Expats are concerned about how a Brexit vote to leave the European Union would impact on their Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and state pensions, according to a new survey.
Thousands of expats have switched their UK pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) and fear a Brexit would lead to a shake-up of personal pension rules which might hit their plans for retirement.
Expats are also worried that their state pensions may be frozen if Britain leaves the EU.
State pension rules allow payments to expats to rise in line with those paid in Britain if the country where the expat lives has a reciprocal agreement with the UK. All EU countries have this agreement, but what will happen in the event of a Brexit is unclear.
These pension points are part of a wider survey by international expat community Angloinfo.
Expats to vote ‘remain’
Overall 73% will vote to remain, 20% to leave and 7% have not made a decision, the research revealed.
The study found 84% of British expats will vote to remain in the Brexit referendum because they feel Britain gains economically from EU membership.
Three quarters of the remain voters argued that Britain would still have to meet rules and quotas imposed by the EU to continuing trading in the single market if the vote was to leave.
And 70% also agreed with US President Barack Obama that Britain could continue to play a leading role in world politics as an EU member, while two thirds think national security would be better if the UK remained in Europe.
Forgotten voters wield influence
Angloinfo chief operating officer James Jackson said: “This report shows how much expats are invested in the result of the Brexit vote.
“They are often forgotten by politicians in the UK, but are keen to have their say in the poll and campaigners would be wise to consider how much influence they could wield on referendum day.”
Expats told the survey the main reasons they would vote ‘leave’ were because the EU has too much influence over the UK (80%), that outside the EU, the UK could have better trade relationships with other countries (71%) and that Britain would gain economically (68%).