Brexit news: the rights of European expatriates

Long-awaited by London-based European expatriates, the European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed on the terms of the post-Brexit transition period. It has been set for December 31, 2020 and not 2019 as announced earlier.


Will a work permit be required?

You don’t need a work permit to work in Great Britain for the time being, as in the rest of the EU. With negotiations with Brussels still ongoing, the fate of expatriates is not yet sealed. For the time being, Theresa May is proposing that Europeans who have already settled in the country should be allowed to stay, provided that there is reciprocity for Britons living in the European Union.

What status for expatriates in London?

With over 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK, expatriate issues are paramount in the ongoing negotiations. For the time being, it has been decided that the status of “established resident” will be created. But what does this mean? People who have been resident in the UK for 5 years will have this status. For those who have not reached 5 years of age by the time of Brexit (due at the end of October 2019), they will be given “temporary resident” status. They must then apply for “established resident” status.

A decision that does not meet with unanimous approval

Following the official declaration of the two statutes, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator said: “Prime Minister May’s comments appear to be part of an internal negotiation within the UK government and threaten to amplify some of the uncertainties present in people’s minds, which is regrettable. Mrs May’s proposal to distinguish between those arriving before March 2019 and those arriving during the transition period could lead to discrimination against EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU.”

A situation still in flux, some topics are still to be seen and before October 2019, decisions remain to be made. If you want to move to England, it’s best to leave before the official Brexit date or transition period. It will certainly be more complicated to leave after December 31, 2020.

British retirees in Europe

This is a major issue because there are so many of them. The question of medical insurance for Britons in Europe is a central one, and here’s some useful information that’s likely to change. British pensioners currently benefit from the S1 certificate, which gives them the same rights as pensioners in the country where they live.

British pensioners living in France will need to apply for a residence permit to benefit from the French PUMA healthcare system, paying social security contributions of 8% of their income. Read the specific article on Brits in France and Brexit: how to find health insurance for France? Buying a car, housing in France, schooling your children….etc. This applies to all Britons, including retirees.

For British pensioners living in Spain for more than 5 years, they will be able to be considered as permanent residents and enjoy the same access to state-funded healthcare as Spaniards. Those who have lived here for less than 5 years but more than a year, and who are registered with their local town hall, can also benefit under the “Convenio Especial” program, for a fixed monthly fee that varies according to your age (over or under 65).

Why take out medical insurance in the UK?

Regarding medical insurance in the UK, Brexit or no Brexit, given the medical costs in the UK and the shortcomings of the British healthcare system (long waiting times for cover, exclusion of cover for dental and optical care, limited access to GPs and public facilities only), it is advisable to take out a medical insurance complementary to the NHS or total if you do not benefit from the NHS.
In fact, international insurance gives you the opportunity to personalize your contract according to your care needs, and the changes in your life.

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