Most British expats want to stay in EU: Poll

British expats are set to vote overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU with nearly three quarters in support of the ‘Stay’ campaign, according to new research.

Just 20 per cent of British expats ar e currently in favour of leaving the EU, with 7 per cent unsure how they would vote, new research conducted by an expat website on 2,800 of its users revealed.

The results show that the majority (84 per cent) of ‘Stay’ voters believe that staying in the EU will be economically better for the UK. Even if the UK did leave the EU, 73 per cent of this group of expats believe the UK will still have to comply with lots of rules in order to trade with Europe.

The majority (70 per cent) also feel the UK will be taken more seriously by the rest of the world as part of the EU. More than two thirds think that the UK’s national security will be better served by being part of the EU.

The main benefit for the ‘Leave’ voters was the belief that leaving the EU will free the UK from the interference of Brussels bureaucrats (80 per cent). Despite President Obama’s recent and widely reported “back of the queue” comment, 71 per cent think leaving the EU will allow the UK to negotiate better relationships with other economies.

A similar proportion (68 per cent) believes that leaving the EU will be economically better for the UK. Less than a third of those voting to leave think that it will enable the UK to have a second negotiation and secure a better deal with the EU.

The research shows that living abroad has hardened the views on this issue on both sides. The majority agree that living abroad has affected their view of how they should vote, claiming that they are now more inclined to vote their chosen way as a result of having lived outside the UK.

Particular expat referendum concerns focus on potential changes in the healthcare and pensions provisions, that come with being a member of the EU, for example whether the state pension provisions will be ‘frozen’. Visa concerns and the potential to need to apply for residency were also considerations, as were reductions in income if the exchange rate lowered. Such are the uncertainties that many expats feel they will have to leave their country of residence and return to the UK if it left the EU.

Article by David Fuller