Shameful British government treatment of UK expats

Published:  20 Feb at 6 PM
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Is the UK government punishing British expats for the decision to leave their country of birth?

It seems the Brexit issue has opened a huge can of worms as regards the UK government’s stance towards its citizens who’ve chosen to live overseas. It’s not just about the thorny issue of post-Brexit healthcare, it’s also about the fact that, however much they paid into the country during their residency, the little they continued to receive has been and is being eroded beyond belief. Starting with frozen pensions, which are likely to be applied at least in the event of a no-deal Brexit and continuing with the loss of access to affordable healthcare in their present countries of residence, plus the cruel decision to treat expat returnees for medical reasons as foreigners by not only charging them for healthcare but adding on a 50 per cent surcharge, Britain’s treatment of its expats is shameful, to say the least.

Of course, it doesn’t end there, as British expats are also to be subjected to December’s EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance notes, which state any access to the NHS may well be on a limited basis for UK expats whose primary residences are overseas, unless they return permanently to Britain. In addition, cold weather payments are generally not made to expats in, for example, Canada,and a housing white paper issued several weeks ago stated returning expatriates wishing to purchase a British home before they arrive in the UK will be charged a higher stamp duty rate, presumably to discourage them from returning at all.

In addition, returnees may well be forced to pay extra for their car insurance as most insurers don’t recognise overseas no-claims bonuses, and even buying a mobile phone contract may be disallowed for returning expats without a credit history. All the above on top of the fact that older expats who’ve lived in Europe for over 15 years weren’t even allowed to vote on an issue which is now destroying their lives and stealing their rights. It seems that, once a UK citizen exercises his or her rights to live in Europe or anywhere else on the plane, the rights of British citizenship no longer apply and expats become non-persons in the eyes of the UK government.
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