Where to now for thousands of devastated British retirees in Europe?

Published:  19 Nov at 6 PM
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Will Brexit finally wreck British dreams of a retirement in the sun?

By now, it’s common knowledge that the least important aspect of Brexit is the future for Britons who decided some years ago to leave the UK for a better, less pricey lifestyle. The loss of freedom of movement isn’t just bad news for holidaymakers and digital nomads, it’s mostly about the wrecking of dreams for hundreds of thousands of everyday British emigrants who made the choice based on their needs as retirement drew near.

Unless a miracle happens and Brexit ends up dying in Boris Johnson’s ditch, the carefully considered choices of many tens of thousands will be binned and it’s not yet known for sure what will happen to those desperate to stay exactly where they are. Considering the way British expats have been treated by their government during the useless negotiations to date, it’s likely a good number more will decide the UK isn’t their country any more.
The issue with leaving the UK post-Brexit is simple – where exactly to go now that it’s no longer possible to simply hop across the English Channel and turn right for Spain.

Potential options for would-be expat retirees aren’t exactly thick on the ground, with looking outside Europe the only realistic possibility at the present time. Asia’s appeal is one choice, with its comparative affordability, mostly hot weather and exotic destinations, but finding similar expat retirement communities to those in Spain, France and Portugal is almost impossible. Traditional British retirement havens such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada are an option for the wealthy, but for an everyday British couple they’re far too expensive and visa requirements can rarely be met.

Some 25 per cent of all British expatriates are retirees, with the vast majority now in Europe and totally unsure as to whether they’ll be allowed to stay and where to go if they aren’t. The vast majority of other destinations require either a far more generous pension than the UK’s meagre offering and, nowadays, visas are often linked to expensive private healthcare insurance. One thing’s for certain, no-one voted for the destruction of British hopes, dreams and lives, but that’s what it’s all about now.
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