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Should expats have the right to vote?

(84 Posts)
granjura Fri 01-Jul-16 12:29:37

Expats can vote in the UK for up to 15 years after their move abroad. Is that fair? Should people who have made a clear choice to live abroad, say after 5 years- have the right to vote when they will NOT have to live with the consequences of their choice?

What do you think?

All my life in the UK, I was allowed to vote in Switzerland on the 1000s of referendums (I know sp!) and elections- but I never did. A) because when you don't live in a country you can't really grasp all the implications and B/ because as said above, I would not have had to live with the consequences- as I had NO intention whatsoever of ever going back.

I voted this time as we have children and grand-children back in the UK, and intend to go back at some point in the future.

petra Fri 01-Jul-16 12:36:58

No. You have chosen to leave the country and live somewhere else.

Anniebach Fri 01-Jul-16 12:42:03

No, they chose another country over this country , they don't have to live with what their votes may bring to us

ninathenana Fri 01-Jul-16 12:44:40

My nephew is currently working in Canada but intends to return to the UK he paid £80+ to vote in the referendum.
Does this apply to ex pats in all countries ?
I do think there is a case for a time limit. If you have no intention of returning then you should forfeit your vote.

kittylester Fri 01-Jul-16 13:07:01

Good for you gj

I don't think expats should vote. A man on breakfast was saying how unfair it was that, because he had lived in Spain for more than 15 years, he couldn't vote and now his pension is worth less. My first thought was bloody cheek! Cake and eat it came to mind!

If your nephew has no intention to live in Canada long term then he should have a vote, nina. So a time limit seems reasonable.

Riverwalk Fri 01-Jul-16 13:37:38

Mrs Thatcher brought in Expat voting - she thought, rightly, that they would vote Tory in the main.

I think there should be a five year limit.

Joelsnan Fri 01-Jul-16 13:57:47

I lived overseas for 10years and although the voting limit is 15years I did not feel I had the right to vote when I was not resident. However, I knew that I would eventually return home so I did keep a keen eye on the economics and politics of the U.K.. It was interesting viewing from an external perspective.

Tizliz Fri 01-Jul-16 14:00:03

My BiL has lived in France for the past 40 years and complained bitterly that he couldn't vote in the referendum. But I don't agree, if he wants to live in France that is his choice and he doesn't know what it is like here now.

Tegan Fri 01-Jul-16 14:13:10

I think it depends on whether they are paying tax here which a lot of disgruntled ex pats do. Especially as lot of people voted in the referendum and don't pay tax. The ex pats also aren't clogging up the hospitals here.They also probably moved abroad because we were in the EU; some of them did so because they needed a milder climate.

ffinnochio Fri 01-Jul-16 14:13:59

Yes. I'm a British citizen.
Many expats live in other countries - long term or short term - for a variety of reasons.
In my case, I have an interest in the future of the uk because I have a deep love of the country and it's where my grandchild is growing up, and where many of my family live. I care what happens.

sunseeker Fri 01-Jul-16 14:29:00

If someone moves abroad and has no intention of returning to UK then I don't think they should be able to vote. I also know people who have lived in Spain for many years, have no intention of returning and were very upset they were not allowed to vote in the referendum. "I'm British so why can't I vote".

Joelsnan Fri 01-Jul-16 14:34:49

Unless you live in the country, you cannot know what is right or wrong. The view from the outside is very different from the inside. If I had heeded BBC worldwide or Sky news I would have been quite nervous repatriating as it was nearly always doom and gloom. There have been some changes to society since I left, some good, some not so good, but on the whole it is much the same as when I left and...home.

Christinefrance Fri 01-Jul-16 15:00:30

As ffinochio said most expats have children and grandchildren in the UK so we are very interested and concerned about their future. I am a British citizen and pay taxes in the UK so feel I am entitled to vote but need the facts to make an informed decision.
It becomes more difficult the longer one is away to get a view of what is actually happening rather than the 'information' we get from the media.
I think the referendum was a completely different thing from normal elections as far as expat votes go. I really don't feel informed enough to vote in ordinary elections having been in France for 10 years.

Joelsnan Fri 01-Jul-16 15:13:21

Even though I had children and grandchildren back in UK I would not have felt I had a right to vote. An analogy would be like trying to dictate my wishes on my married children's lives without understanding the true dynamics of their home. I have interest and desire for their success and happiness, but it is up to them how they live their lives and I know they would not appreciate my interference.

Welshwife Fri 01-Jul-16 15:25:03

We live in the EU and have only been here about four years and so had a vote. We return to UK at least twice a year spending quite a lot of money when we do visit. We also still pay the same amount of tax as we did when we lived in UK. We have a lot of family living in the UK and so are very interested in what is going on. We also watch some UK T.V and so are quite well aware of how things are.
As to the tax - we both have our pensions paid into UK bank accounts and pay tax at source and we have no choice in that matter. As residents of France we also pay tax here. There is what is called something like a reciprocal tax agreement which is intended to prevent people paying tax on the same money twice but it doesn't quite work like that and we pay tax on the same money in both countries.
Because we paid full NI contributions for 40 years we also get our EHIC card from Newcastle as opposed to our country of residence and can have full NHS treatment at no cost although we qualify for the Carte Vitale here and have top up health insurance
During the week before the Brexit the Euro was worth 72-75 pence now it costs 83.6 pence. I don't know what currencies they are marking sterling against but the dollar to sterling rate is still not good. As yet this change in the value of the pound has not really bit us because of the way we conduct our finances but for some people it had an immediate detrimental effect. I just hope that the pound will start to rise in value again.
We do not know what our position will be when this huge mess is sorted out and are just hoping we will still then be able to keep our heads above water
Do not think that this vote has nothing to do with Ex Pats living in the EU - it has very much to do with them and it may well be that even those who had no intention of ever going back end up on benefits in the UK.

Tegan Fri 01-Jul-16 15:29:39

That echoes a lot of interviews that we've seen on the TV recently. That's why I was surprised to hear that ex pats weren't allowed to vote.

Ana Fri 01-Jul-16 15:31:41

Only if they've lived abroad for 15 years or more.

TriciaF Fri 01-Jul-16 15:35:26

We've been in France for 15 years, and could have voted in the last general election. But there was a mixup with our application to vote, so we never did. This referendum was a different matter, much more complicated situation. I was disappointed with the result though.
We do try to keep up with what's going on there. The fact that we've lost our right to vote there doesn't bother us, I think it's justified.

granjura Fri 01-Jul-16 15:37:37

Thanks all, really interesting- so keep them coming.

At a tangent though Welshwife- I was always told that the EHIC card only gives you access to emergency treatment- and not full medical treatment in the NHS. By Law you have to de-register from your GP once you are ordinarily resident abroad too. That is certainly the case for us. Do you have any links to that effect? Are you saying you could just choose to have your knee replacement or stents, etc, done in the UK if you chose, and not where you are resident now? Not how I understand it at all. So I'd be grateful, thanks.

Tegan Fri 01-Jul-16 15:37:56

I know that.It's just that, if someone moves abroad in retirement they don't know how long they'll be there, but will have worked out their finances using certain assumptions, the main one I'd guess knowing that there would be health care provided for them.

granjura Fri 01-Jul-16 15:47:52

Just checked- so the rules changed April 2015. We therefore have 2 EHIC cards- and we are only entitled to emergency treatment in the UK, not planned treatment at all.

'But in a change to UK rules, expats who want treatment in the UK have to show a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by their new country. Until this month, former UK residents were automatically entitled to use the NHS for free if they fell ill during a visit. In practice, many expats use the NHS for planned treatment too. But now this right is being removed.'

I've just had a knee replacement here, and could NOT have chosen to have it done in the UK without paying for private treatment- and this was clearly explained to us. So do check or it could be expensive. You should have a French EHIC for emergency treatment in the UK if required.

granjura Fri 01-Jul-16 15:50:32

Tegan- we have lost over 40% of our retirement income since we arrived here- due to Sterling exchange rate- probably will drop futher due to Brexit. And if reciprocal health care agreement fall due to Brexit- then we will have to pay over £500 a month for compulsory health insurance. So yes- a massive effect. And it could result in 1000s of expats' financial circumstances changing so drastically that a return to UK would be inevitable.

tanith Fri 01-Jul-16 16:10:03

My son had a vote although he is working for the forseeable future in Gibraltar its an overseas territory, it seems really complicated how it will affect expats (is he even classed as such?) and Gibraltarians he is fairly worried about things and has put any decisions about life decisions etc on hold till things are a little clearer but that could be 2+ years away. In the mean time he is in limbo not know what the future holds for him, his son and partner.

granjura Fri 01-Jul-16 16:22:30

Gibraltar is a bit different- as you say not expat at all.

but yes, those of us abroad are all in limbo- as we just don't know what is going to happen, to the £ and therefore our pensions and pensions' value in a foreign currency- and re reciprocal agreements, mainly re health care.

I posted because of the number of expats here in Switzerland who voted OUT- and will NOT in any way, shape or form- have to endure the consequences- and now enjoy 'watching the show' from the comfort of their alpine and lake views- with their fat expat Swiss salary having just arrived in their Swiss bank accounts- and think it is all very funny, ahahah.

Hxpocritical and so unfair. It was Mrs Thatcher who gave expats the vote, safe in the knowledge most would vote Conservative.

Mamie Fri 01-Jul-16 16:22:31

I don't think you can get private health insurance GJ We tried when Sarkozy changed the rules after we had been here 18 months. It was £4000 pa and no cover for heart attack or stroke for OH because he took a tablet for hypertension. It won't cover pre-existing conditions. That led to us starting a small business and entering the French system proper, it will be ironic if that protects us from a subsequent change in the rules.
As for not understanding what it is like in the UK if you live abroad - newspapers,TV, social media, regular discussions with family and friends all over UK who work in industry, commerce, farming and central government and eight weeks a year staying here - really?