What could the Brexit deal mean for expats in Europe?

brexit expats

What could the Brexit deal mean for expats in Europe?

Here we try to offer our opinion on some of the most common questions we get from expats in Europe surrounding Brexit and Boris’s deal.

What will happen with regards to my bank accounts?

Due to a transition period between January 31st and December 31st, existing agreements between Britain and the E.U will stay the same between now and the end of the year. Savers can be certain that Brexit will not change their financial situation much during this time. After December 31st is still not clear and how savers interact with European banks will depend on trade deals struck with the E.U.

The Brexit deal also decreases the chance that expats in the E.U will lose access to their accounts based in the UK. This was a potential risk in a no-deal scenario, because the FCA had offered European financial firms the ability to keep trading in the UK after a no-deal Brexit, but the same had not happened in reverse.

What about my state pension? 

British people living in the E.U who are receiving their state pension should continue to receive their money with no issues. Whilst these people do not benefit from the ‘triple lock’ that those in Britain do, the government has guaranteed to continue uplifting for 3 years, which is essentially where they replicate any increase due to the triple lock. The triple lock means that the state pension payments increase in line with either price inflation, average wage growth or 2.5%, depending which is highest. Currently the government essentially replicates this increase for people receiving their U.K state pension in the E.U.

After the 3 years there is no guarantee, but it is likely the UK would come to a reciprocal agreement with the EU, where the government guarantees to increase payouts to British pensioners living overseas if EU countries agree to do the same for their retirees living in Britain.  

Should I book a holiday? 

Up until December of this year we will be in a transition period where all existing travel arrangements will continue as they are. After this the main issue will most likely just be an added inconvenience rather than the inability to travel. The European Tourism Association published a report estimating that boarder checks could add 90 seconds per UK passport holder. This would mean a typical flight with 189 passengers from the U.K to a European airport could take almost an additional 5 hours to process.

Will I need a new passport? 

No. Again, during the transition period nothing will change. After that it would be wise to have a passport with at least 6 months of validity on it, as is currently required when you travel to any non-European country.

Will I have health cover? 

Currently the European Health Insurance Card gives British expats in Europe and Brits there on holiday free or reduced-cost treatment whilst in the E.U. We expect the government to try to keep the scheme going or at least a similar version. However, it is recommended to have your own travel insurance anyway given the European Health Insurance card has limitations.

Will house prices rise or fall? 

Since the referendum we saw a reduction in the number of houses put up for sale and a decline in house price growth. This combined with a weak pound has presented some great opportunities for those of us earning in other currencies. According to statistics from the Post Office, the average time it takes to sell a property has risen by almost 2 weeks. Analysts are now predicting things to pick up a bit as certainty starts to return to the market and since the start of the year prices have increased at their fastest pace in the last 2 years. There are still fantastic opportunities, especially in the north of the country. Check out our property partner Britannia Global here to see some of the fantastic properties they have available.

If you are concerned about potential impacts to your finances, get in touch to speak to one of our advisers here.

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Alan Turner

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