1-year to get card if no-deal Brexit, says France

People standing in front of EU and UK flags

The French prime minister has today made a statement clarifying more France’s plans for a no-deal Brexit – including giving one year for British residents to get a residency card in such an event.

As long as the same is extended to French people in the UK, Britons would retain all the same rights for this 12-month period, says Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today. He has described no-deal as "less and less improbable" after this week's vote against the Brexit deal by British MPs.

Under the plans Britons would have the right to apply either for a residency card, if they have lived in France for more than five years, or one of the existing cards for third-country nationals who have lived in France for less than five years, if that is not the case (but with simplified conditions for obtaining the card compared to what is normally required for non-EU nationals).

A residency card is usually either renewable after ten years or permanent, whereas the other cards are mostly renewable annually (but holders may apply for a residency card, on conditions of language skills and earning at least the Smic, after five years).

These arrangements would require new laws to be passed by government order. A law allowing the government to pass new laws by order, so as to deal rapidly with the no-deal scenario, is expected to be passed definitively by Parliament today.

Connexion is seeking to find out more about what is proposed, including whether people who already have a permanent carte de séjour as European citizens will be allowed to simply exchange it for one of the new cards.

It is also planned that the order will preserve the social security rights of Britons living in France before Brexit, allow them to stay in certain regulated professions not open to non-EU foreigners (notaires, avocats, accountants…) and to remain as fonctionnaires (civil servants, including teachers in state schools, nurses in public hospitals etc).

The Prime Minister’s office says a separate order would “ensure the continuity of certain financial activities, in particular relating to insurance, after the loss of the UK’s financial passport”. This may refer to, for example, ensuring that people living in France could continue to receive pensions from British private pensions managed by British insurance companies as well as insurance pay-outs from British insurance contracts.

We have also asked to clarify this point.

Other orders would be made on matters such as preparations at the ports and airports.

The Prime Minister’s office says in a statement that they have asked the Interior Ministry  and the Europe and Foreign Affairs Ministry to keep Britons in France well-informed. It says in a statement: “Brexit will be a change, but we are determined to maintain the excellent level of integration between our two countries.”

Mr Philippe said today France is "quite legitimately waiting for a similar level [or protections] from the British side and we hope good sense will prevail on the other side of the Channel".

See our February edition of The Connexion newspaper, out next week, for more about Brexit including about these plans.

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