Will Brexit change the French attitude towards Brit expats?

Will Brexit change the French attitude towards Brit expats?

Will Brexit change the French attitude towards Brit expats?

Moving to France or any other unfamiliar country is a massive lifestyle change. For decades,

France has been a major destination for Britons looking to start a new life, whether with a new job, a relocation, a start-up or in retirement. The closeness of the home country is a major draw, especially if you’ve a network of close friends and family back home, with regular visits straightforward until now. As the Brexit debacle drags on, one thing’s for certain, living as an expat in our closest neighbouring state is going to be very different.

Since the shock result of the 2016 referendum, any information on becoming a British expat in France has assumed the UK will remain in a close partnership with the European member states, but parliamentary chaos may have affected our neighbours’ perception of the value of the UK’s input.

A small majority of those who voted to leave wanted freedom from the EU, with the rest believing the referendum was just an advisory exercise in democracy. All of us, whether remainers or leavers, know better now, but no-one’s listening. Should the leavers win this tedious, badly-planned and poorly-presented game, life for even established expats in France will be very different, not just because of the new rules but also because the entire farce has changed the overall French view of Britons in general.

Brits wishing to live on the other side of the English Channel will face the same difficulties as Americans and other nationalities as regards getting permission to work, finding jobs, proving there’s enough pension money to support retirement and also finding the cash to buy overpriced private health insurance. Suddenly, the dream of a French gite and a life in the sun is fading for many, and those looking to further their careers via a stint overseas may well find French bureaucracy and the French themselves too much to handle.

At present, some 300,000 Britons are estimated as living in France, but in the real world the figure is much higher. However, only half of those who arrive actually stay the course, even if they become seasonal expats visiting in the warmer months, and those who find life across the channel just as frustrating as in the UK usually head back home after a few years at most. The onset of Brexit in any of its anticipated forms seems like a warning blast across the bows as regards hoping your French dream comes true.

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