For many, the idea of retiring (or moving) to France is an idyllic dream, with warmer weather, beaches and countryside, delicious local food and wine and only a stone’s throw away from family in the UK. So there’s no “big sell” required for British ex-pats considering the move.
However, our Senior Client Director at Strabens Hall France, alerts us to the fact that there are many more financial incentives– some of which could be removed from the 1st January 2021. Joanne Leach discusses here some of the most important areas for planning your move to France now, before the effects of Brexit kick in.
Currently UK citizens resident in or moving to Europe before the end this year (2020), have and will retain the following benefits. Please note that this is also relevant to UK citizens currently resident in Europe moving to another country within Europe:
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)- this gives you three months of health care when you arrive
- S1 – this form is for UK retirees and gives you subsidised health care as well as potential relief from French social charges.
- Social security co-ordination – normally you have to contribute to a state’s social system for 10 years before becoming eligible for a state pension. With the social security co-ordination you can work in France contributing to their state social security and it will count towards the 10 years required.
- Residency permit. You can live in France and have until 1July 2021 to apply for a residency permit.
- Economically inactive people; this refers to people who have retired early or are retired and for whatever reason can’t have an S1. Currently they are asked to show that they have a minimum income and medical cover. The minimum income is the equivalent of unemployment benefit or state pension in that country. We haven’t seen this tested strictly but now with the necessity to apply for the residency permit we are seeing these checks now taking place.
Joanne tells us:
“At the moment we don’t know what the situation will be after 31 December 2020, but based upon other civilised third countries and their agreement with the EU a worst-case scenario for those moving to France or UK citizens currently resident in Europe moving to another European country after the withdrawal agreement, could be the following: · EHIC will no longer be valid. · S1 will not apply and subsequently no relief from social charges on pension or investment income.
- UK state pension will be frozen no increases.
- Social security co-ordination could stop.
- Residency permit – you may have to apply for a visa in advance of arriving in France.
- If you’re economically inactive your minimum income requirement will potentially change to the relevant state’s national minimum wage in France this is 18,470EUR.”
If you are considering emigrating to France from the UK and would like support in arranging your financial affairs before the year is out, contact Joanne directly here. We are offering a free initial 45 minutes consultation either by face to face meetings with social distancing, or via video link or phone.