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Posting for traffic - the rights of British citizens in EU countries.

(44 Posts)
HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 12:55:34

Hi everyone,

I hope you don't mind but I'm posting for traffic here. I've just got a question about the rights of British citizens in EU countries after Brexit is finally put into place.

I read a Guardian article this morning, which explains that British citizens in EU countries will be in a worse position than EU citizens in Britain when Britain leaves the European Union.

The article is here:

I would really like to move to France (sooner rather than later, if possible). My (very loose) plan is that if I do move to France, I would stay there for 5 years at least. I would then apply for dual citizenship of France and Britain. I feel that dual citizenship would give me a decent amount of rights in both the UK and France.

I understand that British citizens living in other EU countries have not applied for citizenship in their countries of residence for lots of different reasons.

However, my question is: won't living in an EU country and then applying for dual citizenship (which would keeping British citizenship and acquiring the citizenship of an EU country) be very helpful in the coming years?

user1493022461 Thu 11-May-17 13:04:49

Yes, but who's to say you will be allowed to stay for 5 years, or that you will be allowed to apply for citizenship then? Or that you will be allowed to have dual citizenship.
These are rights you have now, in the EU. There is no reason to assume you will keep any of those rights.

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 13:20:21

That's true, user - it's precisely this feeling of uncertainty that I'm so frustrated with. Almost a year on from the referendum vote, we still haven't come any closer to deciding on the future of EU citizens in the U.K. and British citizens in the EU.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's British and currently living in another EU country (particularly France or Belgium, if possible). Are you thinking of applying for dual citizenship or citizenship of the EU country that you've moved to?

doradoo Thu 11-May-17 13:24:13

We're in Germany and have been since 2008.

We're in the middle of applying for dual citizenship- which under German rules we can only have because the U.K. Is still in the EU. If it weren't, we'd have to choose between them.

We've been here long enough - to be allowed to apply 8yrs - and hope to have it sorted in the next couple of months.

We're doing it purely to keep our options open as no one knows what will happen post Brexit and what our rights would be living and working here then. For us the major issue was not if we could carry on here, but if we had to relocate for DHs job, could we then come back again?

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 13:29:04

Thanks doradoo - hope everything goes well for you and your family! smile

I'm looking at moving to France, where you need to have lived for a minimum of 5 years before applying for citizenship. Personally, I think it's best for me to move to France sooner rather than later, as I don't think we'll formally leave the EU within the next 5 years. Am I being totally crazy to think this though? I just feel so worried and uncertain at the moment.

user1493022461 Thu 11-May-17 13:35:57

The UK will have formally left the EU in less than 2 years. It's already in motion.

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Thu 11-May-17 13:40:03

Well, there may be a transitional deal for a period after 2019. But who knows? Another reason to move to France and getting citizenship sooner rather than later is the possibility of the FN winning the 2022 election. You'd have to move now, though, to beat that possibility.

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 13:57:40

Lord that's another very good reason to consider moving sooner than later - very true.

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 14:06:13

Thanks everyone for your help so far smile I really appreciate it.

I don't want this to seem at all as if I've really changed my mind, but I'm now seriously wondering (with everything that previous posters have mentioned) whether it's worth me even considering moving to France now?

I'd originally planned that if I left to move to France this year, I could apply for citizenship in 2022. I had also unfortunately assumed (probably quite naively) that, during the next few years, negotiations between EU member states and Britain regarding the rights of their citizens would still be ongoing and perhaps even relatively flexible still.

However, if at some point during the next five years, other EU countries (such as France) decide not to give citizenship to British citizens for whatever reason, or British citizens are no longer allowed dual citizenship of Britain and an EU country, then I may be left in a few years' time with much fewer rights than I have now.


DavidPuddy Thu 11-May-17 14:13:07

WWID? I would base my decision on if I wanted to move to France, or not.

scaryteacher Thu 11-May-17 14:18:22

We've been in Belgium since 2006 (dh from 2004). We will not be applying for Belgian citizenship, and will be returning the UK in 2019 when Dh's contract ends.

ExplodedCloud Thu 11-May-17 14:22:12

I reckon you'll get thrown under a bus rights wise if it helps secure some kind of a deal. It's going to be messy.
What would happen if you had to come back?

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 14:31:06

Exploded that's exactly what's putting me off. I don't know if moving to France now in the hope of trying to get citizenship is worth the risk.

user1493022461 Thu 11-May-17 14:32:48

If you really want to do it, then do, but have a plan B. And don't assume anything at all, because no-one knows what will happen. If anyone says they do, they're lying to you.

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 14:38:10

user thanks so much for your advice, that's a really good point.

Yep, I definitely have my heart set on it. I think a good way of working around any issues that might come up would be to have a decent backup plan. It's reassured me to think that I can still move there for a couple of years and then see what happens. Thanks!

Justanothernameonthepage Thu 11-May-17 14:38:32

Another option is to look at other EU countries that allow you to apply for citizenship without having lived there for 5 years (do you have any Irish grandparents? Are you Jewish?) Then you could still move to France, but as a EU member. Then you'd still have rights

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 14:53:55

Justanother that's a really good point too, thank you. Unfortunately, I don't qualify for any of the categories you've mentioned.

Mistigri Thu 11-May-17 14:57:00

As a UK citizen living in the EU I can understand the concerns of my fellow Britons, but that article misses the target for m, as the people it refers to are among the privileged who will qualify for local citizenship as long as they have integrated and speak the local language.

The people who are in trouble over this are retirees and those with less than 5 years (10 years in Spain) on the clock. And the teenage children of those people, who are likely to face issues as they enter higher education that they cannot do anything to mitigate: often naturalisation procedures are not available to under 18s.

Mistigri Thu 11-May-17 15:02:50

FWIW OP it seems to me that the EU has put its citizens' rights above all else in the negotiations. That includes you if you move to France before 2019.

The risk is not that you get thrown under the bus by the negotiating partners: the EU's position on this has been declared in advance and is crystal clear. The real risk is that negotiations break down completely because May refuses to guarantee EU citizens' rights in the UK.

Personally, I would be prepared to take the risk of moving to France if it's feasible and if you speak the language. (France is a difficult country to live in if you don't speak French - and if bureaucracy increases post 2019, good language skills will be extremely useful. You have to pass a language test to receive permanent residency, and a harder one for citizenship). If not - consider Ireland perhaps?

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 15:21:31

Mistigri thanks so much for your posts.

I'd like to move to France in particular because I have a degree in French (and Spanish). I lived and worked in France during my gap year and my year abroad at university. I really miss not being in France, although I have to say that I do hear quite a lot of French on a daily basis, as I'm living in London at the moment, so that's quite nice.

On a complete side-note, although I have continued to use French every day since graduation in some form or other, I also think that experience of living and working in France (or any EU country), along with a very good knowledge of an EU language, will be more and more attractive to British employers who need staff who are proficient in EU languages over the years to come.

Mistigri Thu 11-May-17 15:28:26

Re recruitment, definitely. My employers' graduate programme prioritises science graduates with two languages.

If your situation permits, you should consider moving. It won't be the EU that prevents you from remaining in Europe - their position is that all EU citizens exercising FoM must have their rights maintained indefinitely and this of course includes Britons in the EU. It is the UK government that is back-pedalling on this.

LordRothermereBlackshirtCunt Thu 11-May-17 15:31:38

It sounds like you're pretty employable, OP. If you were to get a job in France and things did go badly in negotiations, presumably the most likely​ outcome is that your employer would help you to get the necessary work visa?

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 16:18:45

Thanks Lord smile That's interesting about the possibility of getting hold of a work visa through an employer in France in the future. That sounds really promising.

Babypassport Thu 11-May-17 16:42:12

I have lived in France for 6 years and am just starting the process of applying for citizenship. It's been quite turbulent recently, between Brexit and Le Pen, but I'm feeling hopeful now that it'll all turn out okay.

You sound really keen to live here so just go for it! How would you feel if you decided to stay in the UK just in case France didn't work out, only to realise in five years from now that you would have had enough time?

As for the article, I think I'm missing something crucial or its just not a story. Basically they're saying that after Brexit they would be allowed to stay in Germany or whichever country they live in - which frankly is the main thing - but wouldn't be allowed to travel elsewhere in Europe. No British people would be able to do it, thanks to the storm of muppets who voted to leave the EU, and being an expat doesn't give anyone extra whining rights.

HelloPossums Thu 11-May-17 17:29:34

Thanks Babypassport - you've hit the nail on the head there when you ask how I'd feel if I stayed in the UK and didn't try to make a go of moving to France. I know I'd massively regret not trying to move to France, at least, and I would really love to have a go just to say that I've tried.

I think what's stopping me from even making a go of moving to France is my job circumstances. I'm a fairly recent graduate (2015) and I'm looking for entry-level jobs in the U.K. right now. I would like to apply for similar jobs in France as well because, if I do move to France, I would like to have a job with relatively good career progression. I would rather aim for that than to be in a position where I find work in France but I'm working in a job that doesn't 'lead anywhere', if you see what I mean.

If anyone might have any advice about job-hunting in France (especially in Paris) for graduates looking for entry-level work, I'd be really interested to hear from you please smile

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