what fate for European expatriates after January 1st?

FOCUS – Europeans who wish to emigrate across the Channel after January 1 will be subject to a new immigration system with points. Explanations.

Should I stay or should I go? On June 23, 2016, the British people went to the polls to decide whether or not they wanted their country to leave the European Union. Four years later, after endless twists and turns and heated negotiations, the United Kingdom and the Europe of the Twenty-Seven finally agreed on December 24 on a post-Brexit agreement.

This long-awaited and long-awaited trade agreement also marks the start of a new, stricter immigration policy for European nationals arriving across the Channel from January 1, 2021. “The level of ambition in terms of citizen mobility is not in line with our historical links», Regretted Michel Barnier, the European negotiator on Brexit during his press conference with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

After forty-five years of citizens getting used to moving around freely, divorce is proving painful. And the British wanting to settle in one of the countries of the Old Continent are also not spared. Explanations.

A point system for European expats

In the United Kingdom, more than 4.2 million European citizens had applied for resident status at the end of October 2020. Among them in particular, nearly 155,000 French, 775,000 Poles and 670,000 Romanians. Decided under former Prime Minister Theresa May, the system in place since March 2019 offered on the one hand, a temporary resident status, – the pre-settled status -, on the other hand, permanent resident status, – the settled status-. The first concerned expatriates who had settled in the country for less than five years and granted a right of residence for five years in the territory. It comes with the obligation to stay at least six months per year in the United Kingdom. The second was aimed at those who have been living in the country for more than five years.

Once the sponsor of a company in your pocket, you will have to obtain a minimum of 70 points to qualify for the precious visa

The rights of these European nationals settled in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey) before December 31, 2020 are then protected. Those who have not yet submitted their request for free still have until June 30, 2021 to remedy it.

For their part, Europeans who wish to emigrate across the Channel after January 1, 2021 will be subject to a stricter immigration policy, designed by the government of Boris Johnson. They will be subject to a new points-based immigration system, in which age, mastery of Shakespeare’s language, level of education and financial resources will be taken into account to obtain a visa, valid for five years. In particular, the future expatriate will have to bear the administrative costs, ranging between 668 to 1391 euros.

From now on, before being able to emigrate to the United Kingdom to work, the nationals will have to find upstream a job at a level of skills considered appropriate. Once the sponsor of a company in his pocket, it will be necessary to obtain a minimum of 70 points to claim the precious sesame. Designed to favor qualified European workers, the new selection thresholds require nationals to prove a minimum income of 25,600 pounds per year (28,400 euros). A salary lower than the national median salary. However, exceptions will apply in certain sectors. For example, health and education professionals can still get 20 extra points if they earn more than £ 20,480 per year.

In addition, the Minister of the Interior Priti Patel recalled at the beginning of December that the government had put in place an accelerated visa procedure for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Overall, the government intends to award points to would-be immigrants working in sectors where there is a labor shortage in the UK.

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Britons subject to the same constraints as third-country nationals

The Britons domiciled in the Old continent before the end of 2020 will also retain their rights, in accordance with the withdrawal agreement reached at the end of 2019. More than 1.3 million Britons currently reside in the EU. Since the announcement of Brexit, British naturalization applications in France have increased tenfold. In total, more than 11,000 naturalizations have been validated in four years. And nearly 50,000 applications for a residence permit were registered during the fourth quarter of 2020.

For their part, British nationals who want to settle in an EU country after January 1, 2021 will be subject to the same constraints (income conditions, language requirements, or even health insurance) as other third-country nationals. Britons will only be allowed to stay in a European country without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in any six month period. In France, citizens will thus have to obtain a “residence permit », Which will be valid for at least five years. In recent years, France, Spain and Germany have been the preferred destinations for the British to work or retire.

Differences between EU countries for business travel

Finally, the issue of border controls for business travel remained one of the areas of contention between the British and the Twenty-Seven in recent months. Finally, like the nations say “favored», Europeans will be free to travel to the UK without a visa, to attend a meeting, a conference or participate in vocational training.

For a remunerated mission or service, a specific visa or work permit may be required from the British, depending on the legislation in force in the EU country concerned.


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