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BREXIT

How much will I need to earn to qualify for residency in France post-Brexit?

Many British people living in France are worried that their financial resources won't be enough to meet the required limits once the UK leaves the EU. While there are guidelines for what those limits could be, there is much uncertainty about the future rules.

How much will I need to earn to qualify for residency in France post-Brexit?
Illustration photo: AFP

As Brexit inches closer, many British people living in France are nervous about having to reveal their income to French authorities in order to gain a residence permit.

Their fear is that the amount they earn won't meet the minimum resources necessary to qualify for Carte de Séjour in France and that as a result they will be kicked out of the country.

“I'm worried in case it is refused. What would I do then?” one 66-year-old reader, who has been in France for over 16 years told The Local.
 
One 64 year-old who lives in Cannes but asked not to be named said: “I'm retired in France on a small French pension of €80 a month. I have no savings and little income. I manage by getting work where I can.”
 
Another retiree Roderick Darby, who has lived in a small town in the Tarn for the last 13 years said: “I'm retired with small pensions totaling €410 per month. I'm worried that's insufficient”. 
 
The question is what will be “sufficient” after Brexit? For the moment we just don't know.
 
What we do know is that whether Britain leaves the EU with a deal or without one, British people living here will have to gain a residency permit, meaning they will have to prove they are in France legally, which means showing they have “sufficient resources” not to be a burden on the state.

However, what we don't know is what the minimum requirements will be in either a deal or no-deal scenario. For a no-deal scenario these are set to be announced in a decree that will be released by the French government.  

READ ALSO:

16 days until Brexit: Here's the latest advice for Britons living in France
Photo: AFP / Depositphotos

We do at least have some guidelines to go on.

At the moment, the income requirements to qualify for a Carte de Sejour for the British, and other nationalities belonging to the EU, vary according to your situation. 

“We hope that the amounts used for current residents will be those carried forward into the decree, but obviously don't have certainty on that,” Kalba Meadows from Remain in France Together told The Local. “As to how closely they stick to them … it's complicated!”

For example, if you're living alone and do not have children, you must earn at least €550.93 a month and that goes up to €943.28 if you have one child. 

Similarly if you live with your partner, you must bring in €826.40 as a household and this goes up to €991.68 if you have one child. 

You can see the full list for those under 65 in the table below from the official government website

If you are over 65 and live alone you must bring in at least €868.20 or €1,347.88 as a household if you live with your partner. These income requirements can also be found on the government website

The Local has contacted the Interior Ministry several times for confirmation on when the decree announcing the limits will be released however they have so far been unable to do so. 
 
Kalba Meadows from RIFT also said she was hopeful that people's applications would be treated on a case by case basis, although she added that she couldn't be sure this would happen. 
 
“This is something I've talked to the Ministry about a lot and their view is clear – as the Directive, the circular and the guidelines all say the question of sufficient resources can't be dealt with in a blanket way but must be decided on a case by case basis. That doesn't, though, always happen,” she said. 
 
The official Ministry guidance to préfectures states that personal circumstances must be taken into account when determining whether somebody is likely to represent a 'burden on the state”, explains an article on the Remain in France Together site.
 
“For example, somebody with no mortgage or living rent free is likely to need a lower income than somebody in a large rented house with high outgoings, and an amount will be notionally added to your resources to reflect this.”
 
Those who don't have a healthy income but have resources from elsewhere such as savings and investments needn't worry as these are also taken into account by French authorities.
 
But another factor that will no doubt complicate matters is that prefectures around the country have a habit of acting independently and very different from each other.
 
“This is France and as all this is devolved to préfectures there is difference in treatment in different areas,” she said.
 
Campaigners from RIFT and British in Europe as well as the British Embassy in Paris have been making French authorities aware of just how many Brits in France are living on low levels of income.
 
When The Local asked Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau about how many Britons feared they would not meet the “sufficient resource” requirements she said the government would look closely at the issue but added a warning.
 
“This is the case for citizens of all third countries. We have to make sure that they have sufficient means to stay in the country,” she said.
 
RIFT is urging Brits in France to do “the most important thing”, which is to “put together a clear statement of all your resources and how you live on them now, then back this up with evidence in your dossier.”
 
In other words it's best to be prepared for what comes next. Whatever that is.
 

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BRITS IN EUROPE

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

After years of campaigns and promises British citizens living abroad finally won the lifelong right to vote in UK general elections in April 2022. But campaigners say more needs to be done to allow all those Britons abroad to be able cast their votes easily.

Brits in Europe won right to vote for life in UK but questions remain

What’s in the law?

The Elections Act 2022 introduced several changes to the current legislation on electoral participation. Among these, it removed the rule by which British citizens lose their voting rights in the UK if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years

The new rules also abolished the requirement to have been previously registered in the UK electoral roll to become an overseas voter. In addition, the registration in the electoral roll will now last up to three years instead of only one year.

It is estimated that these changes could increase the number of overseas voter registrations by some 3 million. But the way new measures will be applied in practice is still to be defined.

READ ALSO: ‘Mixed feelings’ – British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

Defining the practicalities

Under the new law, Britons living abroad will have to register to vote in the last place they were registered in the UK. This means that people who have never lived in the UK will be ineligible to vote, regardless of how long they have been overseas, while those who left when they were children will be able to use a parent or guardian’s address.

But given that the UK does not require residents to register with local councils, how to prove previous UK residence? “Typical documents accepted as a proof of residence are Council tax or utilities bills, but not everyone will have them or will have kept them in an international move,” says Fiona Godfrey, co-founder of the British in Europe coalition.

Ballot papers are pictured in stacks in a count centre as part of the 2019 UK general election. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)

Other questions concern how people will effectively cast their ballot. UK citizens overseas will be able to vote by post or by proxy or in person at their polling station if they are in the UK at the time of the election. However, few people are likely to travel to the UK for an election and in the past there have problems and delays with postal voting.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that overseas electors appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. But who could that be for people who have been away from their constituency for a long time?

New secondary legislation will have to answer these questions, defining how to be included in the electoral roll and how to exercise the voting right in practice.

According to British in Europe, the government should present draft legislation in the first half of the year so that the parliament can adopt it before summer and registrations of overseas voters can start in the autumn.

British in Europe survey

British in Europe are currently running a survey to understand the difficulties UK citizens abroad may face in the registration and voting process, as well as their intention to participate in elections.

The survey asks for instance which documents people can access to prove their previous residence in the UK, what problems they had voting in the past, and if and how they plan to vote in the future.

“We need to get an up-to-date picture of British citizens living around the world and have information to make recommendations to the government, as it prepares secondary legislation,” Godfrey said. “If millions of people will exercise their voting rights, there will be consequences for council registration offices, post office and authorities that will manage the process, among other things” she argued.

The right to vote concerns only UK parliamentary elections and national referendums, not elections in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or at local level.

The survey is open to UK citizens living anywhere in the world and is available at this link.

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