More EU member states guarantee Brit expats grace periods after Brexit

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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Brexit hasn’t only been a UK nightmare – many of the 27 remaining EU member states are still attempting to decide what’s best for them.

A major concern for British citizens living as expats in EU member states has been the attempt to comply with time-dependent rules as regards legal residency post-Brexit. All 27 countries have been scrambling to present a solution for the half a million Brit expats caught in this disaster zone, with some managing better than others and Switzerland as well as Scandinavia still figuring out how to get it right. One point agreed on by all the member states is that their treatment of British expats depends on the UK’s treatment of their citizens living and working in the UK.

Reciprocity is the name of the game, with Britain holding the cards able to reassure its citizens overseas of their rights, but playing the game very close to its chest. This has left all those needing to organise their post-Brexit lives with no certainty about their futures – just two weeks before the UK is planning to quit the EU for good. Worse still, as regards the 27, it seems not one country has decided which rights if any to allocate to UK expats after October 31 should the UK cave in and allow full rights to EU expats within its borders.

The one essential point being missed by politicians and commentators alike is that no-deal is analogous with no transition period, with all that implies including no time to form new treaties but plenty of time to renegotiate, leaving British expats in limbo as regards every aspect of their lives. Their only visa-less travel options will be back to the UK, thus losing everything they’ve worked for and dreamed about including their homes overseas, their jobs, their friends and maybe even their families.

A few, mostly Northern European, countries are allowing Brits to stay until late in 2020, provided they have registered with the authorities and requested residency rights. This sounds good but, in reality, results will all depend on yet another round of negotiations during which Brit businesses and retirees in Europe will still be under the same stress and uncertainty as they are now.
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