British expat pensioners are not packing their bags and fleeing home from Europe over Brexit concerns, according to official data.
Nor are more retired people heading for the sun in a bid to settle in the EU before tougher border and residence controls fall into place.
The information was gleaned by the Office of National Statistics from government data revealing the number of expats receiving the state pension in the EU.
The statistics show 274,000 British expats paid the state pension live in the EU, and that 85,000 EU nationals aged over 65 years old have a home in the UK. The figures exclude Ireland, which is an EU member state.
Around 120,000 live in Spain and 70,000 in France, with between 30,000 and 40,000 mainly in Germany, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Sweden and the rest in other EU states.
Pensioners are not moving to Spain
The ONS explained it is wrong to suggest that more British state pensioners are moving to Spain, which has been reported in the media.
“Although 121,000 older Brits live in Spain, more than double the number 10 years ago. The number of people in this age group moving to Spain has not gone up significantly since 2008, so the recent increase is likely to be due to people who have lived there for many years getting older,” said an ONS spokesman.
“Italy is the country whose older citizens living in the UK most outnumber the older people from Britain living there. There have historically been relatively high levels of migration from Italy, especially in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and most people who moved to the UK in those years are now aged 65 and over.
“The older people from Poland who live in the UK, significantly outnumbering the number of older Brits living in Poland, are mainly long-term residents rather than more recent migrants.”
It’s a trend, not a rush
The data also rubbishes claims that British pensioners are coming home due to Brexit.
“Some media reports have claimed that British pensioners are “rushing to settle in EU countries ahead of Brexit”, while others report pensioners considering returning to the UK because of the falling value of the pound and uncertainty over their rights after the UK leaves the EU. In fact, the number of state pension recipients living in other EU countries has risen steadily over the last five years, continuing a long-term trend,” said the spokesman.