Brexit and incomes: France to be flexible

‘Generous approach’ but residency refusals reported

27 February 2019
By Oliver Rowland

France will take a “generous and flexible” approach to minimum income levels for residency criteria for Britons after Brexit.

It was feared that income levels for obtaining an obligatory card could pose particular problems in the case of a no-deal.

Non-EU pensioners currently applying, for example, need a minimum income of €1,200 net per person per month – although whether you own your home can be taken into account. Self-employed workers must show they can support themselves without benefits.

A French Interior Ministry source said:  “The card would be more flexible in terms of revenue criteria than what exists for non-EU citizens. This would be specific to Britons.

“The idea is to authorise the residency of retirees with small pensions, or no pension, as long as they have complementary incomes, such as help from their family, investment incomes, etc.

“We know that’s the situation for many British retirees in the south west of France.”

Problems have already been flagged up by Britons applying for residency cards as EU citizens, a formality recommended to ease administration later.

One woman is appealing in Brittany after being rejected because her income as a self-employed gardener was too low due to working less as she was ill.

Two single mothers who run outdoor activities in the Alps were told their income is too low as they have children, and last year a woman in the south was expelled as she had been living solely on French welfare benefits.

In all cases, the people’s income situation was flagged up by residency applications.

Rules for EU citizens, which were rarely applied strictly before the Brexit vote, require enough income so as not to need help from France in the first five years of living here.

The rules for non-EU citizens after Brexit are stricter and set minimum incomes.

British Ambassador to France Lord Llewellyn said at a meeting that the UK is not asking for proof of income for EU citizens to stay in Britain, or for private medical insurance. He said they are in talks with the French and hope this will be closely matched.

The embassy also hopes the French will lower the fee for no-deal cards which, based on the current standard rules for non-EU citizens, would be €269.

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