Brexit – the elephant in the room.

The uncertainty around Brexit is of course a concern for most people. For anyone planning a move to France, or any other EU country, it is a huge unknown. We’re doing our best to press ahead with our plans but Brexit remains the elephant in the room that we’re doing our best to ‘ignore’.

At present no one knows what Brexit will mean for British citizens currently resident in France, though the expectation has always been that some kind of reciprocal arrangement will be agreed whereby they will be permitted to remain with, to all intents and purposes, the same status. However, with a ‘no deal’ Brexit looking increasingly likely even this scenario can’t be taken for granted.

For those of us planning a move to France at some point in the next couple of years things are even more up in the air. If somehow a Brexit deal can be agreed then it is possible that the planned transition period between the UK leaving the EU, on 31stMarch 2019, and 31stDecember 2020 will provide a window for those of us not already settled in France to move their and establish residence. After that no one knows what the rules will be.

In the worst case if we end up with a ‘no deal’ Brexit then all bets are off. It will be up to the French Government to decide whether to treat UK citizens as third-country nationals or to offer some kind of preferential treatment or special status, presumably with much stricter criteria regarding income, savings and health insurance. Otherwise we’d be looking at a long-term visitor visa, permitting only 90 days residence in any 180-day period – hardly conducive to running a B&B.

For the moment we watch the news with some anxiety, trawling the web for positive signs from governments, commentators and online ‘sages’. We can’t move sooner than 2020 for all sorts of domestic reasons; meaning browsing French property web sites is essentially ‘property porn’. In the meantime we’re planning a trip to check out our preferred destination in the next couple of months, working on our business plan and keeping everything crossed that sense will prevail.

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