How many people from the UK live in other EU countries?
|July 10, 2018||Posted by admin under Uncategorized|
An immigrant is anyone who moves from their country of origin to work and reside in another country. The main reason for immigration is the search for better opportunities. The first UK immigrants in history were mainly explorers, travelers, military men and merchants. During the age of discovery large ships set off with these groups in order to explore and conquer distant lands that had not been discovered. The 19th century saw one of the largest migrations of UK citizens to different continents across the globe due to the numerous colonies that had been established during the expansion of the British Empire.
Some of the countries that UK citizens migrated to during this period included Hong Kong, Jamaica, Southern Rhodesia and British East Africa among others. The most preferred destination during this period for British emigrants was the United States. Migrations were much easier then and there were almost three million UK nationals living abroad. In territories such as Australia that they had colonized, the UK emigrants managed to displace the original inhabitants in population in just a short span of time.
Today migration laws have become more stringent and certain conditions must be met before one can migrate into or out of the UK. An immigration policy is now in place in the UK to determine who can come into the territory and the conditions for their stay. It is easier for EU member countries residents to immigrate because they do not need a visa, this means that many Brits can now travel to Europe with just a valid passport from the UK. Even with the seemingly stringent immigration policies in the UK and across the globe it is estimated that almost seven million Brits reside abroad. A large number of the British Immigrants are expatriates who work in developed and developing countries.
UK Citizens Living in EU
The EU rules on the emigration of its citizens to member countries are pretty flexible and come with benefits that include health cover and pension benefits among others. With Brexit eminent the question as to the fate of British citizens living in the EU is a very pertinent one. This question is currently being addressed through negotiations in order to ensure that those UK citizens living in the EU will not be adversely affected by Brexit.
Before getting into what the finer points of these negotiations entail we will need to understand just how many people from Britain stay in Europe and the benefits that they currently enjoy. The estimated number of British people who may be living in Europe is close to or slightly above three quarters of a million. The majority of this emigrant population is based in the following countries Germany, Netherlands, Spain and France among others.
British citizens most preferred destination to settle in Europe is Spain; statistics show that slightly more than thirty percent of the total UK emigrants in Europe can be found in Spain. Contrary to popular belief that most of those who migrate to Spain from the UK are retirees aged above sixty years. The data on the ground tells a different story with most of the emigrants being of working age between 15 to 64 years of age. Spain is still however considered as the premiere destination for UK citizens in their sunset years.
The other countries in Europe that seem to be very favorable with UK residents over the age of 65 years are Bulgaria and Portugal due to the low property rates around the Black sea. The fall in the prices of these lucrative real estate prices was occasioned by the recent financial turmoil that befell these European regions. Slovakia, France and Luxembourg are the hubs in Europe that currently favour the largest majority of UK emigrant children under the age of 15 years.
Other countries that accommodate the largest population of UK emigrants of working age are the Czech Republic and Finland. One of the main reasons why there are such high statistics of UK immigrants all over Europe is because of the ease and relative freedom of movement within the EU. Travelling through Europe is pretty easy and stress free for UK residents. There is no Visa required in order to travel to the twenty eight member countries of the EU. A valid UK passport is all you need.
For one to really get the full effect of travelling in the EU they should be familiar with the Schengen Agreement. This treaty created an area that encompasses twenty six countries in Europe with little to no border checks. Whether you are travelling through these territories for business, short trips or even a short layover you will not require a visa. Though if your stay extends for more than three months you may require a visa if you are not from a country that is a signatory to the treaty.
The UK is not a signatory to the Schengen Agreement. Brits living in Europe should always take certain precautions when making plans to travel within the EU. Their passports should always be a least valid for the next six months or so. Even though there are no borders in the Schengen areas, member countries can from time to time decide to randomly put them back up without any prior warning. For this reason it is prudent for British expatriates and travelers living in the EU to always have their passports handy when crossing from one country to another in the Schengen area.
It is important to always ensure that you understand the different rules for validity of passports for any EU country you may be passing through or visiting before you embark on your travels. These rules will normally apply to expatriates and casual tourists alike. Tourism is a very large economic activity in the EU and is one of the reasons they have adopted policies that are very friendly in easing movement across the region. A considerable chunk of their tourism kitty comes from local tourism from among EU citizens who would love to explore and enjoy the beauty and glamour that Europe has to offer.
The EU is an economic territory with twenty eight amazing countries each with its own unique national identify. Every year thousands of Brits migrate to one of these countries. What are the reasons that influence the choice of country to migrate to? Every individual who migrate to a new country is driven by personal preferences. The most popular reasons for migration include better job opportunities, better pay, better standards of living and retirement.
The most popular migration territories for a large number of Brits living in the EU include Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Spain France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Greenland, Finland and Iceland. Each of these countries has its own attraction; Austria is considered the most livable country, Spain is extremely affordable to stay in and has lots of jobs available. New Zealand is extremely friendly while Greenland is the most spacious place to live. Finland is the safest and finally Iceland is considered the champion for gender equality.
Other factors that an immigrant should consider when migrating to an EU country include pension claims, health care, inheritance law and the ease of transferring money. Having access to your funds is very important when migrating to a new country. You should always ensure that you shop around for the best way to transfer your existing funds to your new home. The technological advancements today has enabled the emergence of numerous banking options that offer much lower interest rates than the traditional banking system when it comes to international transfer of funds.
In the UK transferring money abroad using conventional banks could prove to be a very costly affair. There are lots of hidden charges attached to international bank transfers not to mention the instant fees charged and the exorbitant mark ups on the exchange rates. Once you have found a suitable platform to transfer your funds abroad you will need to find a suitable financial partner to help you manage your finances. If you are an UK expat then a global financial institution would suffice. That way you can access your funds easily across the EU.
In relation to the management of personal finances abroad ensure that you familiarize yourself with the cost of living in the country you are migrating to. The cost of living varies across the EU and if you are not adequately prepared things could get very tough for you. Understanding your tax obligations before moving abroad should also be a priority. Tax obligations will vary depending on the type of residency you hold. You may find that you have tax obligations in the UK and abroad, in such situations it is advisable to consult an expert on what kind of reliefs you may be entitled to.
When it comes to matters of health care ensure that you fully understand how the system works in the country you are migrating to. Health care schemes differ across the EU. In most countries immigrants are allowed to receive care at government managed facilities as long as they are registered in gainful employment and are eligible to pay taxes in the host country. Joining government run insurance health schemes may also be mandatory depending on the country and you will be expected to contribute towards them in order to access health care facilities.
The policy in the UK requires those who have acquired permanent residency in another EU country to deregister from the National Health Service. So ensure that you have adequately researched your health care options before migrating. On the issue of pension claims, immigrants may sometimes end up losing their annual government pension increments depending on the country they migrate to. Those who migrate to countries such as Australia may miss out on their increments while those who move to Switzerland will still enjoy their annual bonuses. Always check to see how you may be affected before deciding on which country to migrate.
Succession and inheritance laws differ in many EU countries. To be on the safe side always consult widely with legal experts before purchasing property abroad. This could end up saving you years of legal tussles or losing of your property due to complex and stringent inheritance laws. There is a lot of details to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect EU country to migrate to.
Freedom of Movement
The provision of a fluid workforce is one of the main building blocks that the EU economic block is built on. It is the base on which the tenet of freedom of movement stands on. Freedom of movement allows skilled and unskilled citizens of the EU access to jobs in any of the member states. These citizens can work freely and live in the EU with very few restrictions. They are also entitled to the welfare benefits of the states they reside and work in. These benefits were initially intended to only benefit those citizens who migrated for employment and business purposes only.
Upon meeting the employment requirements of the host nation they gained equal access to health, education and other miscellaneous benefits in equal footing with the citizens of the host country. If they had family with them, they would also enjoy the use of these facilities. The scope of freedom of movement was broadened to cater for the larger EU populous even though they were not employed or running a business. These citizens however can only enjoy limited benefits depending on the host country. Their minimal contributions to the economic growth of the host country were the basis for the rights they could access.
Those visiting another EU country for a minimum of three months and foreign students make up this broadened category. One of the major conditions is that they have to show that they are able to support themselves during the duration of their stay. Any visitor to another EU country who wishes to reside in the host country for longer than three months must acquire health insurance in addition to supporting themselves. Jobseekers from other EU states also benefited from the broadened freedom of movement. They were entitled to the same welfare support for jobless citizens in the host country. This is the only benefit they are allowed under the freedom of movement. The extent of these benefits of course varies from one country to another.
Countries such as Belgium require that the individual must have worked in the country before to access these benefits. There is a probationary period of several months in France before one can be entitled to these benefits. In the UK and Germany access to these benefits are instant as long as there is adequate proof that the individual has high prospects of landing gainful employment.
There are 26 countries in the EU that are party to the freedom of movement clause. Four countries including the UK have raised queries with the principle. They have requested for a re-examination of the rules of freedom of movement in order to make them more stringent. Their basis being that countries in the EU with superior living standards and better benefits packages are falling prey to unwanted benefactors from lesser established EU countries.
The benefits from the freedom of movement principle is however being felt in the larger EU region. There is a lower unemployment rate in the economic block since the introduction of fluid movement of work force was introduced. The GDP of member states also continues to grow because of this. Any hindrance to the freedom of movement may lead to a decline in the growth of the economic block and their overall influence globally.
For UK expats the fluid movement of workforce has led to increased employment opportunities and better rates in European countries. The promotion of peace and others core values in the EU states are a ripple effect of the freedom of movement principle. This falls in line with the intended purpose for which the tenet was originally adopted. EU countries have been seen to come together easily in times of crisis since the inception of their shared economic block which has led to the positive existence between its citizens.
A culture of tolerance and respect has been created through the amicable freedom of movement principle and has led to the mutual benefits that are currently present within EU member states economies. The newest member on the economic block is also able to adopt more efficient management systems from the more established countries through these unrestricted cultural interactions. This will help them move forward much faster as opposed to going it alone.
Post Brexit UK Immigration
Brexit is a term that was coined to refer to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU economic block. The withdrawal was necessitated after a referendum was held in the country. The UK then applied for withdrawal under article 50 of the European Union treaty. The process of arranging for the withdrawal is stipulated to take two years, which will be in March 2019. This period is to be used to draft an amicable deal between Britain and the EU member countries.
The reasons for UK’s exit from the EU included; The UK felt stifled by the EU business rules. They also felt that for the large sums in membership fees that they were paying, they were receiving little in return. The UK also had an issue with the immigration laws and wanted a more restrictive approach for people coming into their borders. It is quite clear that Brexit is inevitable but what will be the wider implications for British expats living in EU? This group of citizens has expressed their fears and to some extent feel that their concerns are being neglected.
A major concerned for most UK citizens is whether they will require a visa in order to travel to other EU countries. The British government has stated that post Brexit it intends to allow citizens from other EU countries entry without the need for a visa and hopes that the say courtesy may be accorded its citizens. Negotiations on this matter are still ongoing and a final conclusion is yet to be reached. Another thorny issue post Brexit is the fate of UK citizens living and working in the EU.
It seems that Brits living in the EU may be able to maintain their current rights and benefits through a proposed reciprocal agreement between the EU and UK. Brits residing in the EU will manage to retain these rights even if they leave the EU up to a maximum of five years. British expats on the other hand could end up facing some very tough times if the freedom of movement ceases to apply to UK citizens post Brexit. Currently these expats enjoy unrestricted travel and working rights throughout the EU with some even choosing to stay in a different country from the one they work in.
Post Brexit they may require visas in order to move through some of the EU states hence restricting their employment opportunities. Another worrying aspect for British expats living in the EU is their access to health care. Here there could be two possible scenarios post Brexit. The first one and most convenient would be an agreement to maintain the current health care benefits status quo for UK expats abroad between Britain and the EU.
The second would be a situation where your health care benefits would dependant on the EU country you reside in. This would mean that they would only manage to access health care depending on their residency status in most of the EU countries. Even in the UK access to health care is based on residency rather than factors such as tax. Retirees aged over 65 are also weary of what will become of access to health care post Brexit. Currently in countries such as Spain where the larger percentage of UK retirees living in the EU reside, they are eligible for free government health care access. The UK government takes care of their treatment bills. This status quo will be maintained until the exit but the future post Brexit is unknown.
2019 is the expected Brexit date but that may not happen if the agreement deals between the UK and the EU have not been finalized. Currently the expectations on a lot of issues including travel, access to health care, pension claims and property ownership are hypothetical. There are no concrete administrative procedures that have been put in place to ensure that will come to fruition. UK expats and citizens living abroad can only wait and hope that the final agreement will be favorable to their needs and the wider EU community. The agreements that will be drawn up will however take effect in early 2021 so in case they prove unfavorable their will be sometime to make adjustments before they come into effect.
Living in the European Union for a UK citizen has a lot of dynamics attached to it. It takes a lot of preparation and research in order to find the perfect country to migrate to. It is also clear that with Brexit eminent it may require much more for UK expats and citizens to live and work in the EU. This is because UK citizens would have changed their status to non-EU citizens. This title subject to the pending agreement between the UK government and the member states that make up the European Union could come with none of the benefits previously enjoyed by UK citizen living in the EU.
Post Brexit could herald some very tough times for Brits in the EU. Whatever the future may hold for UK citizens living in the EU certain fundamentals about living in the EU will not change. The preparation procedures for moving from the UK to the EU will stay the same. The need for carrying out proper due diligence will be a constant. Things like calculating the cost of living before migrating to an EU country will remain constant. Adhere to the pointer above if you are planning to migrate soon or are already in the process. Learn more about the most popular EU destinations for UK citizens and gauge if they could work for you.