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The December election Part 2: voting tactically to secure a remainer majority and safeguard our rights

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You don't need us to tell you that the election on 12 December really is the Big One: our future rights, as British citizens who've exercised our free movement rights to live in France, depend on its outcome. It doesn't come more critical than that. So in the two articles in this series we've gathered together everything that you need to know about whether you can vote, how to vote, and how to decide who to vote for.

The first article covered the practicals to do with voting - how to register, how to vote, how to become involved even if you can't vote and so on.

In this second article we look at what the different outcomes of the election could mean for our future rights and how best to use that information to make an informed choice about who to vote for in your constituency.




What might the different outcomes mean for our future rights?Conservative majority
Many of the moderates have stood down, which means the party's makeup will have changed and its MPs will …

The December election Part 1: the nuts and bolts of registration and voting for Brits in France

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You don't need us to tell you that the election on 12 December really is the Big One: our future rights, as British citizens who've exercised our free movement rights to live in France, depend on its outcome. It doesn't come more critical than that. So in the two articles in this series we've gathered together everything that you need to know about whether you can vote, how to vote, and how to decide who to vote for.

In this first article we cover the practicals to do with voting - how to register, how to vote, how to become involved even if you can't vote and so on. A second article will look at what the different outcomes of the election could mean for our future rights and how best to use that information to make an informed choice about who to vote for in your constituency.




Can I vote? As a UK citizen resident abroad, you can register online to vote in UK parliamentary elections if you meet all three of these conditions:

you are 18 years of age or over;you left …

S1 cover in France in a no deal Brexit - fact or fudge?

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With the recent media interest in S1 health care cover in a no deal scenario, and some conflicting info running in various places about how it might or might not affect us here in France, we thought it was time for a bit of a reality check.

While we’d love to be able simply to reassure you and say that there will be no change at all from the present, we don’t think it’s necessarily as simple as that. There is no question that everyone currently holding an S1 will continue to receive health care under the French system - that's a given, so please don't worry about that - it's more about the conditions of receiving that health care - the small print, if you like.




The UK government / embassy’s view ... and our view Here’s what the embassy has to say: Healthcare after Brexit. Taken at face value, it’s rather reassuring ... but although we believe that France does have our interests at heart here, in our view there are some gaps that are either not addressed at all, or somewha…

S1 based health cover after Brexit - an update, and getting beyond the confusion and misunderstanding

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The UK government's statement yesterday (read about it in yesterday's news update, here: https://www.francerights.info/2019/09/new-uk-government-contingency-plans-on.html) guaranteeing that as a fall back measure it would reimburse the health care costs for S1 holders for just 6 months after a no deal Brexit certainly caused a furore - as of course it should do.




I had at least 200 responses to my call for stories and testimonies from those who would be affected, and every single one was heartbreaking. A sample of these testimonies were taken to a meeting that British in Europe had yesterday afternoon with the Foreign Office minister Chris Pincher, who said that he found them 'genuinely helpful': you can read more about that meeting here: https://britishineurope.org/2019/09/24/bie-meets-chris-pincher/. My call for testimonies was also picked up by The Local, which ran an article on it today - you can read that here: https://www.thelocal.fr/20190924/pensioners-in-france-…

New UK government contingency plans on reciprocal health care - reassurance, or smoke and mirrors?

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Early this morning the UK government put out a press statement outlining its latest contingency plans on the reciprocal health care system - otherwise known as the S1 scheme. You may have heard Matt Hancock on the Today programme (we didn't, as this article was written before his interview!).

A quick reminder of what the S1 scheme is before we go any further: those with state pension and some disability benefits living in the EU have their health care funded by the UK rather than the country they live in, as do some posted workers and students. The same applies to, say, a retired French person living in the UK with a French pension, who will have her health care costs funded by France. The S1 is the name of the form used to certify those rights (it used to be called the E121).




So what does this latest government statement say?  In a nutshell it says this: that for 6 months after a no deal Brexit the UK Government will reimburse the healthcare costs (or pay providers directly where…

Coming back into France for resident Brits after a no deal exit

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This is a question that is coming up at lot at the moment so I thought it would be a good time to post about the situation, why there may be a potential issue, and what you may need to do about it.  Although if there's a no deal exit there will automatically be a grace period of 12 months for those who were legally resident before Brexit, this is NOT the same kind of grace period as the transition period of the Withdrawal Agreement. The no deal grace period only relates to residents, whereas the WA transition period relates to everyone. So that means there would immediately have to be a way for border control to differentiate those already legally resident from those who aren't.


If you currently hold a carte de séjour For those who currently hold an EU CdS: we're verifying whether the Schengen database will be updated to include these cards and whether the machines will be able to read the chips. If you're travelling outside Schengen after a no deal Brexit you MUST ca…

So who is Surinder Singh anyway? Returning to the UK with your non-British family member

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If you've been following British in Europe's advocacy campaigns over the last two and a half years, you'll almost certainly have come across the term 'Surinder Singh rights' - perhaps you've wondered what they are. As the UK government published some amendments to its immigration rules on Monday afternoon (here's the link for the truly masochistic amongst you), which included amendments to these rights after Brexit, it seems like a good time to have a look at what this is all about, as many British people living in France and in other EU countries will be affected by it.

Who should read this article? The information in this article relates to you if you are a British citizen and you live in France or another EU state with a spouse, partner or close family member who is not British (either EU or non-EU). You will be affected by these changes if at any point in the future you want or need to move back to the UK with your family member(s).



Free movement rights…

Legal residence, a long extension, and a reality check

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As the UK approaches a 6 month Brexit extension, and in view of some of the issues being discussed and publicised on social and other media at the moment, we felt that it's time for a bit of a reality check on what it means to be able to live here in France legally, perhaps especially for those who've arrived recently, but in fact for everyone.



We've said all this before, of course, but it's time perhaps once again to dispel some received ideas that are not only plain wrong, but can put your right to stay here in jeopardy if you don't understand them. There is much more detail about all of this on the Remain in France Together website so if any of this comes as a surprise to you, please take some time to read through the links given below. This is important stuff that could mean the difference between being able to stay in France and having to leave the country.

This probably sounds rather hardline, but I make no apologies for that. We're here to do everything …

No deal - the decree and the nitty gritty of your citizens' rights in France for those with LESS than 5 years residence

As you'll all know if you've been following our previous articles, France has been publishing its 'no deal' citizens' rights plans in stages: first the main enabling legislation, then the ordonnance which put most of the flesh on the bones, and finally - this morning - the decree which does the final polishing and tells us more about both the process and the conditions that we'll have to meet to get our new status.

This is the second of two articles looking at the decree and what it means - yesterday's article covered those with more than 5 years residence in France. In this article we'll look specifically at what the decree says and what it means for people with less than 5 years residence. It's important to read it alongside the original article covering the ordonnance for those in this situation. You'll find that article here: https://remaininfrance.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-rights-for-british-in-france-if_9.html.

The provisions in this articl…

No deal - the decree and the nitty gritty of your citizens' rights in France for those with more than 5 years residence

As you'll all know if you've been following our previous articles, France has been publishing its 'no deal' citizens' rights plans in stages: first the main enabling legislation, then the ordonnance which put most of the flesh on the bones, and finally - this morning - the decree which does the final polishing and tells us more about both the process and the conditions that we'll have to meet to get our new status.

In this article we'll look specifically at what the decree says and what it means for people with more than 5 years residence. It's important to read it alongside the original articles covering the ordonnance and the long term residence directive. You'll find those two articles here:

https://remaininfrance.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-rights-for-british-in-france-if_92.html
https://remaininfrance.blogspot.com/2019/02/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know.html

A second article will cover the situation of those with less than 5 years residence.





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Citizens in waiting ... again. What's the score after the votes this week?

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We've just lived through one of the most momentous and extraordinary weeks imaginable in the UK Parliament, with plotlines, twists and turns right out of a Hilary Mantel novel. As we catch our breath, lick our wounds and reflect on what's happened, it's time to have a look at where it may all leave us in terms of our citizens' rights.



I have to say here that like you we don't have a crystal ball, and with opinions, loyalties and political relationships changing all the time a number of things could happen. But the legislative process means that we do have some idea of what those things are - and what they're not.

We know that MPs have voted on and passed two motions: one that seeks to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal, and another mandating the government to seek an extension to the Article 50 date until 30 June 2019 if the deal has been agreed by Parliament by 20 March.

However, just because these motions have been passed doesn't necessarily mea…