How will Brexit affect Britons who live in the EU?

Brits who have upped sticks and moved to hotter climes in Europe will understandably be worried about a post-Brexit world.

While some have moved completely, others have second homes in EU countries and are now wondering how things will change in 2019.

Here’s what you need to know if you are a Brit living in an EU country after Brexit

Where are most Brits living in the EU?

There are 1.3 million Brit expats in Europe, according to the United Nations, with most relocating to Ireland, followed by Cyprus and Malta.

Brits may be forced to pay more in taxes if they live in EU countries (Rex)
Brits may be forced to pay more in taxes if they live in EU countries (Rex)

Could Brits living in EU states be deported?

The immediate fear is that Brits living in EU countries will be deported after 29 March 2019 – the day Brexit comes into force. However, this is extremely unlikely to happen. Aside from the political fallout – which would likely cause economic turmoil due to foreign investors being put off dealing with the country – a mass expulsion would likely cause retaliation by the British government of EU citizens living in the UK. Theresa May has so far refused to categorically state that EU citizens living in the country will be free to stay – it is fully expected that they will be able to, with their position simply being used as a bargaining chip during negotiations. The Vienna Convention also states that Brits would have “acquired rights” under international law – although this would only count for Brits who lived in the EU before Brexit.

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Will Brits in EU countries lose EU healthcare?

Again, this is unlikely as the British government would no doubt want to usher in the same kinds of measures on EU citizens living in the UK. The government also pays hundreds of millions of pounds to other EU countries to cover the cost of treating Brits abroad – considerably more than the £49 million received by the UK from other European countries in the year 2014-2015.

Am I going to lose my second home in the continent?

Definitely not. You may hear stories of EU countries deciding to kick you out of your second home once Brexit happens but they simply aren’t true. Individual property rights are protected under the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

So I have nothing to worry about in that department?

Not necessarily. While you won’t be kicked out of your home, the EU nation where it’s situated can do all sorts of thing to “punish” you, including hiking taxes on foreign homeowners, so you may wish to factor that possibility in if you’re weighing up the financial aspects of buying abroad.

Will I need a permit to live in EU countries?

Quite possibly. The Home Office have suggested that Brits would have to apply for a residency permit to live abroad – and would also need to show proof of their income before being allowed to settle elsewhere in the EU. This would be in line for current rules regarding non-EU citizens wanting to live in places like France, Spain and Italy.

Top pic: Rex