Study shows majority of EU based expats have Brexit fears

Published:  22 Apr at 6 PM
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A recent study has revealed that two thirds of UK expats living in European Union countries are concerned that Britain’s leaving the EU would have significant negative effects on their lives.

The poll, carried out on behalf of an investment and financial advisory company, involved expatriates in France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Germany. Just over two-thirds of respondents admitted they were anxious about the outcome Brexit, with 24 per cent unconcerned and eight per cent saying they did not know. According to analysis of the results, concerns ranged across all expat income brackets and age groups as well as being evenly distributed across the expat communities in the countries involved.

Other polls attempting to predict the outcome of the June 23 referendum suggest that the Remain and Leave campaigns are running parallel as regards supporters, but the surveys are being conducted mostly in the UK with its different issues and concerns. Expat respondents’ main concerns focus strongly on the effect of a Brexit on the exchange rate.

Sterling is expected to fall sharply against the Euro, affecting those relying on investment income as well as those on UK state pensions. Property prices are also expected to fall, and a steady decrease in the number of prospective purchasers is likely, leaving expats wishing to return to the UK unable to do so.

UK Expats working in the EU are worried about the security of their jobs should free movement within the EU no longer be available as a right. Expat business owners are unable to get reliable information about their status should they become non-EU citizens, and are unsure about further investment as a result.

Pensioners living in Europe are now being warned that, should the UK vote to leave, their pension rights may be affected. In a statement in parliament, Pensions Minister Ros Altman stated that in the event of a Brexit there would be ‘no requirement under EU law covering the continuation of pension rights if Britain left the EU’. She added that a raft of uncertainty is at present preventing clarification of possible processes to protect expat pensioners. The full UK state pension is payable to expats living in the Eurozone, but there are no guarantees that frozen pensions will not be introduced should the UK leave Europe.
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