The Suspense!

We wanted to move to France in the near future, but plans are on the backburner for now, Brexit pending.
Recently having spoken to an estate agent, he doesn’t think it will pose too many issues. People did it before Brexit and so they will continue to do so again. Are we and others, getting worked up unnecessarily, thinking doom and gloom when in fact, it won’t be so bad, maybe just not such an easy process?
Would owning a ‘holiday home’, as in spending as much time as possible there, be an easier process than taking up full time residence?

I guess I’ll have to wait until after the 31st. But the suspense is killing me!

I agree with your agent. People moved to France before the 70’s and will do so again. The big difference to me is previously France was a destination for people with very low incomes who could settle here and have a much better quality of life than they could have done with that income in the UK. They were often basically living under the radar and that’s not likely to be possible post Brexit.

But if you have a normal income then moving here shouldn’t pose problems, it may just not be as good value.

What might actually be more difficult is a holiday home! As you will probably only be allowed to spend 90 days in every 180 within the schengen area. So to spend April - September in your holiday home will probably need you to jump through hoops every year to get a long stay visa.

(I think the suspense is possibly worse for those of us already here!)

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Probably healthcare will become more of an issue for holiday home owners if the UK drops out of the EHIC arrangement.

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More pertinent - given that the 1970’s are rather a long time ago - is that people move to France today from nations which are outside the EU.

It’s just a question of following the rules which, in France are fairly straightforward - demonstrate the necessary minimum income and have health insurance.

I think Jane is spot on that it will be much harder to slip under the radar post Brexit and the Schengen rules on duration of stay might well cramp the style of a good few holiday home owners.

I don’t actually see the end of EHIC for UK citizens as a big problem - most holiday home owners probably buy annual travel insurance which will include health insurance (as we do) and for anyone who moves permanently EHIC is (or at any rate should be) irrelevant.

What will hurt is if the S1 cover is withdrawn - a lot of pensioners rely on that and with the squeeze on incomes caused by a low £ having to find health insurance might be the final blow that means a return to the UK

When our French house was a second home we had travel insurance through our bank as well as the EHIC.
It was only later that I realised free bank travel insurance only covers 45days.

Do they? Maybe they do, but for folks with pre existing medical conditions it’s not always that easy. And I believe that at present Brits pay less for travel insurance within the EU than worldwide, which will likely not be the case after Brexit if there is no reciprocal health insurance deal.

I don’t see why this would make a scrap of difference. Why would a pensioner need to pay any extra for health insurance? If they are legally resident in France they will automatically be eligible to join PUMA directly, just the same as early retirees with no S1 can, and as pensioners they will pay no cotisations. Nothing will change. They can carry on with the same mutuelle arrangements and they won’t notice any difference.

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Pay no cotisations as pensioners? Really? I thought that carried on for ever if you are not in receipt of a french pension.
"L’article L. 380-2 du code de la sécurité sociale… prévoit :
« Les personnes mentionnées à l’article L. 160-1 sont redevables d’une cotisation annuelle lorsqu’elles remplissent les conditions suivantes :

« 2° Elles n’ont perçu ni pension de retraite, ni rente, ni aucun montant d’allocation de chômage au cours de l’année considérée. Il en est de même, lorsqu’elles sont mariées ou liées à un partenaire par un pacte civil de solidarité, pour l’autre membre du couple.’

It doesn’t say it has to be a French pension.

I don’t know why folk get their knickers in such a twist about the notion of having to pay cotisations. They are based on income in any case, so if your income is low then you would pay little or no cotisations no matter what its source. It’s not going to cause hardship to anyone.


Now this is an area that confuses me.
Have just received avis for impots on our 2018 income which was a pleasant surprise. Until 2018 we had 2 micro enterprises and paid cotisations on the income. Also 4 years ago for 1 year only we were charged cotisations on foreign rental income but were refunded after our accountant argued it was not applicable and ever since we have not been charged cotisations on that income
For 2018 I recieved a french pension which obviously was as a result of the cotisations paid in from the 2 Micro’s and now my cotisations have ceased just as NI contributions in UK stop when you get the OAP.
So really like any private pension policy when it matures, the premium stops and the pension payments start.
Is this how it works or am I missing something?

Yes, I would think that the costs will rise as the EHIC scheme is the reason that they are lower and, yes, if you have a chronic illness it can be difficult, not to mention expensive to get travel insurance.

But, to be honest the EHIC is a poor substitute - it only covers emergency treatment and AIUI needs payment up front for treatment with later reimbursement so getting ill could leave you with a large bill in the short term.

I expect that the people who don’t/can’t get insurance and rely on an EHIC now will mostly continue without insurance and rely on luck - obviously should the gamble not pay off it will be painful financially for them.

My understanding was the same as Jane’s - if not in receipt of S1 then cotisations have to be paid.

That said there is a tiny window between the minimum income and the income at which cotisations kick in where you can “get away” with paying nothing.

I really don’t think you can make the claim it is going to cause hardship for no-one. Whether it will be a significant number I don’t think you can tell - but if the £ falls it will squeeze incomes in €s and adding in extra outgoings (even if only 8% of income over threshold) might push some people over the edge financially.

I suppose that is how it works but I think you’re over complicating it.
Quite simply, there are criteria to decide who is liable for cotisations subsidiaires and who isn’t.
Pensioners aren’t liable. End of.
The whole idea behind PUMA was to spread the burden more fairly so that those who can afford to pay more, pay more, so that those who are not in a position to contribute are not required to.
May change in the future of course but that’s how it is for now.
Of course there are still winners and losers, and of course in some cases theyget it back off you in other ways such as increased CSG on pension income. I think they have had a good stab at trying to make it fair but in reality it’s probably an unattainable ideal.

On second thoughts I’m a bit confused by your post. I thought the bill for cotisations was sent out separately by URSSAF in November/December but you seem to be saying it would have been your avis d’impots. You’re not confusing PUMA cotisations with social contributions are you?

On second thoughts I’m a bit confused by your post. I thought the bill for cotisations was sent out separately by URSSAF in November/December but you seem to be saying it would have been your avis d’impots. You’re not confusing PUMA cotisations with social contributions are you?

To be perfectly honest I am not sure.

I couldn’t swear to it because I’m not in that situation, but I am 99% sure that that is not correct.
Inactifs who have no S1 have to pay cotisations but inactifs are in a different situation from pensioners.
I suppose in fact there won’t be many UK pensioners here who don’t have S1s so it’s not a common situation at present.

I am a uk pensioner ie in receipt of uk OAP but am in the French health system so no SI so not sure your comment is valid as l know I am not alone.
Maybe will just have to wait and see if a request for cotisation payment arrives later.

Agree that inactifs and pensioners are different categories but if a pensioner in France pays no cotisations irregardless of whether they have an S1, why even bother with the S1?

Is there anyone on SF who is a retiree from a non-EEA nation who can fill us in on their situation.

I also note this passage on the S1 on French Property

Which rather implies that no S1 = have to pay cotisations (but I agree it is hardly definitive material on the matter)

Our accountant has told us in the worse case of no deal and our S1’ s no longer being valid we may possibly have to pay 1000€ pa to be in the French health system based on our 2018 declared income which included income from investments. That would impact us as along with top up mutuelle it’s big annual cost.

I think it may well also depend on what arrangements are made for EU citizens in the UK, surely reciprocal agreements will be put in place: unfortunately I think the present crew in Westminster don’t seem to have much consideration for anyone but themselves.

Didn’t l raise this issue a few days ago and point out that pensions are not subject to PUMA Cotisations - or did l miss a change in the Law?

But it wouldn’t be the same amount every year, if you earn less, you pay less, surely? 1000€ a year doesn’t seem too bad really for security and peace of mind.


Yes but if your income is solely from Pensions no Cotisations are levied.