Theresa May's letter has been delivered and like it or not
the UK is on the way out of Europe with still no clarity as to what
the status of British ex-pats living in other European countries
actually is. Can they stay? Should they be making plans to sell up
and leave? Should they hastily acquire Irish citizenship in the
hope that they will avoid the full impact of Brexit? Should they
think about applying for Spanish/German/Italian etc. citizenship?
The numbers of British ex-pats living in Europe varies depending on
which newspaper or new report you see, however, suffice it to say
there are quite a few.
Spain has the largest community of British ex-pats, exceeding
even Ireland, according to the latest British Government
statistics. The vast majority of whom are over 65 years old; many
have absolutely no connection in the UK at all having left 20 or 30
years ago. They now feel that they face an uncertain future and
nobody can reassure them that it will be otherwise. Whilst there is
some thinking time before the axe falls, in practical and
commercial terms there may not be much as people think. As there is
likely to be a clamour for alternative citizenship, wherever it may
be, (and this has started already with applications for Irish
citizenship soaring), it is quite possible that certain countries,
in the face of a steep increase in applications arising from
individuals without any strong family connection, may decide to
vary the qualifying requirements or costs or both to hold back the
For those people who decide to return to the UK they will have
to ensure that all their affairs are dealt with and there are no
loose ends to come back to haunt them. Property may lose value as
more and more houses come on to the market coupled with the fact
that it will be a buyers' market and they will be well aware
that the vendors will not want to drag their feet and may try
pushing the price down even further.
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