Good news for working expats and pension rights

One month after the historic vote, there is a glimmer of hope for UK expats in France

24 August 2016
By Connexion journalist

No guarantees have been given but some positive advances have been made regarding the rights of British people to live and work in France after Brexit.

After a meeting at the end of July with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, President François Hollande – although making no reference to retirees – said: “There’s no doubt that… British people in France will equally be able to continue working here and spending as much time here as they want.”

Mrs May has also stated that the only circumstance where the rights of French expats in the UK would not be protected would be if the rights of Britons in France were not maintained. She has confirmed that Article 50, the starting gun on Britain’s EU exit negotiations, will not be invoked this year.

Several legal challanges relating to the procedure to do this have been lodged.

Many readers report applying for permanent cartes de séjour or French nationality in a bid to safeguard rights.

The French Ministry of the Interior has reiterated that the rights of Britons here have not changed since the vote.

The statement came after Connexion alerted the ministry to the fact that several prefectures were refusing to grant cartes de séjour to Britons because of the vote. The cards are not obligatory but are a right of EU citizens who have lived in an EU country for five years continuously. They guarantee a right to live here indefinitely (but with a ten-year renewal period).

Britons could also see their state pensions protected in France as in the UK despite fears they could be frozen as is the case in most non-EU countries.

An agreement between France and the UK, predating the UK’s entry into the EEC, states that Britons in France will maintain full pension rights as in the UK. The agreement has been confirmed by the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions which also confirmed it included annual rises. It is hoped that this could be used to protect pensions after Brexit.

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