The Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020. The UK has now fully left the EU and is now no longer bound by EU rules beyond the Trade Agreement reached in late 2020.
This page is an archive of our updates on how Brexit may affect expatriates living in or planning to move to Europe. You can browse our latest news articles on Brexit here.
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Brexit news and updates
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Posted 17 June 2020
No extension to Brexit transition period
The Brexit transition period will not be extended beyond 31 December 2020. What do expatriates need to do to secure their position? Read more
Posted 19 February 2020
What can UK expatriates expect from Brexit?
The The transition period offers some certainty for 2020 but what do you need to consider regarding residence, taxation, pensions & currency? Read more
Posted 3 February 2020
Brexit begins: What UK expatriates need to know about the Withdrawal Agreement
Now that Brexit has officially begun, has anything changed for UK expatriates living in Europe? Is there anything you need to do? While the transition period offers some certainty for 2020, the clock is ticking to lock in protections for residence, healthcare and pensions. Read more
Posted 16 October 2019
New French residence portal for Britons in case of no-deal Brexit
The French government has launched an online portal to make it easier for UK nationals living in France to secure residence in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Read more
Posted 9 April 2019
New Portuguese law secures UK expatriates’ rights
The Portuguese government has locked in residency and healthcare rights for UK nationals and their families in Portugal up to the end of 2020. Read more
Posted 7 March 2019
Spain locks in protection for UK expatriates in no-deal Brexit
The Spanish government has taken steps to guarantee residency and healthcare rights for UK nationals in Spain and Gibraltar after Brexit, so long as the UK reciprocates. Read more
Posted 6 February 2019
Spain’s no-deal Brexit plans safeguard rights of UK expatriates
The Spanish government’s Brexit planning safeguards residency, healthcare and voting rights for UK expatriates in Spain, even if there is no deal. Read more
Posted 4 February 2019
France reassures British expatriates with no-deal Brexit legislation
The French government has confirmed legislation allowing Britons to stay and access benefits in France even with a no-deal Brexit. Read more
Posted 30 January 2019
Portugal takes steps to welcome Britons, whatever happens with Brexit
The Portuguese government has confirmed Britons can stay and access benefits in Portugal, even with a no-deal Brexit, and clarified residency rights. Read more
Posted 25 January 2019
EU countries take action to reassure British expatriates
While there is still no certainty of what will happen with Brexit as the due date approaches, many British expatriates can find some reassurances in no-deal contingency planning within the EU27. We take a look at the latest developments for Britons living in France, Portugal, Spain and Malta. Read more
Older Brexit updates
Browse our latest news articles on Brexit
Posted 17 December 2018
Vote on Brexit deal must wait until 2019
Theresa May has delayed Parliament’s “meaningful vote” on Brexit until the week of 14 January. What went wrong with the first vote and can Brexit be stopped? Read more
Posted 27 November 2018
Brexit deal gets green light from EU27 and heads to UK Parliament
The Brexit deal put forward by Prime Minister, Theresa May, has been given the green light by EU leaders, effectively ending the first phase of negotiations and paving the way for the planned transition period. All eyes now turn to a UK Parliament vote in December to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Read more
Posted 20 November 2018
Brexit deal jumps major hurdle but UK government is divided
A Brexit deal is closer than ever as the Prime Minister garnered support from both the UK cabinet and EU negotiators for her draft withdrawal agreement. But with the UK government in disarray, a no-deal outcome is still possible. What are the key points of the deal on the table? Read more
Posted 26 October 2018
Goalposts shift for Brexit deal but transition could extend
In the original timeline for Brexit negotiations, the EU summit that took place in mid-October would have resulted in an agreed exit deal. However, as things stand, no final agreement has been reached and negotiations are behind schedule. So what happens next? Read more
Browse our latest news articles on Brexit
Posted 30 August 2018
UK addresses pensions issue in ‘no-deal’ advice papers
On 23 August, new UK Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, revealed a series of papers outlining the government’s advice for businesses and citizens in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
This included acknowledgement of a potential ‘cliff-edge’ for UK financial companies. Unless new arrangements are in place post-Brexit, British expatriates could stop receiving UK private pension and insurance payments as UK providers lose the authority to transact within the EU. The papers also admitted that access to UK bank accounts could be affected.
However, Mr Raab emphasised that he expected the UK would be able to reach agreement with the EU, insisting that he is “still confident that getting a good deal is, by far, the most likely outcome … that remains our top and over-riding priority”. Describing the payments problem as an “issue that we ought to be able to resolve”, he added that he expected “the kind of practical cooperation to make sure that contractual issues, whether pensions or otherwise, are navigated through”.
Under current rules, the payments issue is also set to affect EU companies, who will no longer be able to pay into UK bank accounts after Brexit. It is therefore in the interests of both sides to protect their citizens and businesses by avoiding a cliff-edge.
The UK government has already put plans in place to extend trading rights for EU financial companies in the UK through a ‘temporary permissions regime’ for up to three years after March 2019. However, the EU has not yet done the same for UK businesses operating in the EU.
The likely sticking point here is regulation. Once the UK is outside the EU, it no longer has to abide by the rules of the bloc, which means that standards for financial activity and consumer protection may not line up on both sides. As such, reciprocation is not so straightforward; UK businesses may have to agree specific arrangements with the financial regulators for each country they operate in within the EU/EEA.
In its guidance papers, the UK government reiterates that both sides have an interest in establishing a solution and avoiding a no-deal situation:
“A scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome.”
So why issue preparation papers for a no-deal Brexit? Mr Raab explained that a no-deal outcome “is not what we want and not what we expect”, but “we must prepare for every eventuality”. The government’s guidance notes advise that, rather than being “alarmed”, people and businesses “should be reassured that we are taking a responsible approach, ensuring the UK’s exit can be as smooth as possible in all scenarios”.
The Brexit secretary emphasised that the withdrawal agreement was about 80% agreed with the EU and that he plans to “step up the pace and intensity” of negotiations:
“If, as I expect, the EU responds with the same level of ambition and pragmatism, we will strike a deal that benefits both sides.”
On the expatriates’ pensions concern issue specifically, he was keen to provide reassurance. Whatever happens, he said he expected “cooler heads would prevail… It’s hardly in the interests of southern Spain [for example] to do harm to the British pensioners living out there.”
Read more about pension planning for expatriates
Posted 25 June 2018
Two years on from the Brexit vote, UK outlines fast-track residency scheme
The date of 23 June marked two years since a slim majority of the UK public voted to leave the EU. Two days before the anniversary, the UK government announced its fast-track residency application process for EU citizens in the UK.
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, revealed the new scheme on 21 June, designed to allow EU citizens the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit and acquire the “settled status” required to access the same benefits as UK nationals.
The process for formalising UK residency
Applicants will need to answer three questions online or via a smartphone app – confirming their identity, that they have no convictions, and that they currently live in the UK – and upload a photograph. The answers will then be checked against a database, with a decision arriving within two weeks (the current process to acquire permanent residency can take around six months). Mr Javid expressed that “our default position will be to grant status”, with refusals only issued for “a very serious reason” .
The cost of applying will be £65 per adult (half-price for children) but free to those who already have proof of residency in the UK. While there would be no physical documentation, an ID number would be issued to demonstrate the right to remain and access benefits.
The timeline and rules for applications
With plans to open the scheme to applications in the autumn, the aim is for it to become fully operational between the new year and the Brexit due date in March. The application window is expected to stay open until around June 2021.
Crucially, only those who arrive in the UK before the end of the proposed transition period – 31 December 2020 – will be considered. While EU nationals who have been in the country for five years or more can acquire settled status, others will need to apply for “pre-settled status” to remain in the UK, which can be exchanged for full settled status after five years. Existing partners and close family members will be able to join settled residents in the UK at any time under a “lifetime right”.
Implications for British expatriates in the EU
The EU has not yet unveiled a similar settlement scheme for Britons. Currently, whether non-EU nationals need to hold official documentation to prove their residency depends on the country. While it is possible that the EU27 may present a unified process to regularise the status of Britons post-Brexit, it is more likely that it will be down to the individual member states to set their own rules.
Previously, both sides had agreed that the process of obtaining settled status would be “transparent, smooth and streamlined”, and free of charge for those who already hold permanent residency.
Until we know more, it is advisable for British expatriates to do everything they can to demonstrate “settled status” in their EU country of residence.
It is also crucial to note that, while the transition period is set to run until the end of 2020, this is not guaranteed and the residency process could potentially take several months, especially as applications surge in volume. If this affects you, therefore, take action as soon as possible to ensure you are able to secure your position in your EU country of choice.
Blevins Franks has developed a series of PDF guides that outline the key steps towards securing the right to stay in Spain, France or Portugal after Brexit.
Download our guide to Brexit
Posted 18 May 2018
Should you be worried about a Brexit ‘cliff-edge’ for your money?
Attention has recently focused on a potential aspect of a post-Brexit world – whether expatriate Britons receiving private pensions or insurance payments from the UK will lose access to their money.
As things currently stand, many UK businesses who conduct financial transactions in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) are set to lose the legal right to continue cross-border trading after Brexit. Read more
Posted 24 April 2018
Good news for UK nationals about Spanish Succession Tax and Brexit
A Spanish Supreme Court ruling could be good news for Britons concerned about facing higher Spanish succession and gift taxes as non-EEA citizens after Brexit. Read more
Posted 21 March 2018
Brexit transition deal offers more scope to secure residency
Britain and the EU have proposed delaying the full effects of Brexit until after 2020. A joint statement on 19th March puts forward a 21-month transition period starting from the date Britain formally leaves the EU on 29th March 2019.
While this is reassuring news for expatriates, the clock is still ticking to lock in existing benefits and get ready in time. Read more
Posted 21 March 2018
One year until the Brexit due date: What we know and don’t know
With only one year to go until Britain officially leaves the EU, we explore how things stand for expatriates in the EU on residency rights, pensions, healthcare and taxation under the proposed Brexit deal.
Posted 03 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May publishes message to UK nationals living in Europe
Following the agreement on citizens’ rights reached between the UK and EU in December 2017 (which will be included in the overall withdrawal agreement), the UK Government published a letter the Prime Minister wrote to UK British expatriates living in Europe. Read more
Posted 09 December 2017
Brexit breakthrough on citizens’ rights – what it means for you
A landmark agreement has been reached in Brexit talks which should cement the rights of UK citizens resident in other EU countries.
The key for UK nationals living abroad is that for those with permanent residence status it preserves the rights of residence locally in that EU country, including health benefits.
Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented a joint “progress report” on 8th December outlining the key areas of agreement. Focusing on the three priority issues – citizens’ rights, the Irish border and financial settlement – it paves the way for the EU27 to unlock the next phase of negotiations. The the key aspect we feel is the implications for citizens’ rights and particularly UK nationals living in – or planning to move to – other EU countries.
What does this mean for you?
Three key points noted in the joint UK-EU statement are that:
‘UK nationals…who are legally resident in the host State by the specified date, fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement’
‘…those already holding a permanent residence document issued under Union law at the specified date will have that document converted into the new document free of charge.’
‘…Rules for healthcare… will follow Regulation (EC) No 883/2004. Persons whose competent state is the UK and are in the EU27 on the specified date (and vice versa) … continue to be eligible for healthcare reimbursement, as long as that stay, residence or treatment continues.’
We consider below the implications for UK citizens who are:
1) Registered as permanently resident in another EU country
Our clients who already have official permanent residence status in their country of residence, such as Spain, France, Portugal, Cyprus or Malta, can look forward to a secure future in their chosen country of residence.
The confirmation that the rules for healthcare will continue for those who are resident in an EU27 country on the specified date is particularly welcome. It means that those who qualify for healthcare under current rules will continue to do so as long as they remain resident in countries such as those noted above.
2) Have a home in an EU country – but are not registered as tax resident
If you wish to become permanently resident in an EU country, the clock is ticking.
You need to start looking at obtaining official permanent residence status ahead of the UK’s withdrawal date (currently scheduled for 29th March 2019). We would encourage you to start that process now as there are likely to be lots of others applying to the authorities.
We can advise you how to benefit from the local tax rules to ensure you are in the best financial situation to enjoy life in your chosen country.
3) Living in the UK and considering moving to another EU country
The joint statement serves as a call to action to accelerate your plans so that you can become a permanent resident in your country of choice ahead of the withdrawal date in March 2019.
We can advise you on local rules, laws and taxation. Talk to us as soon as possible, however, as the steps you take in the UK in this tax year can have a positive impact on your situation, compared with delaying them until you have changed your residence.
To let us help guide you on the implications for your situation please contact your Partner or Private Client Manager if you are an existing client, or contact us here if you are new to Blevins Franks.
The points above are based on the Joint UK-EU Joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union put to the meeting of the European Council (Article 50) of 14-15 December 2017, and which it is planned will subsequently be incorporated into the overall withdrawal agreement.
Browse our latest news articles on Brexit
Posted 08 December 2017
Expatriates’ rights safeguarded with Brexit breakthrough
A landmark agreement has been reached in Brexit talks to cement citizens’ rights on both sides. What does this mean for expatiates in the EU? Read more
Posted 30 November 2017
Crunch-time for Brexit talks – can we move on?
After six official rounds of Brexit talks, December is the crucial month when the EU27 decides whether “sufficient progress” has been made to move Brexit negotiations to the next phase. We explore the remaining sticking points and implications for expatriates. Read more
Posted 23 October 2017
Spain welcomes British expatriates, deal or no deal
The Spanish foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, has reassured UK nationals living in Spain that they are welcome to stay, whatever happens with Brexit.
With Brexit negotiations considered to be behind schedule – and deadlocked in some key areas, including the ‘divorce bill’ – there is much speculation about a ‘no deal’ scenario. If Britain is unable to secure a withdrawal agreement in time for the day the UK leaves the EU, this could potentially leave citizens on both sides in limbo regarding their rights.
The commitment from Spain
Spain has been the first country to offer British expatriates the right to remain – in any event. “If there is no deal”, Dastis stated, “we will make sure that the lives of ordinary people who are in Spain – the UK people – are not disrupted.”
“Over 17 million Brits come to Spain every year and many of them live here or retire here and we want to keep it that way as much as possible”, he added.
While other member states have not yet offered such a public commitment, this is encouraging for expatriates elsewhere, as countries enjoying a similarly close relationship with the UK may follow Spain’s lead.
Theresa May’s call for urgency on citizens’ rights
However, for British Prime Minister Theresa May, a no-deal outcome on citizens’ rights is not an option. Having vowed to “put people first”, she stated that she was looking to secure reciprocal expatriate rights with “an urgency”.
In an open letter to EU citizens posted on her Facebook page, she claimed that they are “in touching distance” of finding an agreement on rights for citizens on both sides.
“I have been clear throughout this process that citizens’ rights are my first priority”, she continued, “and I know my fellow leaders have the same objective: to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU.”
On completion of a two-day summit on 20th October, the EU27 agreed to start internal discussions about the next phase of negotiations, which would move beyond divorce-related topics to explore the future relationship. This includes considering Theresa May’s proposed two-year transition period (potentially delaying Brexit until 2021) as well as trade arrangements. However, before official talks can begin, the UK is expected to provide a clearer financial commitment and more concrete proposals on citizens’ rights and the Irish border. The EU27 is set to decide on 14th December whether “sufficient progress” has been made to move onto this next phase.
The Prime Minister has stated that they are examining the divorce bill “line by line” to reach an agreeable settlement and shift negotiations onto the next stage as soon as possible.
See our latest news articles on Brexit
Posted 03 October 2017
Brexit talks offer more certainty on citizens’ rights
The fourth round of Brexit talks ended with the UK and the EU reaching more agreement on some key areas affecting expatriates… Read more
Posted 27 September 2017
Freedom of movement could stay until 2021
Britain has entered the fourth round of Brexit talks in the wake of a high-profile request for a two-year transition period from the Prime Minister.
Speaking in Florence on 22 September, Theresa May pledged that Britain would continue to follow EU rules until 2021 – including freedom of movement for EU citizens in Britain – in return for uninterrupted access to the single market.
This offer is widely seen as an attempt to break a deadlock in Brexit negotiations and avoid a potential ‘cliff-edge’ for citizens and businesses on both sides in March 2019.
How did the EU respond?
While this was “a step forward” according to EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, he stressed that the “concrete implications” needed to be laid out in the formal negotiations. In the past, he has made it clear that a transition deal is possible only if the UK meets three key conditions:
- accepting free movement of EU citizens
- paying its share of EU bills
- maintaining the authority of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over legal matters.
Is this achievable?
In her speech, the Prime Minister agreed that Britain could not expect to continue receiving EU benefits without meeting its obligations. However, her proposals dampen free movement by requiring all new arrivals into Britain after 29 March 2019 to be registered.
Also, so far, she has only agreed to pay a divorce bill of around €20 billion up to 2020, falling short of the estimated €50-€100 billion payment expected by the EU. Another issue that may threaten a transition deal is Britain’s reluctance to allow the ECJ to override British courts. However, the Prime Minister has now offered more flexibility by signalling a future role for the ECJ in settling disputes on British soil.
Theresa May also offered to incorporate legal protections for EU citizens into UK law to address concerns that “over time, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens overseas will diverge”. This offers more certainty than previous proposals, which would have allowed MPs to alter EU citizens’ rights.
While everything still depends on how negotiations develop, European Council president, Donald Tusk, welcomed Britain’s “constructive and more realistic” tone. Following a meeting with the Prime Minister in Downing Street while negotiations took place in Brussels, he regarded the end of Britain’s initial “having a cake and eating it” approach as a positive step towards securing mutual agreement.
See our latest news articles on Brexit
Posted 29 August 2017
Britain spells out its position prior to third round of Brexit talks
By releasing seven policy papers in as many days, the UK has gone into the latest round of Brexit negotiations with some of its cards laid on the table. So what more do we know as the latest discussions get underway?
UK pushes for earlier trade talks
The UK’s series of policy papers was published in the third week of August to “inform discussion” with the EU27 in the next round of negotiations. These outline how it wants to progress in certain areas, with a particular focus on trade and customs.
However, before discussing how the future relationship with Britain would work post-Brexit, the EU27 want to stick to the original timetable by focusing on immediate issues to do with Britain leaving the EU – including citizens’ rights. Chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, stated that trade talks could only begin after “sufficient progress” has been made to agree reciprocal residency rights, the border with Ireland and the UK’s divorce bill.
Onward freedom of movement
One key area that is still unclear is whether Britons living in an EU country after Brexit would be able to move freely to another country within the bloc. In a letter to the House of Lords, Brexit minister David Davis claimed that the EU27 will only agree to lock residency rights for UK nationals in their country of residence at the point of Brexit. So if, for example, a Briton resident in Portugal wanted to relocate to Spain after April 2019, they would be unable to do so without having to apply for visas and permits as a non-EU citizen.
“We have questioned whether this is consistent with the principle of reciprocity” said Davis, “and also with the Commission’s desire to protect rights currently enjoyed under EU law. This will be the subject of further discussion in due course.”
As with most issues, much depends on citizens’ rights being mirrored on both sides. Whether Britain can secure more flexible terms for existing expatriates in Europe depends on the concessions agreed for EU citizens living in the UK. As it stands, Theresa May’s government is reluctant to extend the automatic right to return to EU citizens who leave Britain for more than two years, unless they can prove strong ties to the UK.
Britain relaxes stance on European court
One of the policy papers suggested a potential softening of the government’s position on how much power the European courts should have on UK law after Brexit.
The EU have maintained that EU citizens must continue to be protected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) while living in the UK post-Brexit. But the Prime Minister has insisted that with Brexit the UK would “take back control of our laws” and have authority over disputes within its borders.
Although the position paper indicates the UK still wants to sever the “direct jurisdiction” of the ECJ in March 2019, it suggests European courts may have a role in resolving future disputes. While it is not clear what form ‘indirect’ involvement would take, for disputes concerning citizens’ rights, for example, this might mean an independent tribunal made up of both UK and EU judges.
As this issue has been such a ‘red line’ for both sides in negotiations so far, this could be an indication that a compromise could be reached in this area. And as the ECJ permeates many different aspects of Britain’s relationship with the EU including trade and citizens’ rights, agreement here could smooth the path for other issues on the table.
Posted 21 July 2017
Citizens’ rights still a priority but agreement yet to be reached
The second round of Brexit talks has uncovered a “fundamental divergence” between Britain and the EU on how to protect citizens’ rights. While both sides have reiterated that providing certainty for expatriates is still a shared priority, they have different views on how this should be achieved.
What do they agree on?
Following four days of discussions, Chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, and UK Brexit minister, David Davis, confirmed there were several points of agreement. “We have looked at each other’s proposals in depth and identified many concrete areas where we agree as well as areas where there will be further discussion, which will be a priority for the next round” said Mr Davis.
A joint policy paper summarising the UK and EU positions on citizens’ rights shows that areas where both sides have reached agreement include:
- Maintaining existing conditions for acquiring residency
- Providing permanent residents with the same social security, healthcare, education, training and employment opportunities as citizens
- Continuing lifetime State Pension payments to eligible expatriates
What do they disagree about?
The main disagreement concerns how citizens’ rights would be guaranteed. “Citizens must be able to find the legal certainty which they need for their day-to-day lives”, Mr Barnier explained, arguing that this could only be achieved through protection from the European Court of Justice. Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled this out, insisting that any dispute over EU citizens’ rights in the UK post-Brexit should be a matter for British courts.
Barnier stated that their views on expatriate rights also differed when it came to guaranteeing “the rights of future family members or the exports of certain social benefits.”
Other areas of disagreement – which are tabled for the next round of discussions – include:
- Ongoing freedom of movement for expatriates – the UK wants its nationals to be able to change their country of residence within the EU post-Brexit. The EU will only agree if there are similar arrangements for EU citizens who temporarily leave the UK: “in order to maintain the right of UK citizens to move around the EU27 this would require the UK to reciprocate by allowing EU citizens to continue to moving around freely” said a senior EU official.
- Evidence of permanent residence – the UK wants EU nationals currently in Britain to reapply for residency documentation, with similar proof of residency available for British expatriates in the EU. The EU does not see this as a priority and is prepared to recognise residency without requiring legal documentation.
- Voting rights – the UK wants to protect existing rights of UK/EU citizens to vote and/or stand in local elections in their host state. The EU see this as a privilege of EU membership that should not continue post-Brexit.
- Healthcare – the UK wants to keep the European health insurance card (EHIC) offering British nationals free or low-cost state-provided healthcare in Europe. The EU’s position on this is currently unclear.
What happens next?
Mr Davis said talks had been “robust but constructive” and that “getting to a solution will require flexibility from both sides”. As well as focusing on citizens’ rights, the next round of discussions – due in August – aim to agree the value of the ‘divorce bill’ payable by Britain, alongside other separation issues. After another two rounds of talks, Barnier is due to make recommendations to EU leaders at a summit in October.
Meanwhile, in September the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will be debated in Parliament. This sets out how the UK government will convert all EU laws – including around 12,000 EU regulations – into British laws on the day after Brexit, from which point it may “amend, repeal and improve” each law as required. The Bill also aims to sever Britain’s bond with the European Court of Justice.
Posted 28 June 2017
Proposed post-Brexit deal maintains pension and healthcare rights
British Prime Minister Theresa May has published the details of her “fair and serious offer” on the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit. The 15-page proposal sets the challenge for the EU27 to match two key elements of the deal:
“Firstly, UK nationals in the EU must be able to attain a right equivalent to settled status in the country in which they reside. Secondly, they must be able to continue to access benefits and services across the member states akin to the way in which they do now.”
It also includes a commitment from the government to protect existing pension and healthcare provision to British expatriates living in Europe. Theresa May stated in her speech to Parliament that, so long as mutual agreements were in place, “the UK will continue to export and uprate the UK State Pension and provide associated healthcare cover within the EU”.
This is reassuring for expatriates concerned that State Pension payments would be frozen post-Brexit, as they are currently for UK nationals living outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Now, so long as Theresa May can secure a reciprocal deal with the EU27, British pensioners living in the EU can expect to continue receiving annual increases in the State Pension.
It also provides some comfort that existing entitlements to free healthcare may continue for Britons in Europe after Brexit. The proposal states the government will “seek to protect” current healthcare arrangements. For expatriates, this means healthcare costs would continue to be reimbursed by the UK through the S1 system (or similar), and that holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would remain eligible for free or reduced healthcare when visiting another EU country.
Other key points in the document, focusing on proposed rights for EU citizens in the UK, include:
- The ‘settled status’ available to EU citizens with five years’ continuous residence in Britain will offer the same treatment as UK citizens for healthcare, education, benefits and pensions.
- The cut-off date for eligibility will be negotiated but will fall between 29th March 2017 and 29th March 2019.
- After the cut-off date, a ‘grace period’ of two years will avoid a “cliff edge” by allowing EU citizens to remain in Britain temporarily as they apply for settled status. Post-Brexit, EU citizens with settled status can bring over family members on the same terms as British nationals.
- The residency registration process will be “as streamlined and light touch as possible”. Some technical requirements currently needed under EU rules will be removed, like having to demonstrate comprehensive sickness insurance.
- The deal applies to all of the UK as well as Gibraltar, and will be extended on a reciprocal basis to nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Irish citizens will not be required to apply for permanent UK residence.
In her speech to Parliament, Theresa May reiterated that any agreement must be reciprocal “because we must protect the rights of UK citizens living in EU member states too”.
In a tweeted response to the proposal, Chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, agreed with the goal for continued reciprocal rights, but added: “More ambition, clarity and guarantees needed than in today’s UK position”.
Posted 23 June 2017
May reveals her “fair and serious offer” for EU citizens in the UK
In her first move following the onset of Brexit negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to let EU citizens stay in the UK – so long as a reciprocal agreement is in place for Britons living in the EU.
“I want to give those EU citizens in the UK certainty about the future of their lives” she stated, “but I also want to see that certainty given to UK citizens who are living in the EU.”
Addressing the EU27 in Brussels at the European Council Summit, she outlined plans to offer a “settled status” to those who have lived in the UK for five years. This would allow them access to healthcare, education, pensions and similar benefits to those available today.
Although she gave no details on the cut-off date for eligibility, she said there could be a two-year grace period to allow people to “regularise” their residency status. There would also be a simpler application process than the current 85-page residence form.
Both sides have made it clear that locking in reciprocal rights for citizens is a top priority, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling Mrs May’s offer “a good start”. However, one sticking point on securing agreement could be who has the authority to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in Britain. Theresa May has stated that anyone resident in the UK should be governed by British law, not the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Mrs May is due to provide more details on the offer on Monday 26th June.
Posted 20th June 2017
Citizens’ rights stay top of the list as Brexit timetable is laid out
Official Brexit talks began on Monday 19th June. The UK Brexit Minister, David Davis, met with chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, to discuss the timetable and priorities for the negotiations ahead. In an official press conference following the day’s discussions, both men confirmed that securing reciprocal rights for citizens remains at the top of the agenda.
Davis revealed the government plans to set out the UK’s “offer” for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens on Monday 26th June. The next stage of talks – set to focus on this issue – are then due to begin in the week beginning 17th July.
Following citizens’ rights, the next priority will be Britain’s ‘divorce bill’ before moving on to other issues to establish a “fair deal” on a new “strong and special partnership”. One week per month has been earmarked until October for subsequent discussions in what Davis claims is an “eminently achievable” timetable, especially with regards to agreeing the rights of citizens.
Davis also indicated that there has been no change in the government’s intention to pursue a form of ‘hard Brexit’ by removing the UK from the single market and seeking a unique customs arrangement.
See our latest news articles on Brexit
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