Stay or go?

Living France - - Les Pratiques -

The date for the EU ref­er­en­dum now set for 23 June 2016 means that Bri­tain will soon be de­cid­ing whether or not it will with­draw from the Euro­pean Union; a de­ci­sion that will af­fect the lives of Bri­tish expats liv­ing in France and leaves those con­sid­er­ing a move over­seas up in the air.

Yet the un­easi­ness posed by this ‘in or out’ pro­posal may, in all like­li­hood, be of lit­tle con­se­quence and with­out de­fin­i­tive an­swers to the im­pli­ca­tions of a so-called Brexit, we can only spec­u­late on what lies ahead.

A main con­cern for house-hunters is their right to pur­chase prop­erty in France, yet re­gard­less of the ref­er­en­dum’s re­sult, in­di­vid­ual prop­erty rights must still be re­spected and, thanks to bi­lat­eral tax agree­ments be­tween the UK and other Euro­pean coun­tries, a Brexit would have lit­tle im­pact on tax pay­ments, so long as the UK re­mains part of the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area (EEA).

Health­care ben­e­fits have also made head­lines as a cause for con­cern, and whether the NHS would still pay for re­tired Bri­tish expats’ health­care via the S1 form is un­clear. How­ever, re­mov­ing health­care ben­e­fits for work­ing expats in France is un­likely, not least be­cause the UK could re­tal­i­ate with a sim­i­lar mea­sure for those Europeans liv­ing in the UK.

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