With the UK leaving the European Union and no tangible deal in sight, what can you expect if you’re moving to France in the near future? With limited information available, this article aims to give you an idea of how Brexit could affect your expat life in France once the UK leaves the EU.
Arguably, the key issue for expats living in, or moving to France is their rights and legal status following Brexit. If Britain leaves the single market then the UK will negotiate with each individual country as to the rights of its citizens living in that country and vice versa. As an expat in France, you might find that you have to retake your driving test to obtain a French driving license and your qualifications are not valued as they once were.
Visas may be introduced. Healthcare insurance will probably need to be bought. There will be changes to your pension and your access to state benefits restricted. In the worst-case scenario, you can expect the same rights as a non-EU citizen. That said there is a high number of French people living in the UK especially in London. Negotiations are likely to take years and French negotiators will be conscious of the impact on French people in Britain as British negotiators will be on the impact on British people living in France. Rights are likely to be negotiated on a tit for tat basis.
France negotiates rights for foreign citizens on a country by country basis rather than a one size fits all. This makes it hard to predict what measures France would introduce should Britain leave the single market. Freedom of Movement
Freedom of Movement (FOM) is one of the most reported Brexit issues and this governs your rights to live and work in an EU country. Some sight FOM as one of the main drivers for Brexit. To some degree, FOM will probably exist after the dust has settled but restrictions of some kind could be put in place. This could have implications for you as an expat.
If you are considering moving to France, or are there right now, you could consider applying for French citizenship, if you plan to stay long term and put down roots. French citizenship should also be considered for your children.
Although of all this may seem a little gloomy, France is a wonderful country with plenty of good opportunities for British expats. If you have your heart set on living in the country then you should still make the move. You will not regret it due to making visa applications or retaking your driving test. Whether you make the move a success is likely to depend more on how willing you are to fit in with French culture, make new friends and adapt to the French way of life.
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