BREXIT: AN END TO THE GOOD LIFE?
There are many reasons why people might need to move large sums of money back to the UK, but none can have had such a dramatic and rapid an impact as Brexit. Of the 4.5 million Britons who live abroad, just under a third have made their home in Europe. That means more than a million people are faced with tough questions over how the June 2016 referendum will affect their life. If you have already made the difficult decision to move back home, this guide offers some reassuring advice.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL ANXIOUS
Rights that British people have taken for granted for over 40 years are suddenly cards to be played at a negotiating table. The right to work, reside and own property in the European Union might soon be taken away. It’s true that nothing has yet been decided and both sides have many common objectives, despite all the rhetoric. After all, Europeans live and work in our country too. But the anxiety felt by 1,300,000 Brits abroad is all too real.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART (AND HEAD) IS
As things stand, British retirees who emigrate to Europe see their state pension rise by a minimum of 2.5% per year under the so-called “triple lock” system. Exiting the European Economic Area means the UK would need to negotiate individual reciprocal agreements to replace the current system. An impasse could lead to a reduction of 50k over next 20 years.
Non-EU citizens wanting to sell property in France are subject to crippling capital gains charges of as much as 49%. This contrasts to a tax of just 19% for EU citizens. In Spain, European citizens get preferential tax treatment, for example paying the same inheritance tax as locals. It’s unlikely the tax protections would be as comprehensive post-Brexit – if they remain at all.
Under current rules all UK citizens are entitled to the same services at the same cost as local natives. All bets are off post Brexit. If we leave the European Economic Area we’d likely lose the European Health Insurance Card which allows us to receive state-provided medical treatment free of charge. For older ex-pats who are dependent on local healthcare services, this might just be a risk too far.
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