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Hi All
My wife and I hare toying with the idea of 6 months in France and then 6 months back in Australia. We have chosen around the Carcassonne area to possibly rent for the 6 months. The long term view is to live there permanently. We will be retiring within 4 years.
However my wife is concerned about health insurance, if we decide to live in France forever.
We have been BUPA members for over 30 years and do they offer a service where we can keep paying them and we are covered, without taking out new policies.
Also my wife was born in the UK and is currently applying for her British passport. If she gets her British passport, does the Schengen area apply to her or myself. I was born in Australia and have only a Aussie passport.
Thank you for reading :fingerscrossed:
 

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If your wife has a British passport, you can stay in France under the terms of the procedure for the non-EU spouse joining their EU spouse "exercising their EU rights."

But one small caveat on your plans. Your tax situation will get unnecessarily complicated unless you decide to establish one country as your "tax domicile" - doesn't really matter which one, but make sure to spend the majority of your time (even if just a few days over the 183 day "half" year) one place or the other. It IS possible to be considered tax resident in two places at the same time, but it's not terribly convenient.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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If your wife has a British passport, you can stay in France under the terms of the procedure for the non-EU spouse joining their EU spouse "exercising their EU rights."

But one small caveat on your plans. Your tax situation will get unnecessarily complicated unless you decide to establish one country as your "tax domicile" - doesn't really matter which one, but make sure to spend the majority of your time (even if just a few days over the 183 day "half" year) one place or the other. It IS possible to be considered tax resident in two places at the same time, but it's not terribly convenient.
Cheers,
Bev
True, but in this case, there may be an even bigger caveat (albeit that I suspect Tony may already be aware of it). I apologise for the length of the following but it may apply to Tony.

And it applies pretty much the same way as in France. The issue is Australian Age Pension eligibility. To be eligible, you must be in Australia on the date you claim AND you must have been an Australian resident for the previous 2 years.

To be eligible for Age Pension you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be:

an Australian resident on the day you lodge your claim, and
be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim

Age Pension

That means having continuing ties to Australia, and not being away for more than 6 months in each Australian Tax Year. If you stayed away for 6 moths or more in the Australian Tax year, you would not only have French issues to deal with but would be at very serious risk of losing your Australian residency (likely both for Australian taxation AND Social Security purposes), and Age Pension eligibility. (But you could still return and reside in Australia as an Australian citizen, of course, just need to be a resident for the 2 years previous to claiming).

A person arriving in or returning to Australia (1.1.A.320) must satisfy the Act's definition of Australian resident (section 7(2)) in order to lodge a proper claim for a pension. A former resident who returns to Australia and is granted a pension (Age, DSP, WP, WidB, BVA), or who transferred under SS(Admin)Act section 12 to Age CANNOT take that pension outside Australia if they leave again within 24 months after having again become an Australian resident. The purpose of this legislation is to discourage people from coming to Australia just to get an Australian pension to take back overseas.
7.1.4 Requirements for Former Residents of Australia Receiving a Portable Pension

It's sloppily explained, but basically means sure, if you return from being a foreign resident and you're 65, we'll pay you an Age Pension right away. But if you leave within 2 years, you get it cancelled. You have to have 2 years residency BEFORE getting the Age Pension, then you can leave as soon as it's claimed after turning 65 (although I'd wait till it was granted).

You can find information about what constitutes tax residency for Australia here: Tax Tools - Residency
but be aware that although similar, this is not identical to the requirements of the Social Security Act 1991, which is what Centrelink uses to assess Pension eligibility. However, the same generally applies - they'd expect less than 6 month out of Australia in each tax year (July to June), bank accounts, house etc, in Australia:

You are living in Australia if Australia is your usual place of residence. That is, Australia is where you make your home.

When we are deciding whether you are living in Australia we will look at:

the nature of your accommodation, and
the nature and extent of your family relationships in Australia, and
the nature and extent of your employment, business or financial ties with Australia, and
the frequency and duration of your travel outside Australia, and
any other matter we think is relevant

Residence descriptions

Here's their guide for what their staff look at:
3.1.1.10 Residence Requirements

I would not state that I was planning to move overseas until after the Pension was granted, although you likely wouldn't contact them before that, except possibly at the actual time of claiming. If they queried the time overseas at all, you'd still be an Australian resident for those 2 preceding years - it would be more of a simple 5 months of so holiday within each tax year....;) which is quite legitimate.

There is no reciprocal pension agreement (yet) with France, so you MUST ensure you keep your eligibility for the Australian Age Pension, and you must be in Australia when you want to claim it. After that, you can go where you want as long as you want.

Remember too though, that unless you were both born on the same day, you'll have to keep doing this leave-for-less-than-6-months thing, until the other person is old enough to claim theirs too!

The only alternative to this at the moment, is that you could claim at 65 in other countries that do have a reciprocal Social Security agreement with Australia, eg Germany, Italy, Spain, etc (not the UK). You'd have to reside there for a few months, become a resident and get it then, which you can do without the Australian residence on-the-day requirement - in that situation your total duration of years in Australia is what matters.

Before working as a senior Australian Immigration Officer for quite a few years, I worked for Centrelink for quite a number of years too, in many roles, so I can read their legislation and rules.

As well, we are in a similar situation, my older wife will be 65 in 3 years, so until then we'll need to limit stays to less than 6 months in any Australia Tax year, so as not to lose our residency and Pension eligibility ;)

I'm younger, and have an older eligibility date (won't get it till 67! which is about 9 years away) - we won't wait for that though, there is a reciprocal Social Security agreement being negotiated with France but it could be done next month or never. I'll hope it is done by the time I need it, as I don't want toi have to return for 2 years to get my part-pension, then if we had to, we''d go live in Germany for a few months, (wife is German and has family there) get residency and claim mine under the agreement with them, then move back to France.
 
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