Law

With so much still un­known about the UK’S po­si­tion af­ter Brexit, is there any cer­tainty in these un­cer­tain times? Ste­fano Lu­catello looks at some of the is­sues

French Property News - - Contents - Ste­fano Lu­catello is a Se­nior Part­ner at Kobalt Law Tel: 0207 739 1700 kobalt­law.co.uk

Amid the Brexit un­cer­tainty, is there any­thing we do know for sure?

What will hap­pen to EU cit­i­zens liv­ing in the UK and UK cit­i­zens in France?

An agree­ment be­tween the UK and the EU pro­vides what Theresa May says is cer­tainty to the 3.2 mil­lion EU cit­i­zens in the UK that they will be able to carry on liv­ing and work­ing in the UK as they have done, with their rights en­shrined in UK law and en­forced by Bri­tish courts.

UK cit­i­zens in the EU will also re­tain their cur­rent rights with what the EU’S Jean Claude Juncker called a cheap and sim­ple ad­min­is­tra­tion procedure. The pro­posal pro­vides a cut-off date of Brexit day (29 March 2019) for those to be cov­ered by the rules. Ba­bies born af­ter that date to peo­ple who have qual­i­fied un­der these rules will be in­cluded in the agree­ment. Un­der the plan EU cit­i­zens legally res­i­dent in the UK and UK cit­i­zens in the EU will be able to leave for up to five years be­fore los­ing the rights they will have as part of the pro­posed Brexit deal.

Will I need a visa to travel to France and the EU?

The UK gov­ern­ment wants to keep visa-free travel to the UK for EU vis­i­tors af­ter Brexit and it is hop­ing this will be re­cip­ro­cated, mean­ing UK cit­i­zens will con­tinue to be able to visit EU coun­tries for short pe­ri­ods with­out seek­ing of­fi­cial per­mis­sion to travel.

If vis­i­tors from EU coun­tries wanted to work, study or set­tle in the UK, they would have to ap­ply for per­mis­sion un­der the pro­pos­als. No agree­ment has been reached yet; how­ever, if it is de­cided that EU cit­i­zens will need visas to come to the UK in the fu­ture then UK cit­i­zens will need visas to travel to the EU.

Will I still be able to use my pass­port if I move to France per­ma­nently?

Yes. It is a Bri­tish doc­u­ment – there is no such thing as an EU pass­port – so your pass­port will stay the same. The gov­ern­ment has de­cided to change the colour to blue for any­one ap­ply­ing for a new or re­place­ment Bri­tish pass­port from Oc­to­ber 2019.

Will EHIC cards still be valid, once I move to France?

If you are already liv­ing in an­other EU coun­try on the day the UK leaves the block, your EHIC card – which en­ti­tles trav­ellers to state-pro­vided med­i­cal help for any con­di­tion or in­jury that re­quires ur­gent treat­ment, in any other coun­try within the EU, as well as sev­eral non-eu coun­tries – will con­tinue to work.

Af­ter that date, for EU cit­i­zens wish­ing to travel to the UK, or UK cit­i­zens wish­ing to travel to France and the EU, it is un­clear about what will hap­pen be­cause no deal has yet been reached.

Will healthcare ac­cess change for Bri­tish ex­pats in France?

Af­ter Brexit, there will be two pos­si­bil­i­ties. The first and eas­i­est would be that the ne­go­tia­tors come up with a re­cip­ro­cal deal that keeps the cur­rent ar­range­ments, or some­thing a bit like them, in place. If they don’t, the sit­u­a­tion will de­pend on the in­di­vid­ual coun­try where you live.

For res­i­dents from non-eu coun­tries, and that will soon in­clude Bri­tish cit­i­zens, they will have to fi­nalise their res­i­dency sta­tus, ac­quire a French iden­tity card and then ap­ply for a French health in­sur­ance card. If they visit the UK at the mo­ment, ac­cess to the NHS for non-res­i­dent Brits is not straight­for­ward un­less you have an EHIC card. The right to treat­ment is based on res­i­dency, not on your tax sta­tus. So, even if you live abroad and pay some Bri­tish tax on a buy to-let prop­erty, for in­stance, you might find your­self get­ting a bill for any NHS treat­ment you end up get­ting while you are back in the UK.

What will hap­pen to EU na­tion­als in France with a Bri­tish state pen­sion?

If you are an EU na­tional and re­ceive a Bri­tish state pen­sion, nothing much should change, be­cause the state pen­sion is de­pen­dent not on where you come from, but on how long you have paid na­tional in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions in the UK. So it doesn’t mat­ter where you come from, what counts is how much you have paid in terms of na­tional in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions.

There is one con­di­tion to the above: you have to have paid in for at least 10 years. Un­der the cur­rent rules, if you are an EU ci­ti­zen and haven’t paid in for 10 years, you can point to any con­tri­bu­tions you have made in your na­tive coun­try and say “I paid in there”. That works for EU coun­tries and an­other 16 coun­tries with which the UK has so­cial se­cu­rity agree­ments.

Once we have left the EU, you will no longer be able to do that un­less we ne­go­ti­ate new re­cip­ro­cal agree­ments. If we don’t then po­ten­tially, if you have paid in fewer than 10 years’ worth of na­tional in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions, you will not get a Bri­tish state pen­sion.

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