UK and EU expats futures in balance amid Brexit merry go round: reports

The UK government has outlined its plans to allow EU expats to remain in the United Kingdom after Brexit, according to reports.

As a result EU citizens will be free to travel and live in the UK after Brexit, under immigration plans said to be being drawn up by the UK Home Office.

The principle of freedom of movement will remain for those who want to visit or stay in the UK, but a new system of permits will limit the number of people migrating to work, according to a report in the Times newspaper.

The Times said that it understands that, under Home Office plans due to be published within weeks, there would be no extra curbs on EU citizens travelling to Britain through other ports and airports.

The plans, which are yet to be finalised and agreed across government, would allow EU citizens to travel to Britain to look for a job without applying for a work visa. Companies wanting to hire EU workers would have to apply for sponsorship permits, however.

Expat financial advisers

The move comes as expat financial advisers have seen an increase in the numbers of UK retirees looking to retire in European countries such as Spain, Portugal and France before the Brexit deadline, according to reports.

One company that supports those moving to mainland Europe after they finish working revealed that the number of monthly inquiries to its website had doubled in a year, with actual business was up by 25%

A series of international expat financial advisers told UK national newspaper The Guardian, that requests for advise on overseas moves has increased as the Brexit deadline approaches.

But the ‘golden age’ of British retirees heading to the Spanish coast is “probably over,” according to John Springford, a migration expert who is director of research at the Centre for European Reform.

He told The Guardian that research found that while young immigrants provided an economic boost in most OECD countries, people turned into a net drain on national finances somewhere between the age of 40 and 45.

“The thing about retirees they are expensive. There is no way Spain would allow lots of Brits to retire there and use their health system unless young Spanish people could come and work in the UK,” said Springfield. “If we don’t have free movement it is very unlikely we would have retirement rights.”

Increase in business

Blevins Franks, which specialises in financial advice for those retiring into Spain, Portugal or France, has seen a 20% to 25% increase in business, according to The Guardian report. Meanwhile, BlevinFranks received 900 inquiries to its website in 2017, compared with 450 a year earlier – with the Brexit rush a significant part of the reason, according to a spokesperson.

“The main concerns that people thinking about retiring to Europe have are around three main issues: residence, healthcare and the UK state pension triple lock,” the Blevin Franks spokesperson said.

Chris Burke, of the Spectrum IFA group, who advises largely British expats living in Spain, told The Guardian that he even had one client who had taken early retirement to beat the Brexit deadline. “People who are looking to retire to Spain are bringing it forward and moving out now before Brexit,” he said.

He also said 20% of his clients already living abroad were looking into whether they could obtain Spanish or Irish passports.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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