Six month Brexit extension brings even more uncertainty to expat lives

Six month Brexit extension brings even more uncertainty to expat lives

Six month Brexit extension brings even more uncertainty to expat lives

The Brexit extension may give companies more time to adjust to whatever comes next, but for UK expats in Europe, EU expats in Britain and Brits planning to emigrate it’s just another six months of stress and uncertainty.

British in Europe and the 3Million, both campaigning for citizens’ rights, are now demanding an ‘immediate end to the crippling legal uncertainty’ now faced by five million expatriates who’re still not sure when, if at all, they and their families will have rights to residency, their jobs, education and healthcare. The original deal agreed by negotiation in December 2017 safeguarded expat rights to residence, social services and freedom of movement during the transition period, including them in the draft withdrawal agreement approved last November by both sides and simply needing ratifying.

As everyone now knows, British lawmakers took against the agreement, setting off the worst political chaos in living memory and resulting in a crisis which seems unable to be resolved. Even the emergency contingency plans for a no-deal exit weren’t adequate, and rights for expats on both sides of the English Channel are teetering on the edge of unworkable. Worst off are the 1.3 million Britons living, working or retiring in Europe, as all they have to date are various ‘assurances’ from EU member state governments that they won’t be left in the lurch.

For Brits desperately attempting to leave before Brexit kicks in, there’s even more uncertainty, as they as well as those already in Europe will no longer have the legal right to any social services as they’ll be third-country nationals. Even should the UK leave in an orderly fashion, healthcare may be an ongoing issue, as it depends on bilateral agreements taking place after the divorce is final. Even now, British expatriates in France are complaining their residency permit applications are either being delayed or are being rejected.

Campaigners for citizens’ rights are now demanding EU leaders must regard human beings as seriously as they do future trade deals, as five million people have used their rights to free movement in good faith and should not be treated as less important than cheese or dead fish. For those still hoping to be able to move to Europe in order to avoid the reality of post-Brexit Britain, the uncertainty is scary at the least and terrifying at worst, as they’ve no idea what their statuses will be as regards work, pensions, healthcare or the right to travel.

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