Louloulapomme: Musings From Across The Great Divide

Hi everyone. I have been very quiet of late but time has come to put pen to paper. As an immigrant in France, I’d like to talk about the implications that Brexit will/may have on us.

I am not an ex-pat (I am patriotic, but we chose to live in another country because we could) but an immigrant, which may be an alien word to some.  We are not stereotypical sun seeking, loud guffawing Brits who wanted a party life on a southern Spanish resort but (I like to think) had a sense of adventure and wanted a change of lifestyle before and after retirement.

Some of the many reasons we chose to live in France 11.5 years ago were:

  • More house and land for our budget
  • Relaxing way of life
  • Ease of visiting the UK and family/friends
  • Better weather but still have seasons (ok so this year has been the exception!)
  • Originally a cheaper cost of living but falling pound and exchange rates has reversed that
  • Ease of exploring the rest Europe by car
  • Learning French
  • Integrate into the local way of life
  • Exceptional health care system (at the moment, reciprocal)
  • Reduced stress, noise, traffic and people
  • Eating by the seasons on locally sourced produce
  • Cheaper wine…

The list is pretty endless but these are some of the obvious points.


How might we be affected by Brexit?

The following are all on the basis that if we leave without an agreement or even a hard Brexit:

  • We would lose our healthcare rights (not yet guaranteed for British immigrants in France) as we are in the equivalent of the French NHS but pay an insurance top up to cover any shortfalls.
  • We would lose more of our pensions, which have already been reduced considerably each month since we arrived due to exchange rates. The predictions for the pound are dire.
  • Loss of insurance based pension due to financial passporting rights being halted. So will not be able to receive that pension at all because we live in France.
  • Requirement for international driving licence when we return to the UK.
  • Border control chaos.
  • We would need an expensive visa to continue to live here.
  • Unable to use our UK credit cards and unable to access our UK bank accounts.
  • We will be unable to visit other countries in Europe freely.
  • Increased flight costs to and from UK.
  • End of pet passport scheme and return to quarantine for animals crossing into the UK.
  • And in total extremism, if we don’t meet the requirements France may implement, we may be asked to leave.

And so it goes on…

While I realise the above concerns are due to scaremongering, often instigated by bad journalism in the UK tabloids, these possible outcomes are genuinely worrying.

Many British people who have made France their home are, understandably, scared. Interestingly enough, the statistics of the approximate 150,000 British people who live here, (400,000 French live in London) only 20% are pensioners. The rest work for a living, either their own businesses or employed by French companies. They may lose their jobs. Families may be divided as some have children born here and have the right to a French passport, a British woman married to a Frenchman may have to leave, similar to stories in the UK of EU/British couples.

I’m sure some of you may be thinking, “Well hard luck, you shouldn’t have moved there in the first place, stop whinging”.  I don’t have many regrets in my life, including moving to France. I have loved every moment here and I am so, so sad that the vote to leave the EU has caused rifts in families, chaos and weakness in the UK government and huge uncertainly for many in both the UK and France. To me, the UK government is making the country a laughing stock because of joining a club, not liking the rules, wanting to change them and now throwing their toys out of the pram because they can’t get what they want.  Rule Britannia…

If you would like to read more of Louloulapomme’s posts about living in France, click here