What Expats In Portugal Need To Know About Brexit
If you’re currently an expat residing in Portugal, you’re probably wondering what you need to know to secure residence benefits, currency flexibility and avoid higher taxation on UK assets and pensions when Brexit takes full effect?
Although we’re still unsure as to what the UK’s new relationship with the EU is going to be, we do have a bit more clarity around Brexit now, at least until the end of the transition period on the 31st December 2020.
So, if you’re an expat in Portugal here’s what might change in 2021 and what you can do to prepare in advance.
Residency and benefits
UK Nationals that are already lawfully settled in Portugal before the end of the transition period will be able to lock in a lifetime of citizen’s rights under the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.
This will mean that your access to healthcare, social security, education and employment opportunities will be protected for the entire time that you are a resident of the country.
What you will need to do to ensure that you secure these benefits is to convert your residency papers to the new documents that will become available at the time. The Withdrawal Agreement that is in place will cover you until 30th June 2012 but it’s advised that you register for the new documents as soon as you can to make sure that you are protected.
If you are not currently residing in Portugal but plan to move there after the 31st December 2020 then there will be new residence requirements that will most likely be much stricter than the current ones.
Brexit should not affect the pensions of any UK nationals that are already established in the EU before the end of 2020. You’ll be able to continue receiving yearly cost-of-living increases, at least until the transition period is over. Once the UK Government doesn’t need to abide by EU rules any more things could change as there will be more freedom for them to recoup taxes from expat pensions.
With all the turmoil going on the sterling has experienced unpredictability and although it’s calmed down recently, it’s likely to vary again.
In this case, it’s advised that any expatriates living in Portugal hold some savings in euros to minimize exchange rate risk. But if you are intending to return to the UK at some point then you should also keep savings in sterling.
If you’re looking to invest, a top tip is to explore investment structures that allow you to hold investments in more than one currency and let you convert when it suits you.
None of this is set in stone and things are likely to change and become clearer throughout the transition period.