Your update on the potential effects of the UK/EU Referendum on expats

An Out vote at the EU Referendum could mean considerable changes for all expats: consider the potential implications and find out how it may affect you

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The effect of the upcoming EU Referendum is top of the list of most expats’ dinner conversations these days; quite understandably. It’s worth bearing in mind that there are an estimated one million British expats unable to vote in UK general elections because they have lived abroad for more than 15 years. Many would have loved the opportunity to vote and no doubt found it galling that so few of their eligible compatriots took the trouble to do so. With the recent change in government and proposed new legislation, there is now fresh hope for these Britons to have their say. The Votes for Life Bill would allow Britons living overseas to vote in general elections regardless of how long they’ve lived away from their home country.
 
With the 15 year rule scrapped, many more British expats would be allowed to vote in future general elections although the government has so far indicated that this change will not apply to the forthcoming EU Referendum.
 
If the new Bill succeeds, it may of course also have an impact on the results of the European Union Referendum, due to take place before the end of 2017. With the 15 year rule scrapped, many more British expats would be allowed to vote in future general elections although the government has so far indicated that this change will not apply to the forthcoming EU Referendum. All the same, campaigners are hopeful that, should the legislation become a reality, the government might have a change of heart about expats affected by the 15-year rule, voting in the referendum too.
 
Consider this, though: if British expats decide to turn their backs on the voting process, they won’t be able to help affect the outcome of future UK elections. As far as the Votes for Life Bill is concerned, there is a good chance that it will be passed in time for the next big political milestone.
 
It is also worth noting that the results of the EU referendum could have a huge impact on the lives of British expats living in Europe, so if the opportunity to vote should ever arise, they should grab it. It’s an entitlement we should all have.
 
Another thought is whether Britain would have the infrastructure to welcome expats back if Britain were voted out of the EU?
 
It seems that many expats appear to be on the side of the Vote UK out of EU campaign. For many expats, the feeling is that a vote to leave the EU would mean reclaiming the Britain that they miss from the old days, in many cases, quite a few decades ago. 
 
Another thought is whether Britain would have the infrastructure to welcome expats back if Britain were voted out of the EU? For many expats, the thought that they may one day be able to move back to the UK is an important one; if Britain were not in the EU, this may not be a practical proposition for many people with property prices as they are, the exchange rate, and the changes that would inevitably come within the NHS – although none of us really know what these would be yet.
 
Meanwhile, the debate continues, and we will keep you informed of current thoughts and developments as they take place.

Further reading for Living In France

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Healthcare

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