobs.

The two-year minimum wait during which life is supposed to go on as usual is due to be a nightmare of insecurity, especially for retirees who’ve lived the good life for years. In most people’s minds, the term ‘expat’ doesn’t normally apply to British students studying in European universities, but Brexit could be just as devastating to those using the Erasmus+ EU programme.

Erasmus is open not just to university students, but also to youth and sports organisations and other forms of education and training. In addition, thousands of Brits opt for places in German universities every year, especially since the recent massive price hike in UK uni fees.

When asked about the ramifications of Brexit as regards student expats, a government spokesperson gave the same, evasive reply roughly translated as ‘after two years you’re on your own’. A similar reply was given regarding the plight of European students studying in the UK.

Those who can still afford to holiday in Europe should note that next year’s promised removal of roaming charges are not incorporated into British law and are an EU initiative. If deals aren’t made by the UK with a number of telecom companies during the next two years, roaming charges will apply to UK citizens and are likely to be increased.

Perhaps the cruellist effect of all will apply to dog-loving UK expats forced to return to the UK for economic reasons. The pet passport scheme is, of course, an European Union initiative, and will no longer apply to Britain once the country formally leaves. Older retired expats with much-loved doggy companions will be forced to leave them behind if they return to the UK, with only the wealthy able to afford the reintroduced six-month quarantine period.
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