EU states queuing to ensure rights to remain for UK expat residents

Published:  10 Jan at 6 PM
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Following on advice given by the European Commission to its member states, expats in a number of EU countries are now being assured of their rights to stay.

The EC’s call for generosity towards British expatriates living, working and retiring in Europe in the case of a no-deal Brexit is being heeded by an increasing number of EU member states, allowing the vast majority of expats to sleep better at night. The irony surrounding the EC’s welcome intervention is that the Commission seems to care more about expat Britons’ welfare than does the British government headed up by Theresa May. To date, the UK has committed to maintaining the living and working rights of its EU expats even although EU expats’ elderly parents will not be allowed in, but seems to have cared little for British citizens living overseas.

The Netherlands is the latest EU member state to confirm its commitment to its large UK expat community, reassuring Britons on their rights to stay after a no-deal Brexit. The news was received with relief, especially by those who’d chosen the country as a start-up base and those with rewarding jobs in the rapidly expanding Dutch tech sector. Several days earlier, Germany and Italy confirmed UK expats will be in no danger of becoming illegal immigrants on March 29, should a no-deal crash out of the EU be the final result, and the Czech Republic is now planning to introduce the same protection. Earlier still, Spain and France had given the same guarantees, causing sighs of Brit expat relief across botfavourite retirement destinations.

The not-so-good news is that another hurdle has to be overcome – that of the ongoing annual increases in the UK state pension – an essential benefit for Britons who don’t intend to repatriate at any time. Earlier this week, a government spokesperson announced the increase would be paid for the year 2019/2020, but nothing was said to suggest the increases would continue beyond that point. For Brits in Europe who’re entitled to the full state pension, this means an extra £220 a year, a sum which may seem small, but may just cover currency exchange costs after the expected post-Brexit sterling crash.
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