Expat pensioners in France under threat of being thrown out due to income reuirements

Expat pensioners in France under threat of being thrown out due to income reuirements

Expat pensioners in France under threat of being thrown out due to income reuirements

A warning about strict income tests has been issued to UK expats already living and working in France and those planning to do so in the near future.

Despite the present uncertainty about Brexit and France’s previous request that all British expats get their cartes de sejour, it seems the French government is already forcing Brits whose monthly incomes are lower than its set limits to return to the UK. Those affected are being given 30 days to leave the country. The story broke in The Independent daily newspaper and is based on an interview with an expat writer who claims she and her husband have already received the bad news.

According to writer Emma Lawrence, she and her husband have now been given 30 days to leave the home they’ve owned since they arrived in France as their income is lower than that stipulated in French immigration requirements. Lawrence believes this is the first warning that, should the UK finally leave the EU, this well be the fate of a huge number of British expats who’ve made France their home for years. She thinks carte de sejour applications are being used to identify expats whose income is less than €559.74 monthly for a single person and €868.20 for couples. Pensioners must receive €868.20 if single and €1,347 of a couple, amounts which disqualify many British retirees living solely on their UK state pension, especially should sterling fall still further post-Brexit.

France is one of several EU member states which, in spite of the free movement directive, is able to set conditions for legal residence which include a minimum level of personal income as well as dictating the need for employment, self-employment or the ability ‘to live self-sufficiently using your own resources’. Students in France who study at accredited universities are exempt from the ruling. Up until now, income checks have rarely been made, meaning a large number of Britons have lived happily in their homes in spite of spending less than the amount the French government deems necessary.

A further complication to this already crucial issue is that French governance devolves to local areas, with a good number of prefectures acting differently and independently from each other. This is already causing problems for many British expatriates attempting to get their cartes de sejour, with some actually being refused or told to return after the UK leaves the EU. A spokesperson for the Remain in France Together group told the media some 3367 30-day orders to leave have been received, citing applicants' inability to meet legal residency conditions, although it’s not clear how many recipients were British expats.

With Brexit now at a standstill and no way forward yet presented, perhaps it’s time for Theresa May and her followers to come out in favour of their own people living in France and reciprocate by treating French long-term residents in the UK in a similar manner.

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