Without wanting to get into a huge debate on the pro’s and con’s of Brexit – I’ll cut right to the chase. It was idiotic. There are a number of EU rights and privileges we have as EU citizens that many either do not utilise, or simply don’t know about; one of which is the right to freely move, live and work between the 28, EU, and 4 EEA countries as well as Switzerland. Having previously exercised my EU rights as a UK citizen, and lived in Bulgaria for 6 months, here is my guide to legally moving, living and registering in another EU country.
So can you really move to any of these countries?
European Union rules state that any EU national may move freely to any of the above-mentioned countries and be treated and given the same rights as a national of the country that you are moving to, and this is the reality.
Do I need a job before I move?
You can move to any country without a job, but you are expected to get a job and not be a burden on the local benefits. To register (and get your EU card) you will need a job that pays you at least 500 Euro a month, OR you need to register as self-employed. For countries that allow easy business registration (such as Bulgaria), you can register a company, and then do whatever work you like, such as online, without having to show that you are earning X money.
If you can’t easily register a company then you will need to simply register as self-employed, with the regulations changing country by country.
What about healthcare/taxes etc?
The core EU rules state that any EU national should be treated the same as a national of the host country, so if healthcare is free there, it is free for you, if it is paid you will need to pay, and your tax rate would be the same as if you were a national.
How do I register and get an ID card?
Each country has an office for foreigners to register. If the country (such as Bulgaria) has an ID card system, you will be required to pay the same as what a local pays to get their ID card. This card can then be used in lieu of a passport to travel to other EU countries in the Shenghen zone.
Can I bring my non-EU family members to live with me?
Want to hear something truly dumb? If a UK national wants to bring their Filipino wife and child to the UK, you would need to have a job paying 24k (Sterling a year), and go through very stringent often refused UK rules. BUT if you are a French national bringing your Indian wife and child to the UK, you follow EU rules and merely have to have a job paying 500 Euro per month to qualify. Stupid eh!
Alas (for now) if you are a UK national bringing your non-EU wife to Europe, you are free to move under the 500 Euro month rules with said partner (there is no 500 rule if you are self-employed), or open your own company for example.
If you do want to eventually move to the UK this can be done after your partner has their EU residency (after 3 months), due to the Surinder Singh precedent.
I can only speak English, what jobs can I do?
Even if you have no language skills there are English teaching gigs throughout Eastern Europe, or bar gigs in Spain, or Greece, volunteer programs everywhere, resorts, the lot. The EU literally is your oyster.
I’m from the UK, what happens after March 2019?
We really don’t know…..