Brexit: Reciprocal Rights for EU-Resident Expat Brits and UK-Resident EU Citizens.

  • The current response from the European Commission does not foresee any negotiation of reciprocal agreements protecting the rights of EU citizens already legally resident within the UK, and those for expat Brits similarly living and working within other EU member states, prior to the triggering of Article 50 which will initiate the process of Britain leaving the EU.
  • In advance of such uncertainty, therefore, some expat Brits e.g. such as Betty Chatterjee below, are already taking the opportunity to apply for joint citizenship where they are currently EU resident.
  •  MPs should also take due note concerning the seriousness of the potential expat vote, when the British government’s  “Votes for Life” bill comes for debate before them, when she adds:
    “In the meantime my interest in British politics has been sharpened. I have joined the Lib Dems and given the chance, would most certainly vote in British elections.”
  • Betty Chatterjee in the latest comment on our Sign-up poll says:

    “I have lived in Denmark since 1972. Until the law was changed last year making it possible to have joint citizenship, it did not occur to me to apply for Danish citizenship. I was happy with my status as an expat Brit in Denmark. After all Britain and Denmark are both member states of the EU and I have a very strong sense of European identity.”

    “Just after Brexit I send in my application for Danish citizenship and I hope it is granted before Britain finally leaves the EU.”

    “In the meantime my interest in British politics has been sharpened. I have joined the Lib Dems and given the chance, would most certainly vote in British elections.”

Posted in 15-Year-Limit After EU Referendum, 15-year-rule badly affects expat Brits., Brexit: Reciprocal Rights for UK & EU Citizens, Expat Brit deprived of his EU Ref. Vote | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

15-Year-Rule badly affects Expat Brits, particularly those impacted by EU Referendum Result.

Let’s hope that the British government is not so diverted by Brexit that its planned  “Votes for Life” bill, which will remove the 15-year-limit on our voting rights, fails to become law within the 5-year term of the current parliament which ends in 2020.

As Richard Scivier comments below, “the 15-year time limit rule  we have in the UK has badly affected those working overseas and in the EU – these people are most affected by the results of the EU referendum.”

Richard Scivier  comments on our Sign-Up poll:

I am now retired and living in the UK, having returned to the UK in 2008. I am however in contact with former colleagues in the countries where I have worked as an English teacher (France, Spain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia). Some who are married to overseas spouses are seriously considering taking up citizenship of their spouses and children.

The 15-year time limit rule we have in the UK has badly affected those working overseas and in the EU – these people are most affected by the results of the EU referendum. The present government says it is considering removing the time limit rule, but that is too late for the last referendum and the results unless there is a second EU referendum.

Countries like Spain and France do not have the time limit rule for their citizens and can vote wherever they are living. Indeed France has a deputy for all French citizens living in Northern Europe, which means mostly the UK!

Posted in 15-year-rule badly affects expat Brits., Brexit Problem for Ex-Serviceman, Expat Brit deprived of his EU Ref. Vote, Expat Brits Forced Home?, Voting Rights | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Brexit Problem for a British Expatriate & Ex-Serviceman

  • This comment recently posted on our sign-up poll , sums up the impact of the 15-year-rule  on a British expatriate & ex-serviceman, particularly the Brexit consequences of  the EU referendum in which he had no say but has to live with the consequences.

    Another good reason why the UK government must ensure that its policy document “A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas“, results in  implementation of  its manifesto commitment to introduce “votes for life” within the term of this parliament.

     William Ould  (9th November, 2016)

    I served in HM Forces for 33 years after which I was discharged locally in Germany in 1996 and have remained here with my German born wife, our daughters and grand children ever since.

    All my working life I have been a British Tax Payer and still am today through my forces pension.

    I vote in local and European elections and find it absolutely disgusting that I am not allowed to vote in the country of my birth and to which I pay taxes.

    I was not able to vote in the referendum (I did ask), I would have voted to remain, and now I find my livelihood endangered due to the fall of the Pound and eventually loss of my status as an EU resident.

    I have no wish to become an immigrant nor change my Nationality, or have to request a visa to visit my homeland.

Posted in Brexit Problem for Ex-Serviceman, Voting Rights | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Worst feature of EU Referendum for British Expat!

Extracted from an article “The EU Referendum Decision” by Robin Baker, a British expat living in Paris:

“However for me, and I must confess that as an expatriate I am biased in this respect, the worst feature of the referendum was the fact that expatriates of more than 15 years standing were denied the vote.”

“The Conservative Party had promised expatriates votes for life and the Government had over a year to prepare and table legislation to correct this injustice. Alternatively, the referendum could have been delayed until they were ready.”

“The new minister, Chris Skidmore, was appointed Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office on 17 July 2016. His Policy Statement announcing details of the intended Votes for Life Bill was made at the Conservatives Abroad conference on 6 October, i.e. less than three months later.”

“This timing can only mean either that Skidmore achieved within less than three months what it was impossible to do between the general election on 7th May 2015 and the referendum on 23rd June 2016, or that the paper was already prepared and ready before his appointment, i.e. before the referendum, but not released.”

Either way I now have no doubt that the failure to table the Votes for Life Bill prior to the referendum was deliberate in order to help the Brexit side win.”

Posted in EU Ref: Supreme Court Challenge, Expats in High Court Challenge 16 March 2016, Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Voting Rights | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

British Government Commitment on Expats’ “Vote for Life”.

Published today in The Telegraph (Thursday 6th October, 2016):

“The Government is to announce on Friday that it will scrap the 15-year limit after which more than three million Britons living overseas lose their right to vote.”

“Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we now need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation.

“Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.”

Here’s the link (with thanks to Dominic McGrath) to the related government overseas elector policy statement

Posted in Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Gov Commitment on Vote for Life, Harry Shindler Presses PM., LibDems Support Votes for All British Expats, Votes for Expats-The Times 28 April 2016 | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

British Expats’ “Right to Vote” in 2020 General Election

Quoting from an article in The Times of 24th September, 2016

Expats will be given a vote in the 2020 general election :

“Millions more Britons living abroad will be entitled to vote in the next general election after Theresa May committed to changing the law before 2020.”

“Harry Shindler, a Second World War veteran [and campaigner for expat voting rights] ……said that he received the assurances in a letter from Downing Street dated September 19.”

“The letter from an assistant private secretary to Mrs May said: “Plans to remove the 15-year time limit on overseas voting rights were set out in the government’s election manifesto in May 2015.”

“This will be delivered by means of a government bill once policy details have been finalised.”

“The government said that it was making steady progress on the issue.”

Note: The article is a bit out of date with its figure of 20,000 for the actual number of expats registered to vote, when over 113,000 were registered for the 2015 general election and considerably more (final figures awaited from the Electoral Commission) for the EU Referendum in June of this year.





Posted in Expats Right to Vote in 2020, Harry Shindler Presses PM., Harry Shindler vs UK, LibDems Call for Expat Vote, Manifesto 2015 Commitment, Voting Rights | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The aftermath of the Brexit vote – the verdict from a derided expert

In his last post as Director of LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, John Van Reenen gives his verdict on the Brexit campaigns, the media, politicians, and being a derided expert.

“The referendum was won on a drumbeat of anti-foreigner sentiment. It’s the same tune being played by demagogues in every corner of the globe. It’s the same tune that was played in the 1930s. It’s the same old beat that rises in volume when people are afraid. In the UK, it’s echoed by a rabidly right-wing press and unchallenged by a flaccid establishment media. Mixed by a band of unscrupulous liars and political zealots, it has become a tsunami of bile that has downed and drowned a once great nation. The only question is which other countries will now be swept along in this poisonous flood.”

Posted in Brexit 3. - Sovereignty, Brexit 4 - Rude Awakening, Brexit Verdict of Derided Expert, Brexit- 1. The Great Mistake, Red Tape No Reason to Leave EU | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Reflections on Brexit – 4. The Rude Awakening!

Following the EU Referendum vote in favour of “Leave” and in the fourth of his Brexit articles – Reflections on Brexit 4 – The rude awakening – British expatriate Michael Carberry writes:

“What could have caused such a debacle?”

“Cameron ignored the golden rule about referendums i.e. that one should only ever give the voters a choice between an outcome which the government wants and has planned for, or the status quo.”

“To allow voters to reject the status quo with no clear alternative, leaving them open to the blandishments of a motley assortment of ultra-nationalists, racists, xenophobes, and self-interest groups with no responsibility for delivering on the wild promises they were making, was not simply foolish but appallingly irresponsible”

“It turned what was supposed to be a referendum on EU membership into a vote of confidence in David Cameron’s government.”

You can find his complete series of four articles below:

Reflections on Brexit 4 – The rude awakening

Reflexions on Brexit – 3. A Question of Sovereignty

Reflections on Brexit 2 The Great Delusion

Reflections on Brexit – 1. The Great Mistake


Posted in 15-Year-Limit After EU Referendum, Brexit 3. - Sovereignty, Brexit 4 - Rude Awakening, Brexit- 1. The Great Mistake, Brexit: 2. The Great Delusion, Expat Brit deprived of his EU Ref. Vote | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The 15-year-limit on Overseas Voting Rights – following the EU Referendum.

Brian Cave, a lead campaigner in our “Votes for expat Brits” team, has received from the Cabinet Office the response below (to read the file it’s better to save and then rotate view) to his recent enquiry on overseas voting rights (following the EU Referendum).

TO2016473 – Brian Cave – overseas voting rights

It is note worthy from this that the government still has plans to remove the 15-year-limit on overseas voting rights, as set out in their manifesto for this parliament in May 2015.

In addition, it is recognised that UK citizens living in the EU, and citizens from other Member States living in the UK, get a range of rights from UK membership of the EU including access to healthcare, and that all these rights will have to be covered in a successor arrangement.

Overseas Voting Rights

Historically there has been rather a low voting turnout (20,000 – 30,000) from the estimated 5 –  6 million British citizens resident abroad, even assuming that around half could be excluded by the 15-year-limit.

Therefore, the total number of British expatriate citizens actually registered and voting e.g. in the recent EU Referendum, will be an important measure of overseas voter interest in and support for,  the above manifesto commitment of the government to introduce a “Votes for Life” bill.

It is encouraging then that an estimated 200,000 – 300,000 overseas voters (over twice the number for the 2015 General Election) were registered for this Referendum; the final figures will be available from the Electoral Commission once it has collected the relevant statistics from the Local Electoral Officers for its overall report later in the year.

EU Referendum – Brexit Analysis

For those interested in an analysis of the final Brexit vote in favour of “leave”, a round-up of research on Britain’s EU Referendum by Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics at the University of Kent, can be found here.

His overall conclusion is that:

“In the shadow of the 2016 referendum stands one basic assertion that few would contest: Britain is now more divided than ever”

Posted in +5 million British Expats Abroad, 15-Year-Limit After EU Referendum, 2015 Overseas Voters Deadline, Brexit 3. - Sovereignty, Brexit- 1. The Great Mistake, Brexit: 2. The Great Delusion, Electoral Commission, Expat Brit deprived of his EU Ref. Vote, Red Tape No Reason to Leave EU, Voting Rights | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Concerns of a British Expat Deprived of his Right to Vote in the EU Referendum.

This latest comment just received on our voting rights (sign-up) poll sums up the concerns of a lot of expat Brits, deprived of their right to vote and to make a difference in the recent EU Referendum:

Sean Sullivan – 4 hours ago

Because of the systematic de-industrialisation of the UK throughout my adult life I have found it necessary to be living and working abroad since the early 90s. I’m rapidly approaching the end of my useful working life without any significant pension to fall back on.

My exit plan had been to see out my later years in a much more affordable EU and take short contract jobs under the freedom of movement in the EU. Thanks to Brexit my plans have been blown sky high, and our future looks very bleak indeed!

We are now hoping for Parliament to end this madness. Sadly, as I’m in Qatar, I am not in a position to start applying for citizenship of one of the remaining EU countries.

I was incensed that I was deprived of my vote in the referendum, only a 600,000 vote swing would have secured our continued membership, a near certainty if expats were allowed to vote?

Posted in Expat Brit deprived of his EU Ref. Vote | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments