British Expats Could Ensure the UK Remains in the EU

British Expats Could Ensure the UK Remains in the EU

14/06/2016 0 Di puntoacapo

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brexitBritish Expats Could Ensure the UK Remains in the EU

Near­ly two thirds of eli­gi­ble British expats will vote for the UK to remain in the EU at this mon­th’s EU Ref­er­en­dum, accord­ing to a sur­vey by Experts for Expats.

The sur­vey which asked British expats around the world about their vot­ing behav­iour found that 63% would vote to remain in the EU, while 12% remained unde­cid­ed and only 25% would sup­port Brex­it.

Robert Hal­lums, founder of Experts for Expats, believes the expat vote could yet prove cru­cial “Despite many expats being unable to vote, with the ref­er­en­dum too close to call, hun­dreds of thou­sands of British expats could yet cast the decid­ing vote — and they over­whelm­ing­ly want the UK remain in the EU.”

“The lack of plan­ning from the Gov­ern­ment which would under­pin any exit strat­e­gy is absent, cre­at­ing a vac­u­um which has sub­se­quent­ly been filled with guess­work and uncer­tain­ty.”

The EU Ref­er­en­dum on June 23rd is like­ly to have a major impact on expats due to cur­ren­cy fluc­tu­a­tions, uncer­tain­ty over the UK econ­o­my and in the longer term, tax and visa require­ments.

With a shame­less bat­tle being fought in the UK, it’s vital not to dis­count the role that British expats could yet have on the out­come, even though up to a third of expats no longer have the vote due to the 15-year rule.

Key influ­ences on vot­ing behav­iour

79% of British expats do not believe there are enough facts being pre­sent­ed dur­ing the var­i­ous debates ‑of those look­ing to vote leave, only 29% believe they have enough fac­tu­al infor­ma­tion to make an informed deci­sion.

Key to the out­come will be the abil­i­ty of either side to per­suade those who remain unde­cid­ed about which way to vote. For the unde­cid­ed British expats, their deci­sion will be based on their under­stand­ing of the ben­e­fits that being a mem­ber of the EU brings.

When asked to score the pri­ma­ry fac­tors which could influ­ence their deci­sion, expats rat­ed the ben­e­fits of EU mem­ber­ship as the most impor­tant fac­tor with an aver­age score of 8.5 out of 10. They also felt that trade agree­ments were equal­ly impor­tant.

The finan­cial impact of EU mem­ber­ship was seen as least impor­tant with mem­ber­ship fees only scor­ing 6.4 and cur­ren­cy fluc­tu­a­tions scor­ing 7 out of 10.

British expats “silenced”

Accord­ing to Robert Hal­lums the cru­cial expat vote has been swept under the car­pet. “The deci­sion whether the UK should remain in the EU or Brex­it will impact British expats liv­ing in the EU more than any­one else.”

“It’s incred­i­ble that the Con­ser­v­a­tive Gov­ern­ment has not only back-tracked on their promise to abol­ish the 15-year rule, but they are also silenc­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of vot­ers who could be cru­cial in deter­min­ing the out­come of the EU Ref­er­en­dum.”

“If David Cameron was seri­ous about want­i­ng to remain, the fact that they con­tin­ue to turn their backs on tax pay­ing British expats is inex­plic­a­ble.”

Expats who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the sur­vey agreed.

Anne, a British Expat liv­ing in France, said “I’m a British cit­i­zen but have no ‘right’ to vote for the sim­ple rea­son that I have been liv­ing in France for over 15 years! But there’s no prob­lem when it comes to pay­ing tax­es in both France & the UK!”

Har­ry, also in France, is deeply con­cerned about the impact of Brex­it, “It is a very wor­ry­ing time for us not know­ing what is going to hap­pen, which leads me to an anal­o­gy of a pot­holer faced with enter­ing a pot­hole he knows well, albeit there are some haz­ards along the way, OR enter­ing an undis­cov­ered pot­hole and find­ing all man­ner of haz­ards, get­ting stuck, and not being able to get out again!!”

James, an expat in Sin­ga­pore, is dis­ap­point­ed how both sides are run­ning the cam­paign, and despite want­i­ng to remain, does not like the idea of sup­port­ing Cameron, “I am pro stay­ing in. How­ev­er, the ref­er­en­dum will be based on per­son­al­i­ties and noth­ing to do with the ques­tions asked. By this I mean we have con­stant­ly seen Cameron scare­mon­ger­ing, rather than stat­ing pre­cise facts.”

Anoth­er expat liv­ing in Ger­many, Elis­a­beth, has also been shocked by the cam­paigns, espe­cial­ly inter­views by Boris John­son who she believes is “play­ing to the mass­es and anti-Ger­man press” and also likened him to Don­ald Trump.

While it’s hard­ly a sur­prise that British expats would seek to remain in the EU, their col­lec­tive voice should not be under­es­ti­mat­ed. In most cas­es they not only pay tax in the UK, but have con­tributed for many years to the UK, a coun­try which has made every effort to silence their voice.

And yet, with the result of the ref­er­en­dum too close to call, hun­dreds of thou­sands of vot­ing expats could yet have the final say on the out­come of the EU Ref­er­en­dum lat­er this month.

About Experts for Expats Ltd

Experts for Expats is an online resource designed for expats, under­pinned by a net­work of inde­pen­dent experts pro­vid­ing impar­tial advice enabling peo­ple to make qual­i­fied deci­sions about their lives abroad.

Experts for Expats

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