British expats set to get rights to continue working and living in EU nations

by Ray Clancy on November 24, 2016

The impact of Brexit on British expats based in European Union, particularly their rights to live and work, has been a major worry for many, but now it looks as if they will be allowed to remain without too much change.

Many had feared they would have to move back to the UK when Brexit is finally enacted sometime in 2019, but officials have hinted that deals with each of the 27 EU member states have been given the go ahead.

expat-brexitIt means that negotiators will have to agree deals with each member state but all but a handful have already signalled that they are ready to strike a reciprocal deal regarding living and working rights.

Senior UK Government figures are understood to have told business leaders that outlines of a reciprocal rights agreement for Britons in the EU, and EU nationals living in the UK will be done.

Earlier this week David Davies, the UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, travelled to Brussels to begin laying the groundwork for negotiations before Britain formally triggers the Brexit process which is due to happen by the end of March 2017.

It was the first meeting between Davies and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, and working and living rights are set to become a major point of discussion as it is estimated that there are 3.3 million EU nationals living in Britain and 1.2 million Britons living in the 27 EU countries.

Poland has the most EU nationals living in the UK at around 883,000, followed by Germany with 297,000 and Romania with 229,000, while Spain is the most popular EU country with British expats where they number round 309,000, followed by Ireland with 255,000 and France with 185,000.

‘I want an early agreement on the status of UK nationals in Europe and EU nationals here, so that you and they can plan with certainty,’ British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a speech earlier this week.

British expats have voiced their unease and feel they are being left in limbo in terms of what their living and working right will be in a post Brexit Europe. They also have concerns about health care, insurance and pensions.

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