Brexit going to be 'cataclysmic' for expats!

  • Healthcare is my main concern
  • I have other more important concerns
  • Don’t know

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The National Assembly has just chaired a round-table discussion on British rights post Brexit. EU law professor Myriam Benlolo-Carabot said Brexit could be ‘cataclysmic’ for Britons’ rights in France unless otherwise agreed during the negotiations after article 50 is invoked.

Ms. Benlolo-Carabot pointed out that after Brexit, Britons would be “foreigners like any other” and that thus, they would “lose their special status and be subject to normal immigration rules”. She also stated that international law rules on acquired rights cannot be relied on; everything is up for negotiation once article 50 is triggered.

She doesn’t expect negotiations to be swift, stating “These can take up to two years but can be prolonged if the European Council decides unanimously to do so, which is very likely because there are bound to be matters which, in my opinion, will require considerably longer than that to sort out”.

The single biggest concern among British expats is the loss of EU citizenship, and the ensuing potential loss of rights, notably freedom of movement in other EU countries. This encompasses the right to live, work and start businesses in France as well as issues such as healthcare, pensions, property ownership and so on.

The president of the British Community Committee of France, Christopher Chantrey, was present and passed on concerns regarding the issue of ‘permanent’ cartes de séjour to Britons by certain prefectures and the desirability of a ‘fast-track’ to French citizenship. The director of social security Thomas Fatome pointed out that there are far more British retirees in France than French retirees in the UK – 64,000 compared to 9,000, and as a result, the health bills for the two countries are completely disproportionate. He went as far as to say that, “Without specific agreements on healthcare the system would end”.

I can’t honestly see the UK government worrying too much about expat rights. It will be like the winter fuel allowance all over again. They will probably maintain that because we eat a ‘Mediterranean’ diet we are less likely to get ill and thus have no need for reciprocal health cover. The French government on the other hand, do seem to be genuinely concerned about trying to resolve issues for British residents. In any case, is healthcare your biggest concern or are there other issues?


Health care is one thing but I’m working here and pay into the system so not at all reliant on the UK. What could be a real hassle is our status after Brexit, not only our rights to stay and work here but in my case, the right to continue running my business - buralistes have to be French or EU citizens, it’s not open to any nationalities outside the EU…! If push comes to shove I’d change the statuts to have my OH as Gérante or go for naturalisation but I really can’t be arsed unless I’m pushed into that, I’m English after all!


Same here. I’ve been paying into the French system since July 1978.
As for nationalism goes, I have no time for it.
In France, do as the French do. Flags are silly.


I don’t mind paying specifically towards health care - maybe if they adopted something similar in the UK it would help the NHS. My main (and obvious) worry is that as soon as the UK leaves I lose my biggest client and my income. Finding something equivalent will be difficult and difficult doesn’t pay the bills. I’ve been far more impressed with France’s reaction to the plight of expats in both countries than the UK’s. Instead of the tit for tat the UK government appears to be playing, they should guarantee to the highest extent they are able the rights of EU citizens in the UK. This would be seen immediately as a huge goodwill gesture. Why they persist in adopting this superior, unco-operative, ‘we hold all the cards’ stance is simply beyond me. As the old Chinese (probably not) proverb says, don’t p&ss in the well you will need to drink from.


UK is in a very difficult situation and it was self inflicted!
I feel that the will be no consideration for us Brits who live
I was amazed at the attitude of a once closed friend who
feels that as we no longer spend our money in UK the door
is closed.
In my case I paid all the taxes for more than 45 years to include
vat, paye national insurance for my staff members and capitol gains tax
when I left the country…making a handsome profit for the UK government
after working like crazy all my life!
So UK has not made the path to older age and/or creating an income in other countries …merely because we escaped the death sentence of this dreadful
health service which NHS has become.
And that is sad…bad management by government has murdered the health system.
Yes we too have clients who are effected by the current sad faced pound and we are
directly facing feeling poorer.
The way in which Maggie May is talking…why on earth would Europe feel inclined to be kind and forgiving to UK or us.
And one must remember that it is hard to forget that She,Mrs May was a remainer
who became a Brexiter in order to take power.
What is the word for this?
And would the united Europe take her seriously?


I’m afraid that I do not believe that Theresa May was, in reality, a “remainer”, just as we now know that Boris Johnson shot himself in the foot, as he didn’t want Brexit. However, they are both (among many others) opportunistic people who care not one jot for Britain, they only care for themselves.

Of course Europe will not make special arrangements for us, as you write, “Why should it?” We only need to remember that the British vote for Brexit was based on, now admitted, lies and (very sadly) racism disguised as concern about immigration, to understand why Europe is so angry about it. We now know that immigration will not be reduced, the NHS is not getting one penny more and Britain is in deep trouble, as far as finding trading partners is concerned. For we ex-pats, especially those on a pension, the rapid dive in the value of the £ is a real problem, but it will soon become a huge problem for all of the British; as the £ sinks, prices must go up.

As far as the NHS is concerned, I have a Carte Vitale and by my calculations I am well in profit, in comparison with using the NHS. Yes, I have to contribute when I need medicine, but I get a large proportion back and, over several years, it has never cost me as much British prescriptions, especially if I need several items.

Personally, I consider myself incredibly lucky that I do not live in the U.K. and I will be applying for dual citizenship very soon.


Personally, I don’t believe that anything will change for the worst in this respect for ex-pats who are already resident, as everyone will be wanting ‘reciprocal arrangements’ for all concerned. It wouldn’t make sense to do anything else.
Teresa May has to hold this as a possible bargaining chip,though,for the moment, as there is so much else to be worked out.
I do think that it likely to change for future ex-pats though, but if they are coming over to France to work, their work contracts will probably include health cover…if self employed, will have to take out insurance.


I wouldn’t rely too much on sense playing a big part in anything. The chips are down and it is not going to be an amicable divorce.


Don’t forget that there are about 10 times as many retired Brits in France as there are retired French in the UK (most French expats in the UK work) and that makes for a very unbalanced situation, especially as far as health care costs are concerned…! :open_mouth:


plus the fact that we’ll have to jump through all the hoops to get a carte de séjour and pay for that too…!

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Being alone in France and having lived permanently here for nearly 11 years I am considering applying to become a French citizen. However I have concerns as to my English pensions, the State English pension and two small private ones. If I become a French citizen will the British pensions become semi frozen and therefore I would not receive annual increments ? Nobody seems able to give me an answer, and I know I am not the only one with this concern. Does anyone have an answer to this please ?

Not sure how you come to think that nothing much will change for ex pats in France!
Yes…you admit that changes will take place for those who will retire here.
If there is any more deterring factors for brits not to buy property here it will effect
many of those who want to sell…British or French.
This hardly helps the tourist industry, which, in turn murders the local French
economy…and the economy her in general.
Why is it that tellurians do not know how to say" Sorry" and get on with putting things right…or, at least trying to.


I have posted on here before, so applogies if you have seen this and already acted, but if you are concerned that our MPs are not listening or are simply prepared to ignore UK citizens in the EU, there is a support group trying to help.

If you have seen the video of Christopher Chantrey’s presentation to the National Assembly, you will note that he refers to our support group Expat Citizen Rights in EU (ECREU), and quotes from our research and member’s concerns.

ECREU now has more than 4,100 members form 23 countries with more than half living in France. Please take a moment to look at the web site to find out how we can support you, then join up - it’s free!

Hi, May I ask why you haven’t already applied for dual citizenship? I ask simply because I’m wondering why I’m procrastinating over it…

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Dont give up Uk nationality ever.
Dual nationality best
But will the french tolerate this?

it’s Tory government. This government care more for profits than people. They aren’t interested in the old and disabled people in the UK so why would they be concerned about expats?
Their sole interest is to stop the gravy train from being derailed and to sell off whatever they can sell off (including the NHS) in order that they and their investor chums can make some more money.
The reason the NHS is in a state is because for decades, nobody has looked at the books, or stopped bad practices. It’s become a bloated succubus, run, again for the benefit of those who stand to make profit from it. It should be stripped back to it’s origins. If someone wants a face lift, gender reassignment, boob job, then bloody well let them pay for it themselves. If young people want to drink so much that they endanger their lives, it should not be up to the NHS to fix them so that they are well enough to do the same the next weekend.


Hi Celia. It’s a combination of three things: 1. Procrastination, 2. The hope that Britain may yet be forced to rethink the idea, and 3. The language test. I have been living and working here since 1982 and while everyone understands me and I understand everyone, I know that my French is far from perfect. I seem to have got into one of those, “we all understand each other” slumps and, therefore, I need to actually get my finger out and start to correct the bad habits that I have got into and to further improve my grammar. Anyway,you have motivate me and so, I’m off to the Mairie to see about classes. :slight_smile:


Yes Claudia I am actually thinking of that - i.e. dual Nationality.

Catherine, if all us oldies returned the NHS would have to pay for 100% of our healthcare instead of 70% as it does now to make us the same as the French.
the NHS is like many of us , creaking at the knees, and it could not stand an influx of OAP returnees.
Let us hope, awful that we have to do that instead of knowing where we stand, that financial reason will prevail.

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The word is turncoat Barbara.