British expats are complaining that French authorities are stonewalling their applications for a residency permit with official excuses ranging from "all applications have been suspended until the Brexit outcome is known" to "you are not able to apply".
As Brexit looms and the no-deal scenario becomes more likely, with the election of Boris Johnson, many Britons living in France concerned about their long-term futures have tried to apply for a residency permit. However, this has been met with a lack of co-operation or downright refusals from officials.
Under French law, it is not compulsory for expats to have a residency card but they can be issued one if they meet the requirements, namely having lived in the country for more than five years. But certain prefectures simply refuse expat applications outright, including to those who have lawfully resided in the area for the stipulated number of years. Others are only able to get temporary permits despite living in the country for over five years.
The issue has been ongoing for up to four years, but has increased in frequency since the Brexit vote. Britons are being confronted with official excuses such as "all applications have been suspended until the Brexit outcome is known"' and "you're not able to apply". The same thing is happening with recent arrivals.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has been warned by a senior Conservative MP that millions of British citizens living in Europe could sue for the loss of their rights in a no-deal Brexit, as reported last week by International Investment.