Brexit Testimonies

11 February 2019
Croatia

Nigel in Croatia

"I feel completely abandoned. UK MPs refuse to answer my emails, including the MP where I last lived, because I am not a constituent. Yet although non-domiciled I am still and always will be a UK taxpayer. "

I retired from a 33-year public sector career in the UK at the start of the century and moved to Spain to work for a few years before being recruited for government work in the Far East. With a second retirement approaching, I started to look where I would move next and after considerable research and visits to a number of countries, I chose Croatia. The Balkan country was about to join the EU, has high quality services, is safe and was chosen over other possible retirement locations, because like the UK it was a member of the EU.

Moving in 2014 I obtained my temporary residency, valid for 5 years, without a problem, meeting the various earnings, good character and other requirements. In Croatia home, land and even vehicle ownership is tied to being a "legal resident". It is made very hard for non-EU citizens to meet the requirements to obtain residency.

Then came the referendum, in which I was unable to vote because of the length I had been overseas. Ever since there has been a complete information void. With between 490 and 900 permanent, legal UK residents in Croatia, (depending whether you use UN or UK figures) it is a tiny number, in a small country at the extreme eastern edge of Europe. The British Embassy in Zagreb say they are not here to help expats, their job is promoting British business and interests.

I feel completely abandoned. UK MPs refuse to answer my emails, including the MP where I last lived, because I am not a constituent. Yet although non-domiciled I am still and always will be a UK taxpayer. I have a UK Government pension, which will always be taxed in the UK. There is a little known tax regulation that prohibits former government employees moving pension tax provision overseas. Another example of the government making sure they always get their money! So I am taxed, but without representation.

With EU countries saying they will wait and see how the UK treats their citizens, before announcing how the UK in Europe will be dealt with just causes more worry and upset. I have no idea whether I will be able to make my temporary residency permanent, will be allowed to remain, to keep my property, or will be forced to return to the UK. It is a very worrying time.

Earlier testimony
Sophie in Brussels
Related content

I will never again feel I truly belong in Europe, despite the overwhelming kindness and sympathy of European friends.

Read Lesley's Brexit testimony.