Brexit: acquired rights Contents

Chapter 5: The concerns of UK nationals living in other Member States

The number of UK nationals resident in the EU

50.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) explained that although the UK did not collect information on UK nationals resident overseas, UN migration statistics from 2015 estimated that there were around 1.2 million UK nationals living in the EU. The FCO explained that there was no requirement for EU citizens to register as residents in other EU countries, and that some EU countries actively discouraged EU citizens from formally registering their residency, as their EU citizenship conferred automatic entitlement to residency. As such, neither the UK nor individual Member States held accurate records of the numbers of UK nationals resident within the EU.63

The views of UK nationals living in the EU

51.The evidence we set out below was collated from views expressed by UK residents, either in person to consular officials or online via comments on FCO channels, in the following countries: Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Hungary.64

Evidence collected by Expat Citizen Rights in EU

52.Expat Citizen Rights in EU (ECREU) is “a self-help and lobby group”, whose aim is “to work to protect the best interests of UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK following the UK Referendum of 23 June 2016.”66 It has approximately 4,500 members living in 23 EU Member States, 69 per cent of whom are retired.67 Members identify the concerns that most worry them when they join on-line, from which ECREU has complied the following list, in order of priority:

ECREU commented that the fact that 31 per cent of its members were below retirement age was likely to have influenced the level of concern about employment and running a business.

53.Further comments were sent in by 388 members of ECREU, which were set out in full, country by country, in the evidence that ECREU submitted to us.69 We give below a sample of the comments from each country:


54.The anxiety of EU nationals in the UK is matched by that of UK nationals in other EU States—the evidence we received of their distress is compelling. Many are pessimistic that the life that they had planned in another EU Member State will still be possible. Residence rights, employment rights, access to health care and the capacity to finance retirements feature large among their concerns. Just as the Government is under an obligation to provide certainty to EU nationals resident in the UK, so it is under an equal moral obligation to seek to provide certainty and legal clarity to all UK nationals working, living and studying in other EU States. It should do so urgently.

63 Written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (AQR0010)

64 All the evidence in this section can be found in the written evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (AQR0010).

65 Expat Citizen Rights in EU doubted the reliability of this evidence on concerns about EHIC. See the supplementary written evidence from EHIC (AQR0014).

66 ECREU, ‘ECREU aims and objectives’: [accessed 10 November 2016]

67 Written evidence from ECREU (AQR0012)

68 Written evidence from ECREU (AQR0012)

69 Written evidence from ECREU (AQR0012)

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