Hundreds of thousands of elderly Britons living in Europe may be forced to return to the UK unless the government guarantees that their healthcare will continue to be reimbursed by the NHS, campaigners for British people settled in Spain and France have warned.
The House of Commons Brexit select committee was told on Wednesday that an unintended consequence of Brexit could be a surge in immigration of British migrants both working and retired.
Groups campaigning for the rights of Britons settled in Europe told the committee that many pensioners in countries such as Spain and France would not be able to afford private health insurance if the current system was jettisoned post-Brexit.
“They may have no alternative but to come back,” said Sue Wilson, one of the founders of the Remain in Spain group.
The committee was also told there could be an exodus of professionals whose right to practice law, medicine or other disciplines would no longer be recognised if a deal was not done. They heard that in Italy alone 383 professions were legally recognised.
When the UK pulls out of Europe that legal entitlement falls aways, said Gareth Horsfall, representing Britons in Italy. “It’s not just a right to stay; it’s also a recognition [of professional entitlements],” he said.
They were speaking a day after Theresa May declared she had sought to seal an early deal guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the rights of Britons in Europe. She said “many countries” had supported this, but “one or two countries” had not.
Retired Britons in receipt of a British pension and their dependents can access medical treatment for free in countries such as Spain, France and Germany, with the cost reimbursed by the UK government. (full story The Guardian)
1. Are there any UK support groups like also Expat Citizen Rights in EU (Ecreu) active in Greece?
2. Are UK pensioners living here willing to return?
3. Is the healthcare issue a reason for return to UK?
Feed back will be very appreciated