UK expat dream could be over post-Brexit as moving to Spain now nothing but a ‘pipe dream’

Brexit 'has no advantages' says Sylvie Bermann

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Pensioners are said to be worried about new post-Brexit rules resulting in them losing their state pension rights and access to healthcare if they move abroad this year. This is despite the Government announcing in January that anyone moving to the EU or Switzerland after the UK officially cut ties with the bloc would still get their British state pension as normal. But recently there have been changes to the way weekly pension payments are calculated for those planning to take the plunge and move abroad later this year.

This means that all expats who relocate to EU nations, who have previously lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand, will be affected as they could receive lower pensions.

Andrew Tully of Canada Life, a pension provider, told The Telegraph: “The pandemic and the hangover from Brexit has quelled the appetite for many who harboured desires to retire abroad, certainly in the short term.”

He also urged people to also check whether living in another country or getting a visa abroad could affect their tax status.

It comes after there were 1,900 less British retirees living in EU countries at the start of this year, figures from the Department for Work and Pensions revealed.

The number in 2017 was at 475,000, but it has since dropped by around 8,000 to 466,920 this year.

Kathy Randle, 59, from Redditch, in north-east Worcestershire, was planning to retire to Marbella on the south coast of Spain.

However, she admitted the new post-Brexit rules made her feel “uneasy” about moving.

She said: “I love the warmer climate and it would have been the perfect way to live out the end of our days.

“You talk to people who have done it in the past and hear about their lifestyle, and you want the same.

“But now Brexit has made that so much harder.”

She added she was concerned the rules might change again in the future, which meant there was a “fear of the unknown”.

Ms Randle said: “There is a niggling uncertainty and moving to Spain has become a pipe dream now – especially because my husband was not completely sold on the idea in the first place.”

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Nick Dalby, from Doncaster, had also planned to move to France with his partner last year.

The 60-year-old had bought a property in a village near Limoges but the deal fell through when border restrictions during lockdown meant they could not fly over.

This also meant they were unable to get residency before the Brexit deadline on December 31, 2020.

Mr Dalby said: “We had it all planned and we should have moved by now.

“It’s much harder since January, as freedom of movement to the European Union is gone and it feels like moving anywhere else in the world.”

Meanwhile, Phil Hamlani also faced a struggle to pay off a mortgage on a retirement property he bought in Cyprus.

He was hit with a roadblock after discovering some banks in European countries have changed lending terms for British citizens since Brexit.

Mr Hamlani and his wife Melanie, who are from South Shields, were told earlier this year that they would have to pay the final instalment in 2025.

He said: “The idea was to spend as much time as we wanted out there when we retire, but we might have to sell it now.

“We have always talked about retiring abroad and still hope to but there’s a lot more to it now.

“We need to get more clarity on our rights and find out if we are going to be in a position to do that financially.

“All European countries’ rules are changing and it’s still up in the air at the moment.”

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