Brexit and the Outlook for British Ex-pats living in the European Union
Of the approximately 1.5 million British ex-pats that live in Europe, many have done so for over 20 years, for people who have made their life in an EU country, Brexit is a completely unanticipated extraordinary turn of events, something that will affect every area of their lives to a greater or lesser degree. All the rights enshrined in EU citizenship will be swept away and in some countries, dual citizenship is not an option which means the opportunity to regain a degree of security is also not an option. In Germany, for example, dual nationality is only extended to other EU members; Spain does not permit dual nationality except under very narrow circumstances; Italy has one of the most liberal attitudes to dual nationality, despite having relatively recently altered the criteria. If dual nationality is not an option, the British ex-pats may then have to consider renouncing their British citizenship if they wish to remain in the country of their choice.
Unsurprisingly there has been a sharp spike in the numbers of British ex-pats across Europe seeking dual citizenship where possible; some of the countries that have a less liberal attitude are now re-considering some aspects of their policies regarding immigration. EU member countries are not keen to lose the British ex-pat communities that work and contribute to their country’s prosperity, even the retired British spend their money in their chosen country and at the moment do not present a burden to their adopted country’s medical resources. It would be a harsh task for the British ex-pats of any age to have to return to the UK and rebuild their lives, some of whom have lived abroad for decades and no longer have any ties in the UK.
Giambrone’s expert immigration team have many years experience of navigating the convoluted routes to dual citizenship in European countries, particularly Italy and Spain and have had considerable success in overcoming obstacles to achieving the desired result. In the present climate it is even more imperative to ensure that an application for dual citizenship is completely accurate prior to being submitted and there are no gaps in the documentation or glaring errors on the application forms as most authorities processing dual citizenship applications, in event of rejection, will oblige the applicants to go to the back of the queue and start the whole process from the beginning; with Brexit looming any delays could have unwanted repercussions.
It is particularly difficult for people who re-located with a view to retirement in a European country, safe in the knowledge that their pensions and any health care requirements would still be available to them, now this is in disarray. There are question marks over a wide variety of issues that directly affect the British ex-pat community in Europe. It is particularly keenly felt by British ex-pats to have lived abroad for 15 years or more as they do not have the right to vote in referenda or in elections, resulting in their point of view being unrepresented in matters that keenly affect them. Occupational pensions, medical insurance and a raft of other private financial issues the continuity of which is not absolutely clear; the European Insurance & Occupational Pension Authority (EIOPA) has issued recommendations to the UK insurers and appropriate authorities to develop contingency plans to ensure service continuity after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
If you would like to know more about dual citizenship for Italy or Spain please click here