Menu 0203 129 88 66

What Does Brexit Mean For Expats In The UK And The EU?

What does Brexit mean for British expats?

Brexit is a word that has been on everyone’s lips for years. It’s a subject that has generated endless debate, sparked heated discussions, and left many British citizens at home and abroad feeling uncertain about their futures.

But what does Brexit really mean for expats living in the UK and EU?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Brexit’s impact on expats and provide you with essential information to help you navigate this new era. So, let’s dive right in!

Brexit Timeline and Key Dates

Before we delve deeper into the implications of Brexit, it’s crucial to get a handle on the key dates and events that have shaped the UK’s exit from the European Union:

The Brexit Referendum

It all started on June 23, 2016, when the UK held a historic referendum to decide whether to stay in or leave the EU. The result: 51.9% of voters chose to leave, setting the stage for a complex and challenging negotiation process.

The Withdrawal Agreement

The UK and the EU finally reached a Withdrawal Agreement on October 17, 2019. This document set out the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU, including provisions on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and the contentious issue of the Irish border.

The UK’s official exit from the EU

On January 31, 2020, the UK officially left the European Union, marking the end of 47 years of membership. However, a transition period was established to allow for further negotiations and preparations.

The end of the Brexit transition period

The transition period ended on December 31, 2020, and the UK officially severed ties with the EU’s institutions and regulations.

The Rights of UK Expats Living in the EU

Now that we’ve covered the timeline let’s discuss how Brexit affects the rights of UK expats’ rights in the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement and Citizens’ Rights

The Withdrawal Agreement provided a degree of certainty for UK citizens living in the EU. It guaranteed their rights to live, work, study, and access healthcare and social security in their host country. However, these rights are subject to certain conditions and deadlines.

Settled Status and Permanent Residency

UK citizens who have been living in an EU country for at least five years can apply for settled status or permanent residency. This status grants them the right to stay in their host country indefinitely and access the same benefits as nationals. Expats must apply for this status before the deadlines set by each EU country to secure their rights.

Access to Healthcare

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK expats legally residing in an EU country can continue to access healthcare on the same terms as nationals. However, it’s important to check the specific arrangements in your host country, as they may differ.

Pension Rights and Social Security

Brexit hasn’t severed the ties between the UK and EU regarding pensions and social security. UK expats in the EU can still receive their UK State Pension and claim benefits from their host country, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

Moreover, the UK State Pension will continue to be uprated for expats living in the EU.

The Rights of EU Expats Living in the UK

What about EU citizens living in the UK? Let’s take a look at how Brexit has affected their rights.

The EU Settlement Scheme

The UK government introduced the EU Settlement Scheme to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK post-Brexit. This scheme allows EU citizens and their family members to apply for either settled or pre-settled status, depending on the duration of their stay in the UK.

Settled and Pre-Settled Status

Settled status is granted to EU citizens who have been living in the UK continuously for five years or more, while pre-settled status is given to those who have been in the UK for less than five years.

Both statuses allow EU citizens to continue living, working, and accessing public services in the UK. However, settled status provides more long-term security, granting indefinite leave to remain.

Access to Healthcare

EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status can still access healthcare through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). It’s essential to have a valid status to ensure uninterrupted access to healthcare services.

Pension Rights and Social Security

EU citizens who have worked in the UK can still claim their UK State Pension and other benefits, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. The UK State Pension will continue to be uprated for EU citizens living in the UK, in line with the current arrangements.

Brexit Impact on Citizens’ Rights:

Impact AreaUK Expats in the EUEU Expats in the UK
Residence RightsApply for residence permits/cardsApply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status
Access to HealthcareCoordination under the Withdrawal AgreementAccess to NHS with valid status
Pension RightsRetain UK State Pension rightsRetain UK State Pension rights
Social SecurityCoordination under the Withdrawal AgreementCoordination under Withdrawal Agreement

Impact on Employment Opportunities

Brexit has inevitably brought about changes to the job market for both UK expats in the EU and EU expats in the UK. Let’s explore how work visas and employment opportunities have been affected.

Changes in Work Visas for UK Expats in the EU

UK citizens seeking employment in the EU must now comply with the immigration rules of their host country. This often means applying for a work visa or permit, which may come with specific requirements such as job offers, salary thresholds, and language proficiency.

Changes in Work Visas for EU Expats in the UK

EU citizens who want to work in the UK must apply for a work visa under the UK’s new points-based immigration system. This system prioritizes skilled workers and requires applicants to meet specific criteria, including having a job offer from an approved employer and a minimum salary threshold.

Sectors Affected by Brexit

Brexit has disproportionately impacted certain sectors, such as finance, manufacturing, and agriculture. Expats working in these industries should stay informed about the latest developments and be prepared to adapt to new regulations and market conditions.

Brexit Impact on Employment Opportunities:

Impact AreaUK Expats in the EUEU Expats in the UK
Work Visa RequirementsComply with host country’s rulesApply under UK’s points-based system
Sectors AffectedFinance, manufacturing, agricultureFinance, manufacturing, agriculture

Has Brexit Affected The Life Insurance Industry?

The life insurance industry in Europe is a large and important part of the European economy. It is estimated that there are over €6 trillion in assets held by life insurers across the continent, making it one of the largest industries in Europe.

In recent years, the industry has been affected by several factors, including low-interest rates and increased competition from other financial services providers. However, one of the most significant impacts on the industry has been Brexit.

Brexit has impacted the life insurance industry in Europe, as many companies have had to adjust to new regulations and restrictions imposed by Britain’s departure from the European Union.

This has led to increased costs for insurers and changes in how they operate and do business. Brexit has also caused uncertainty among customers about their policies and coverage levels due to changes in regulations and laws.

Despite these challenges, however, the life insurance industry in Europe remains strong and resilient. Companies have adapted to changing conditions by introducing new products and services that meet customer needs while complying with EU regulations.

Additionally, many insurers have ensured their operations remain compliant with EU law while providing competitive products and services. As a result, customers, including UK expats, can continue to trust that their policies will remain secure despite any changes brought about by Brexit.

While Brexit has impacted the life insurance industry in Europe, it has not been catastrophic or insurmountable for companies operating within this sector.

With careful planning and adaptation to changing conditions, insurers can continue to provide quality products and services to their customers while remaining compliant with EU regulations.

Impact on Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Brexit hasn’t just affected employees – it’s also had a significant impact on business owners and entrepreneurs. Let’s examine the new regulations, tax implications, and opportunities that have arisen in the wake of Brexit.

New Regulations and Compliance

Business owners and entrepreneurs operating in the UK or the EU must now navigate a new regulatory landscape, which may include customs declarations, product certifications, and import/export licenses. It’s essential to stay informed about the latest requirements and seek professional advice to ensure compliance.

Taxation and VAT Implications

Brexit has also changed how VAT and other taxes are levied on cross-border transactions between the UK and the EU. Businesses must understand the new rules and adapt their accounting and invoicing processes accordingly.

Opportunities and Challenges for UK and EU-based Businesses

Despite the challenges of Brexit, new opportunities have emerged for businesses in the UK and the EU.

For instance, UK businesses may find new export markets outside the EU, while EU businesses can tap into the UK’s domestic market. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks and barriers to entry into these markets.

Impact on Education

Higher Education for UK Expats in the EU

Brexit has led to changes in the higher education landscape for UK students wishing to study in the EU. Tuition fees for UK students in some EU countries may now be higher, as they are no longer eligible for the same fees as EU nationals.

Additionally, access to financial support, such as grants and loans, may be limited. UK students must research the specific conditions in their chosen EU country before committing to a study program.

Higher Education for EU Expats in the UK

Similarly, EU students looking to study in the UK may face higher tuition fees and limited access to financial support. However, some universities in the UK offer scholarships and bursaries specifically for EU students, so it’s worth exploring these opportunities.

Changes in Erasmus+ Programme

The UK’s departure from the EU has led to its exit from the Erasmus+ Programme, a popular exchange program that allowed UK and EU students to study in each other’s countries.

However, the UK has introduced the Turing Scheme, a new program that aims to provide global study opportunities for UK students, including in EU countries.

Impact on Property Ownership and Real Estate

Brexit has also affected property ownership and the real estate market in the UK and the EU. Let’s explore these changes and how they impact expats.

Property Rights for UK Expats in the EU

The Withdrawal Agreement guarantees the property rights of UK citizens who own property in the EU. However, it’s essential to be aware of any changes in local laws and regulations that may affect property ownership, taxes, or rental income.

Property Rights for EU Expats in the UK

Similarly, EU citizens who own property in the UK can continue to do so after Brexit. It’s crucial to stay informed about any changes in UK property laws and regulations and tax implications for rental income and capital gains.

Real Estate Market Trends Post-Brexit

The real estate market in both the UK and the EU has experienced fluctuations since the Brexit vote. It’s essential for expats considering buying or selling property to be aware of market trends and seek professional advice to make informed decisions.

Impact on Travel and Mobility

Brexit has undoubtedly affected travel and mobility for UK and EU expats. Let’s take a look at the new regulations and requirements.

Travel Regulations for UK Expats in the EU

UK citizens travelling to the EU for short stays (up to 90 days in a 180-day period) can do so without a visa for tourism, family visits, or business purposes. However, they may now face longer queues at border control and must ensure their passports are valid for at least six months beyond their planned stay.

Travel Regulations for EU Expats in the UK

EU citizens can also travel to the UK for short stays without a visa. However, they must have a valid passport and may be subject to additional checks at the border.

Passport and Visa Requirements

For longer stays or specific purposes such as work or study, UK and EU citizens will need to apply for the appropriate visa and comply with the immigration rules of their host country. It’s important to plan ahead and ensure you have the necessary documentation to avoid any issues.

Brexit Impact on Education and Travel:

Impact AreaUK Expats in the EUEU Expats in the UK
Higher EducationHigher tuition fees, limited financial supportHigher tuition fees, limited financial support
Exchange ProgrammesTuring Scheme replaces Erasmus+Loss of Erasmus+ for UK exchanges
Short Stay Travel (up to 90 days)No visa required, 6-month passport validityNo visa is required, a valid passport

The Role of Bilateral Agreements

Bilateral agreements between the UK and individual EU countries significantly shape the post-Brexit landscape for expats.

UK’s Bilateral Agreements with EU Countries

The UK has negotiated bilateral agreements with several EU countries to address specific issues related to citizens’ rights, social security, and healthcare.

These agreements can provide additional reassurance and protection for UK expats living in the EU, but it’s essential to be aware of each agreement’s specific terms and conditions.

How Bilateral Agreements Affect Expats’ Rights

Bilateral agreements can offer expats more clarity and security regarding their rights and entitlements in their host country. However, the scope and benefits of these agreements can vary, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the details and stay informed about any updates or changes.

Adapting to the Post-Brexit Environment

As we’ve seen, Brexit has brought about significant changes for expats living in the UK and the EU. How can you best adapt to this new reality?

Importance of Legal and Financial Planning

Proper legal and financial planning is more important than ever in the post-Brexit landscape. Seek professional advice to ensure you understand and comply with the new regulations and make informed decisions about property, investments, and taxes.

Building Networks and Support Systems

Having a strong network of fellow expats, locals, and professional contacts can be invaluable in navigating the challenges of living abroad post-Brexit. Look for expat communities, social events, and online forums where you can share experiences, advice, and support.

Embracing Cultural Differences

Brexit may have changed the legal framework for expats, but the importance of embracing cultural differences and fostering mutual understanding remains unchanged.

Be open-minded, curious, and respectful of the customs and traditions of your host country, and you’ll find that your expat experience will be all the more rewarding.

Conclusion

While Brexit has brought about numerous changes, expatriates can continue to thrive in their host countries by staying informed, proactive, and adaptable.

Building networks, seeking professional advice, and embracing cultural differences remain key components of a successful expat experience in the post-Brexit world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can UK expats still live and work in the EU after Brexit?

Yes, UK expats can still live and work in the EU after Brexit, but they must comply with the immigration rules of their host country, which may include applying for a work visa or permit.

What is the difference between Settled Status and Pre-Settled Status?

Settled status is granted to those who have been living in their host country for at least five years and allows them to stay indefinitely. Pre-settled status is given to those who have been in their host country for less than five years and grants them the right to stay for a limited period, after which they can apply for settled status.

How does Brexit affect access to healthcare for expats?

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, UK expats in the EU and EU expats in the UK can continue to access healthcare on the same terms as nationals, provided they have the appropriate legal status (e.g., settled or pre-settled status).

Will UK and EU expats need a visa to travel between the UK and EU?

For short stays (up to 90 days in a 180-day period), UK and EU citizens can travel without a visa for tourism, family visits, or business purposes. For longer stays or specific purposes such as work or study, a visa and compliance with the host country’s immigration rules are required.

How has Brexit impacted the job market for expats?

Brexit has led to changes in work visa requirements and the job market in both the UK and the EU. UK expats seeking employment in the EU and EU expats looking for work in the UK must now meet specific criteria under their respective host country’s immigration rules. Certain sectors, such as finance, manufacturing, and agriculture, have been more affected by Brexit than others.

Are UK students still eligible for the Erasmus+ Programme?

The UK is no longer part of the Erasmus+ Programme due to Brexit. However, the UK has introduced the Turing Scheme, which aims to provide global study opportunities for UK students, including in EU countries.

Has Brexit affected property ownership for expats?

Brexit has not directly impacted property ownership rights for UK expats in the EU or EU expats in the UK. However, changes in local laws and regulations and tax implications may affect property ownership, rental income, and the real estate market in general.

What role do bilateral agreements play in the post-Brexit landscape?

Bilateral agreements between the UK and individual EU countries can provide additional clarity and protection for expats regarding their rights, social security, and healthcare. These agreements can vary in scope and benefits, so knowing the specific terms and conditions applicable to each country is important.

What can expats do to adapt to the post-Brexit environment?

Expats can adapt to the post-Brexit environment by staying informed about the latest developments, seeking professional legal and financial planning advice, building strong networks and support systems, and embracing cultural differences.

Are there any new opportunities for businesses in the UK and the EU post-Brexit?

Despite the challenges of Brexit, new opportunities have emerged for businesses in both the UK and the EU. For example, UK businesses may find new export markets outside the EU, while EU businesses can tap into the UK’s domestic market. However, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks and barriers to entry in these markets.

Research sources: