A week is a long time in politics, so the saying goes and never has this been truer than looking at the past week or so. The Brexit vote has come as quite a shock to many people across Europe.
In France, many expats are still trying to come to terms with the UK’s majority vote to leave the EU. This may well be true of many UK citizens, even those who voted to leave. There seem to be two questions on most people’s minds: will we REALLY leave the EU? If we do, what will that mean for any of us wishing to live or work in another EU country?
Natural though as it is to speculate, it is important not to become worried about this when the right to residency in France will likely still be upheld in future negotiations.
There are so many reports in the newspapers, many predicting that British expats living in the EU will face losing the right to stay in their properties all year round and will not be entitled to work without obtaining a visa. Terrifying though these sound, it is important to note that this may well not be the case, since the reverse situation would then have to be applied too: what about the many French people living and working in the UK? Natural though as it is to speculate, it is important not to become worried about this when the right to residency in France will likely still be upheld in future negotiations.
Nevertheless, many expats on the ground in France have shown interest in obtaining French citizenship – a long process with the inevitable paperwork one finds in France maybe, but perfectly possible for those already living here permanently, and something that could be advantageous in the future.
So many British people love France and Brexit is not going to stop that for one moment.
So many British people love France and Brexit is not going to stop that for one moment. Estate agents in the country report that enquiries have almost doubled in the last week from Brits wishing to get out of the UK no matter what! French nationals have spoken to the expats in their community, embracing them to say, “We don’t want you to leave, you are welcome to stay here” – a truly heart-warming sentiment.
It remains to be seen what will happen to people living or owning second homes in France, particularly with regards to their British pensions, healthcare and working rights. With everything still very much up in the air (including the possibility that the vote to leave may not even be upheld), we are sitting tight and trusting that relations between the UK and France will remain untarnished.