Monday, November 1, 2010

Brits who go home. What do they find?

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The information in the item below is largely borrowed from the newspaper – The French Week of Oct 29- Nov 4 - 2010.
The paper had asked British people who had returned to the UK for their experiences about what they found when they arrived. Here are some extracts:-
‘A common problem is lack of proof of residence. Many doors do not open until one has utility bills, or other proof for the required length of time, even up to two years in some cases.’
A retired bank manager (a touch of irony here) could not easily open a bank account in England. He had kept a sterling account in Jersey but that bank would not transfer this account to England! ‘We have tried to open a normal current account with a high street bank in our home town but this was refused as we have to be on the electoral role for two years before we could be allowed a bank guarantee card.’
‘One or two financial institutions did not take lump sum investments from us unless we had a UK address for at least a year.’
It takes time to exchange the driver’s licence. ‘I did eventually manage to exchange my French driving licence back to the UK , partly as I had kept a photocopy of the old UK one with my driver number.’
Another writer says that she was not allowed to open an ISA or any other special investments because she had been living in France.
Insuring a car in the UK was also a problem. ‘None of the companies would take our French no-claims record into account’.
None of the contacts found that getting back into the NHS was a problem.
The reasons why the Britons returned were various. The lack of money because of the fall in the value of the £ was at the heart of many. The French removal of health cover in 2007 for young retirees, promoted many a move.
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These are all matters which have been raised in this blogsite. Almost certainly many infringe the ‘right of free movement’ within the European Union.
Many of us, myself included, know how easy it is to open a bank account in France. I did so myself before being resident here. It was very easy to change my driving licence to a French one, and the French accepted the no-claims record in England.
Britain should change the law to remove these hidden discriminations against British Citizens returning to live in Britain.
This blog has long campaigned for political recognition of the needs of British expatriates in Europe. That is to say, we need some kind of Minister for British European residents.
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The French Week  newspaper has unfortunately folded.  It had an excellent digest of French political and social affairs and items of interest to British residents in France. (Note added February 2011)