Living in France?

hgh 046When the EU referendum vote came out on the side of Brexit, the result naturally caused a good deal of consternation on both sides of the Channel. We’ve benefited from free movement and cross border trade over the last few years since we have been a member. For those expats already living over in France, as well as those thinking of moving to the country, these are pretty uncertain times.

While the UK isn’t looking to implement Article 50 until after Christmas, it could take more than a couple of years after that to finally iron out the details of Brexit. There was a lot of hysteria following the vote in the week or so afterwards with many saying that the rights of those living abroad would be impinged and that if Britain decided to impose border controls for Eastern Bloc countries, that could cause countries like France to be more severe in their regulations.

The truth is that, the legal situation for most expats should remain the same if Brexit is negotiated calmly and clearly in the wake of the out vote. That doesn’t mean there won’t be changes but if you are already living in the country then you should expect to maintain most of your rights. After all, there are French citizens working and living in the UK and there would be little point to damaging this relationship. The French economy also benefits from the expat community – perhaps not as much as somewhere like Spain, but significantly all the same.

The fact that Brits are still heading abroad to make new lives in France is perhaps a sign that most of us think that everything will be worked out to suit all parties. Yes, some have put their plans on hold. But if you realise that British people aren’t the only expats living in the country then you may get a clearer idea of what the future holds. There are plenty of American, Australian and New Zealand expats living there and they’re not currently members of the EU.

One thing that might change is the access to health care. At the moment, as a member of the EU, British expats have a reciprocal arrangement. This may well continue after the Brexit negotiations particularly with French people living widely in the UK. Hopefully, this will be the case, but if not it will simply mean using a different arrangement for health insurance, something that American and Australian expats do anyway.

Brexit might see many expats looking to get permanent residency in France. Those still thinking about moving there in the future and setting up home may have a few more hurdles to jump over. At the moment, one of the key problems is the devaluation of the pound which, hopefully, should sort itself as we get deeper into Brexit. That could also affect pensioners who are looking to retire as most pension schemes are index linked. For those looking to work, there is the added problem of whether they will have the right to under the new arrangements.

We have to wait until the dust settles before we begin to understand the full impact for expats living abroad in France. That could take a good few months at least and may not even be clear by the time we get round to implementing Article 50. In the meantime, the advice is to keep business as usual, those fingers crossed and enjoy French life to the full. It will undoubtedly work out for the best.

moving to France contact French Removals www.frenchremovals.co.uk