Worried about UK’s EU Referendum? Register to vote if you can!

Across Europe many British citizens living outside the UK have been left feeling very unsettled by the recent national lurch towards a possible EU exit. After reading the Guardian article linked to below, shouldn’t you be thinking about how to make your voice heard?

Whether or not the 15-year-limit is removed before the EU referendum, many British citizens out of the estimated 1 – 2 million or so resident within other EU member states, will still have retained the right to vote and should make sure that they can exercise it by registering to vote on www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The Guardian newpaper has spoken to British citizens in five European countries [Sweden, Spain, Italy, France & Germany] about action they are taking to ensure Euroscepticism doesn’t ruin their lives:


“I don’t want to get stuck in a no man’s land,” Macfarlane says. “What happens to my business? I have worked very hard to build it up. What happens to my right to live here?”

“No one seems to know. He was told by local civil servants that nobody had any clarity because Sweden would have to take decisions after the vote. “It’s a crazy situation,” Macfarlane says.”


“We’re all a bit unsure,” says Martin Wilson, from Warrington and now living in the Costa del Sol town of Nerja with his family. “The thought of going back to the UK is just not possible. I mean financially it would be difficult,” he says, pointing to the rise in housing costs in the UK. He and his family moved to Spain in 2004, learning the language and immersing themselves in the culture.”


“There is a massive question mark: if the UK leaves the EU, then what? It could get nasty. It could be that people take silly tit-for-tat actions,” says Paul. “I can’t see the Italians saying: ‘Get out’. But they could say: ‘You have a year to get out.’ To remove the question mark, we have to get an Italian passport.”


“I don’t think people in Britain understand the consequences of pulling out of Europe. People think if it happens it will all be OK and, ‘Oh well, we’ll forge a new future for our country,’ and I really strongly believe it won’t be OK.”

“I’ve been out of the UK for 19 years now and people I know and respect, people who are friends, cousins … people are saying things I would not have heard them say 20 years ago. The language now is openly quite xenophobic. And the thing is, it’s not just Daily Mail readers.”


“Would we be able to retain our British citizenship? If we’re forced into a situation where we’re no longer able to operate in Germany because we need work and residency permits, will we be able to make a claim for compensation? It’s a ridiculous situation to be in,” Scott says. “Everything is so conjectural and it’s far from clear that the outcome will be positive.”


This entry was posted in All EU.Res. Expat Brits in EU.Ref., Discouraging EU Referendum Defeat, EU Ref Question - Lord Lexden 6 July 2015, EU Ref Votes for Life Response, EU Ref. & Votes for Life Bills, EU Ref. excluded British Expats React, EU Ref: Overseas Electors - Counter Arguments, Euro Weekly: Expat EU Referendum Concerns, Harry Shindler Presses PM., Harry Shindler: Why Stiil 15 yr limit for EU Referendum?, Voting Rights, Worried about EU Referendum? and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Worried about UK’s EU Referendum? Register to vote if you can!

  1. michael cushing says:

    Doubt if any existing UK nationals working in another EU country would be affected – the same goes for reciprical cases EU nationals in UK . The only reason DC wants get out clauses on signed up for issues is so he can ditch UK nationals abroad ( human rights , EU equality etc )

  2. michael cushing says:

    The only reason one would find it difficult living in an EU country after a Brexit ( which won’t happen cos it would need a vote/ Act in Westminster after the referendum result ) is the same as pre 1993 open borders – each EU state had its own immigrant rules / requirements – proof of medical cover , proof of income / funds etc in order to get a résidents permit ( else you was an illegal ) issues that do infact exist today (but with an EU passport one has automatic right to reside / work ) . The main loss to UK nationals would be pension rights and Medical cover ( S1?)
    just like UK nationals living outside EU .

    • John B says:

      Not quite. Post Brexit, assuming that the UK doesn’t agree a special regime with the EU, UK nationals living abroad would not only have their pension and medical rights affected, but would face having to apply for work and residence permits, just like any non-EU national. Some countries impose quotas for such permits in certain sectors.

      Furthermore, there would be no more mutual recognition of qualifications, meaning that those people who are required by law to have a particular qualification to carry out their activity would have to apply for their UK qualifications to be recognised. Worse is the situation of professionals such as lawyers and accountants with UK qualifications who would lose their right to practice in the EU.

      It would also become permissible for the host EU country to exclude/limit UK nationals from social benefits, including free education and medical care.

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