Covid19 and Brexit - perfect storm for Brit's wanting to move to France in 2020

Our plans are to visit France in early May, and look for a location we would like to rent in to kick off our ‘escape’ to the sun. It’s not looking very promising at the moment with the virus quickly establishing itself in Europe. Travel restrictions are possible and my wife’s job means we can’t visit/move straight away. I wish we were already there. Negotiations between the UK and EU are going to be a lot of fun too!
Hopefully I am being overly pessimistic. I really do hate Brexit!

Hello Michael - I don’t think you should be so pessimistic, there are always solutions to explore. Although there was not the threat of a global pandemic when we started our search we were in a similar situation as yourselves, wife working me retired. I flew into Bordeaux on my own, hired a car and headed South. The idea was for me to explore and establish a beach head from where we could begin our search. I covered a lot of ground in the first week and ended up with a holiday flat in La Grand Motte close to Montpelier as a base of operations. The worker flew out for a few week-ends to explore the possibilities l had identified and we settled on Perpignan. It was then my task to find us rented accommodation where we could move into once she had also retired and begin our search for the dream home in the Pyrenees Orientale.

Doing this saved us a lot of time, helped my abysmal language skills and gave us a far greater choice of options. We eventually decided to build a house between the Mountains and the Med. Looking back it seemed very enjoyable and painless. Wish you well in your adventure.

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Easy to say I know, but if I wasn’t here already I hope I wouldn’t let myself get panicked into scranbling to make the move if the time wasn’t right. It’ll still be perfectly possible for Brits to move to EU countries after Brexit (assuming this is a retirement move). Why risk souring the dream by trying to rush and ending ip cobbling the move - buying the wrong property, buying a house and then not qualifying for a CDS, moving at the wrong time of year and getting clobbered for tax. Better IMHO to make an orderly move when the time is right for you. Yanks and Aussies and other nations manage it, why do Brits see it as such a problem?


We planned to rent initially while we were trying to sell our house and to give us time to find the right property and to be sure of the location. The urgency is to try to hang onto some of the advantages currently enjoyed by UK nationals after Brexit ie UK paying healthcare contribution when I reach state retirement age - though that may be in doubt. Also to have index linked state pensions - also in doubt looking at the trade negotiations. We are fortunate in that after Brexit, with my wife retaining FOM and me as her spouse too it’s easier than for non EU citizens. Health care costs will I believe still be higher - especially in the long term.

Heathcare costs may be higher.
Property prices are lower.
Swings and roundabouts.
Would paying a little towards your own continued good health really be such a hardship?
Again, easy for me to say because I’ve paid cotisations all the time I’ve lived here, so I don’t understand why folk seem so horrified by the idea.


It’s the idea that you have made your NI contributions all your working life in the expectation that your healthcare would be covered after retirement and until your death. And then you find you have to pay 8% (over €10k)… it sticks in the throat.

OK fair point, yes I get that, up to a point…
But I thought that under current PUMA rules, if you have a retirement pension it exempts you from cotisations in any case.
(Could also point out that early retirees haven’t made NI contributions “all their working lives”. because they didn’t work for all their working lives… but I have no wish to get into an argument here.)

Early retirees don’t get S1’s…

But if PUMA counts all pensions, not just state pensions, then yes you are right and there is nothing for most people to get heated about! I can’t remember whether this has changed as I am now ayant droit to OH’s S1. But previously under old system I paid URSAFF cotisations even tho’ I had a small (non-state) pension.

Not while they’re early retirees…

Not all pensions are exempt from the charges, Govt service pensions are supposed to be exempted from them and also covered by the treaty on double taxation.
Private pensions for us early retirees are different and attract the charges as far as I am aware.

Depends on how you came to be early retired, some can get S1s, not many though.

Here’s the list

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Hello, all. Just thought I’d say hello and add my contribution to this thread :slight_smile:

My (French) partner and I decided to move to France many months ago once it became clear Brexit was definitely happening. Neither of us is of retirement age, so we’ll both be working. Fortunately, my employer has agreed to me working from home for 3 out of 4 weeks, which has been a great help.

We decided somewhere close to Bordeaux was the perfect place for us, due to being close to her family and also having great transport options for getting back to UK. We sold the house we have in the UK in January. The missus flew out to France a while back and found a great house to rent.

Fast forward a few weeks and France went in to confinement on the day we were supposed to be signing the rental agreement…! We’re struggling (understandably) to get in touch with the agent, so as yet don’t have anything secured. The house move here in the UK is still due to happen in 2 weeks’ time. At the moment, we’ve managed to secure some storage in a shipping container for our belongings, and it looks like we’ll have to move in with my mother until the confinement is relaxed.

So, yes, Brexit and Covid-19 have become the perfect storm that’s currently holding-up our relocation. Needless to say, I’m pretty stressed and very miffed off at the moment :crazy_face:

Are removal companies allowed to keep operating in the UK? House moves aren’t permitted in France.
Maybe you’ll be able to stay put for now.

No, the situation is very unclear (as is so often the case at the moment). The British Association of Removers recommends removal companies only do moves that are already in progress. However Michael Gove was on TV this morning saying house moves can go ahead.

Unfortunately our buyers need to move so staying put and postponing isn’t an option for us.

We’re expecting that house moves will be restricted in hte UK fairly soon.