Brexit threats affect Brits at home and abroad

Published:  29 Jun at 6 PM
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The full effects of Britain’s leaving the EU won’t be felt until two years of negotiation are done and dusted, but the reality is that the majority of changes won’t benefit either UK expats or UK residents.

The 40 years’ norms of travel, passports, jobs overseas and in the UK, visas, immigration, free movement and more will all be turned on their heads once the UK finally withdraws from the EU. It’s only now that many British citizens who voted Leave due to immigration concerns are realising they’ve not been told the whole truth about the effects on everyday people of leaving the European Union.

UK expats living in EU member states may get fewer visits from British friends and family due to the decline in the value of sterling. EU membership meant cheaper tickets and accommodation linked to the strong pound sterling, and popular UK based low-cost airlines may not be able to fly between European holiday hotspots.

Another added cost of Brexit may not have been realised – that of replacing all British passports due to the European Union tag on the covers. It’s fairly straightforward if not exactly cheap for British residents, but for expats overseas replacing a passport can be an expensive nightmare. Passport replacement won’t be necessary until Britain’s official exit, but long delays may be caused due to excessive demand at the time.

A major concern for Brits overseas is the loss of the right to free heathcare via the European Health Card. Whatever form negotiations may take, this perk of EU membership is sure to end, necessitating either a very healthy bank balance or expensive private health insurance. This alone may be the last straw as regards returning to the UK for many retired UK state pensioners in Europe, thus putting even more pressure on NHS services.

Access to jobs and education in European countries is also under threat, along with jobs in the UK. The high cost of university education in the UK has sent huge numbers of British students to study at universities across Europe, many of whom are on EU scholarships. Job seekers will find it’s far more difficult to work in EU member states, limiting opportunities for an entire generation.

For the estimated three million Brits retiring, running businesses or in employment in EU member states, it can’t get any worse even if they’re not forced to return to the UK. Visas and work permits will be more difficult to get, and those who’ve managed to keep their jobs will be under increased pressure should the predicted recession happen.
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