Will British citizens with EU residency be allowed free movement post Brexit?

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    • #192797

      With hard Brexit looking more and more likely by the day, does anyone know if British nationals who currently have residency in EU member states (like Spain, Portugal or Ireland for example) be entitled to free movement throughout EU member states post Brexit?

      There are horror stories circulating about British nationals needing a visa waiver in order to be able to travel to EU countries and I was wondering if this would apply to EU residents with British passports. Perhaps there are some non-EU nationals who are resident in Spain who can answer this question. What is the deal for US and Canadian nationals for example?

      We are in uncharted territory here but any thoughts would be appreciated.


    • #192816

      The answer to your question is nobody knows.

      The negotiations haven’t even begun. So ignore all horror stories and remember this… there are about 3.3 millions EU citizens living and working in the U.K. (mostly very hard). Few retirees, mostly young, ‘get up and go’ types, which is exactly what they have done. Contrast this with about 1.3 million UK citizens living in the EU, many working in higher paid jobs and lots and lots of retirees with cash and pension incomes. ( Source, Migration watch).

      Nobody’s throwing anybody out. The 48% simply won’t stand for it.  We will all have free movement for holidays and fun and retirement. Spain has a history of open doors for such inflows of people and capital. The Spanish have a golden visa for non EU residents who invest €500,000+ in real estate.

      The biggest problem I see at the moment is the sinking £ making Spain look very expensive, especially after you add the 12% + transaction costs. Plus, post Brexit, any tax equality between EU residents and Spanish residents may well disappear, a big deal if you are renting out your place.

      Finally, Teresa May’s speech was to the party conference. She had to be bold and loud and bullish to the party faithful, and they loved her for it. Shades of 1984.

      She was also sending a message, slightly more sotto voce, to the EU. We’re leaving, and no later than April Fools Day, 2019.

      I hope this allays some of your fears.



    • #192822

      Simple answer is no, residency doesn’t give you freedom of movement around the EU.

      • #192824

        Thanks for your replies, I had rather suspected that residency alone would not allow freedom of movement around the EU. Obviously formal negotiations will not commence until A50 has been triggered and then we will be locked into a 2 year negotiation period with the clock running down. I hope we don’t end up with hard Brexit because it will mean no single market or freedom of movement which will be a problem for many Brits with property in Spain.

    • #192825

      Reports from the Conservative party conference point to a Hard Brexit as the only option and the preferred option on both sides. Yes, it sucks.

      Get a EU passport.

    • #192826

      Good advice regarding getting an EU passport. I’m about to apply for an Irish passport by virtue of Irish born grandparents only (just one would be enough). Both my parents were UK born. It’s a bit of a process involving registering foreign births etc but the rules are quite clear, I will get one, eventually. The Irish authorities have been flooded by applications ever since the referendum and this week’s announcements will bring yet more. So if anyone wants an EU passport and has an Irish grandparent, even if long since deceased, then get in now; they could change the rules at any time as they were not designed for this type of passport shopping.

    • #192830

      Snap, I’m going the Irish passport route too! It’s definitely the way the go but not an option for my partner.

      I think the 48% (which will increase to well over 50% with a 5 year demographic shift) are now looking for an escape plan. I wonder if there will be more Golden Visa opportunities available with lower price tags?

      There’s no doubt about it, a high percentage of the 48% want out of the UK so any EU member states that come up with good schemes are going to clean up.

    • #192835

      I’ve been French resident for 23 years (longer than I ever lived in the UK). I’m trying to apply for a French passport, but the paperwork required is daunting, and in some cases, impossible (an original copy of my mother’s South African birth certificate from 1935. Photocopies, even notarised are not accepted). As we’re moving to Spain next month and I really, really don’t want to be French, I’d rather get Spanish residency and hang on for 5 years before applying for a Spanish passport. So I guess I’ll have to go through maybe three years of visa waiver before I can apply for a Spanish passport.

      Shame that there’s no EU passport with no country attached.

    • #192889

      poujol, I agree, it is a shame there is no such thing as an EU passport, there would be plenty of takers that’s for sure.

      Re your situation, I believe you have to be resident in Spain for 10 years before your can obtain a Spanish passport.

      I’m sure the majority of people don’t ever want to see the introduction of a horrendous visa waiver scheme but we do have to plan for worst case scenario. The effects of Brexit are now beginning to bite (with much worse to come) so I am hoping that the UK will be forced into EEA membership. The government is now coming under immense pressure and business leaders do not want to leave the single market – they have written an open letter to the government pleading their case for barrier free trade.

      It might be a good idea to obtain Spanish residency immediately and hope for the best.

    • #193008

      Before the UK joined the EU in 1975 there was no problem coming to Spain or buying property here. Similarly in the subsequent period when UK was a member but Spain was not there was no problem. Spain has always benefited from the money British tourists and residents spend in the country. Currently, it benefits even more from the number of its nationals (who might otherwise be unemployed in Spain) working in the UK and sending money back to Spain. It would be completely against Spain’s interests to impose any restrictions and I believe that when all the sabre rattling is done things will continue pretty much the same as they are now except that it is probable that if you want to work in Spain you will need a work permit.

      • #193715

        Hi John.. many have tried to second guess what will happen after Brexit. But a guess is all it is. I like your approach – ‘how it was before’… personally I feel there will be a logical outcome and what you say is logical and would seem to be a great answer. Thanks..

    • #193088

      Trying to second guess what will happen early in 2019 is probably futile and liable to cause unnecessary panic amongst those British nationals who live in Spain, either with or without residency.

      My inclination, having lived in Spain for 15 years and as a tax resident here is to trust in the negotiations which the British government is yet to start with the E.U. and which cannot start in earnest until Article 50 has been triggered.

      Meanwhile we should keep our ears to the ground and continue to watch forums like this.  My feeling is that John Collier (see above thread) is likely to be proven right when he says that little is likely to change.  So making a sudden decision as a knee-jerk reaction to instinctive panic is neither necessary nor, in most cases, desirable.

    • #193647

      But I think important to get a residencia in any case before Article 50 triggered. but still keep within 182 days and file it promptly every year because getting  the Residencia does not make you tax resident by itself. If any professional and /or Mark would like to support this please do.

    • #193661
      Chris Nation

      “There’s no doubt about it, a high percentage of the 48% want out of the UK”

      Eh? How do you work that out? The 48% voted to stay in the EU. They did not vote to leave the UK if ‘Out’ won.

      The 48% may be hacked off at the result. I am. Some -a very small % of the 48% – might take the opportunity of acquiring a set of braces to go with their belts by getting an EU country passport in case they feel inclined to leave UK for an EU country or are now in one. I would. But all save a vanishingly small % of the 48% will continue their lives as residents of UK. They will simply be peeved that their lives will not include the UK being in the EU.

    • #193662
      Chris Nation

      As nobody knows and some wag reckons May’s Brexit policy is “Think of one! Quick!”, let’s have a bit of fun with this.

      Remain 16,141,241 (48.1%)      Leave 17,410,742    (51.9%)

      Don’t argue. This is from the Electoral Commission.

      If “A very high percentage of the 48 want out of UK” what might that mean? What is “a very high percentage”? Got to be a min of 60% – maybe 75%? That’s “very high”. That would mean 12,105,930.75 people want to leave UK now we are heading for Brexit.

      I know you can’t have 0.75 of a person but if there is an adult male ‘Remainer’ the same height as the late Ronnie Corbett – 1.52m/59.84/4.99ft” –  they can be our 0.75 of a person.

      12,105,930 people + a very small male person (got to be male because 4.99ft is nigh on 75% of the average male these days) leave UK. That empties Greater London and Leeds and Bristol and Brum and Glasgow and Edinburgh and Swindon – give or take.

      The result of that would be that the whole main thrust of the Brexiteers – UK swamped by immigrants – would be scuppered at a stroke. They would have been proved wrong. The remaining 51.9% would complain, especially if members of families who were ‘remainers’ had gone off with the car/dog/remainer-from-next-door-who-they’d-always-fancied, leaving a ‘leaver’ calling down fire and brimstone on Nige and Boris ….

      The 12,105,930 people + a very small male person go where? Wherever they go, fanning out across Europe, Canada, Australia and all the other places ‘remainers’ doing a runner are reputed to be set to run to, they are now immigrants to those countries. The people of those countries have their own Niges and Borises. UKIP-alikes win elections all over the world. The ‘remainers’ who rocked up are told to leave.

      But back in UK, there are empty seats where checkout staff used to be. classes with no teachers. There is absolutely no chattering going on in Hampstead and The Guardian is entirely written by the guy who comes once a month to service the copying machines.

      Boatloads of ‘remainers’ who left pile onto the beaches from Skirza to Mouseshole. UK rejoins, most of the ‘Remainers’, who in fact became leavers, return and we could all go back to where we were on 22nd June, thinking 23rd June had all been a bad dream.

      • This reply was modified 7 years, 5 months ago by Chris Nation. Reason: formatting and addendum
    • #193664

      I am long term ES resident and I work in other EU member states so I wrote to my MP (of former UK constituency) to ask this very question.  To their credit I got 2 replies although neither reply addressed my specific question.

      I cannot see how the UK will get a better deal on Freedom of Movement than other non EU states. Which means, I believe this has been corroborated above, that whilst we would expect to have continued right of residency in Spain that does not equate to continue to have the right to go and work or reside in other EU countries.  I like to hope I am wrong on this..

      So whilst I am sure no barriers will be placed to stop the tourists (non-residents) coming in for up to 180 days, I cannot see how I will be allowed to continue to earn my livelihood whilst holding a British passport and go and work in other EU countries.  Also can’t see the Spanish govt. giving many work permits out to Brits that decide they want to move here after we leave !

      Have started the paperwork to be able to apply for ES nationality if that is the best option… it is indeed 10 years of continuous residency if you are applying on the basis of residency.

    • #193667

      To second guess the outcome of Brexit at this stage, and possibly at any stage before the moment of signature, is a complete and utter waste of time.

      There are millions of people expressing their fears and ambitions, there are numerous media outlets playing on fears and prejudices, and there are hundreds of politicians jostling for positions.

      The best guess anyone can make at the moment is to assume the worst case as for current non-EU citizens resident or simply travelling within the EU. Anything better than this will be a plus.

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