Post Brexit expats may need residency visas to live in Europe

Published:  13 Sep at 6 PM
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According to the Home Office, Britons planning to emigrate to European Union member states may well need long-term residency visas.

European countries are favourite destinations for British citizens wishing to retire overseas, with the EU freedom of movement laws allowing easy access. The Brexit vote takes away freedom of movement, potentially wrecking the plans of many thousands of UK state pensioners searching for a lower cost of living and warmer weather.

Once Britain leaves the EU, freedom of movement will become a thing of the past, with pensioners looking to spend their last years in Spain, Italy, Portugal or Cyprus forced to apply for residency. As with residency in other countries worldwide, proof of income, savings, private health insurance and other guarantees will be strict requirements, shutting out many thousands of elderly British retirees.

Home Office sources are suggesting any new system allowing Britons to make a permanent move to EU member states will be based on the present requirements operating for non- European Union nationals. The nuts and bolts of the change are expected to become a major part of Brexit negotiations after Article 50 is triggered early next year.

It’s not currently expected that UK expats already established in EU member states will be forced to return to the home country, although visits to friends and relatives still in the UK may become subject to red tape in the form of visas for cross-border travel. The recent EU Commission’s announcement that a paid-for visa requirement for Brits travelling to mainland Europe is being considered is not a good sign.

France and Germany are in favour of the scheme, but British Home Secretary Amber Rudd is quoted as saying the UK may well retaliate by forcing visiting EU nationals to comply with a similar scheme. To confuse matters still further, Theresa May’s promise to fight for the best deal for Brits overseas has prompted an understanding that British negotiators may urge looser criteria or even exemptions for UK nationals wanting to move abroad within the EU.
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