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British nationals safe until end 2020 in case of no-deal Brexit
In the case of a no-deal Brexit, British citizens living in Belgium who do not have Belgian nationality can count on their residency permits staying the same until the end of 2020. Approximately 27,000 British citizens live in Belgium.
Belgium made the decision to ensure that British citizens would not be uprooted and that they and their employers had time to take measures should they want to stay in the country. This is in the case of a no-deal Brexit. If a deal is struck between the UK and the EU by 29 March, then whatever the deal includes will be the case for all EU countries.
The announcement was made in response to an EU request that member states take ‘emergency measures’ with regards to British nationals in the case of no-deal. The Commission asked that states consider the rights of British citizens in four areas: taxation, work permits, social security and professional qualifications.
The agreement that Belgium signed onto is reciprocal: Belgian citizens will also be allowed to live in the UK on current permits until 31 December 2020. There are some 25,000 Belgians living in the UK.
Belgium’s municipalities are receiving an average 90 applications a month from British citizens seeking nationality. The average number before the 2016 referendum was nine per month. Since the referendum, 2,689 Brits have been approved for Belgian citizenship.