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Bitesize Guide 

Update following the General Election

We are mostly reeling in shock.


Here is our update for Friday the 13th of December 2019.

The election news has come as an unpleasant shock to many British citizens living in France. RIFT shares these feelings and we mourn the imminent loss of our EU citizenship.

With respect to citizens' rights for those who are already resident before any cut off date (probably end of 2020), we face an improved situation compared to October 2019. Previously, current residents were facing a "no-deal" scenario and having to rely on the French Decree and now we are probably looking at the Withdrawal Agreement being agreed. This should secure many of our rights in an international treaty for the rest of our lives. Some of our rights are likely to be retained and some rights will probably be lost - more details follow.

With the election news, we are most likely looking at the Withdrawal Agreement being ratified at the beginning of 2020 but there is no guarantee - yet. In terms of citizens’ rights there are two main scenarios, deal or no-deal. We will continue to refer to the deal as the Withdrawal Agreement. Trade was only ever an add on for future discussions with no details agreed. The Withdrawal Agreement can and probably will be agreed and implemented with no trade agreement nailed down. For a no-deal scenario, the French Government has put in place emergency legislation (in the form of an enabling law, an ordinance and a decree).

In case of a deal - Withdrawal Agreement

We need to look again at the Withdrawal Agreement as that’s the most likely scenario. Here it is! All 599 pages of it :D

Let’s look at a few of the Citizens’ Rights details…

Transition Period

All UK citizens in the EU (and EU in the UK) keep their current rights except for voting and standing in local and EU elections until the agreed date which may be extended. You will probably not be able to vote or stand in the upcoming local elections.

Some of what the agreement would guarantee

If you are ‘legally resident’ on transition day (31 December 2020?) you will be covered by the agreement. This gives all those thinking of moving a little more time to plan. Legal residence will be the same EU rules as now - basically, it’s adequate income and health cover in your first 5 years of résidence. After 5 years you will be eligible for permanent residence and those arriving before the transition day can make up their 5 years after. Once you have got permanent residence you keep this for life (unless you leave for more than 5 years)

Work - some qualifications will still be recognised and frontier workers may continue working as before.

State pensions would be uprated the same as UK residents

Aggregation of Social Security contributions (pensions) will continue

Your S1 would be honoured and very probably your EHIC would remain valid in the UK

Your immediate family can come and join you (except spouses married after transition although EU law on this could be of help)

Some of what the agreement excludes

Ongoing freedom of movement :(

Certain qualifications :(

Loss of the Surinder Singh route for return to the UK with a TCN spouse - although that was always hard to have agreed in the UK :(

Providing cross border services for the self-employed - possibly :(

Fees for studies in the UK after 7 years - possibly

Basic banking freedoms lost - possibly


You will be required to have a residence document and I wouldn’t expect this to have worse terms than the one proposed in the decree - the CdRLD for those with 5+ years. Let’s hope too that legal residence during any transition will have the same income levels as those in the decree or better still no income limits as the EU in the UK enjoy. We don’t want to see Aspa levels for over 65s! This document will be free and family applications will be allowed. It’s likely that France will use an online system based on the one they have already prepared.

​RIFT will continue to fight for our freedom of movement and more!

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