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'Without freedom of movement we'll lose half our income'

'Without freedom of movement we'll lose half our income'
Copyright HELEN
Copyright HELEN
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
Published on Updated
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For our Brits in Europe series, Euronews interviewed Helen Mallburn who lives permanently in France but travels regularly for her work. She said that without freedom of movement, she will lose half of her income.


British government plans to end freedom of movement in case of a no-deal Brexit have alarmed many outside the UK.

UK nationals living in EU countries will most likely have to get residency permits, arrange for healthcare and driving permits for the countries they live in.

Euronews set out to find out how UK nationals living in EU countries felt about the announcement and how it would impact their daily lives.

Read more: UK citizens living in the EU 'very worried' about end of free movement in case of no-deal Brexit


Helen Mallaburn has lived permanently in the French Alps with her partner for 11 years. She works as a caterer during the winter months in France and during the summer she travels to other EU countries for work, so freedom of movement is important for her work as she needs to cross-borders and be able to work legally in other countries of the union.

Helen told Euronews that things have been pretty difficult ever since the referendum results were announced.

"We’ve been pretty uncertain of what’s happening, what we need to do, what our future is going to hold," she said. "We have applied for the carte de sejour, which is the registration system in France to be able to stay."

"We have been given a temporary card rather than a permanent card, which seems to have been an error. But they don’t seem to want to rectify it at the moment so we’re struggling with that, trying to get that changed."

She is also applying for French citizenship, which takes a long time to obtain — but it's not guaranteed she will get it.

"We still haven’t had our appointment yet to submit our dossier (immigration forms) and from that point, it probably takes another two years after that and it’s still not guaranteed that we would get it," she said.

Helen who suffers from several chronic order immune diseases said the whole process "has been quite stressful" and has had "quite the impact" on her health.

But the most stressful thing for Helen and her partner is not knowing whether they will be able to stay in their home in case of a no-deal Brexit.

"France has said that they will look after the Brits living here but it is reciprocal on what the British government puts in place for the EU citizens so with the announcement that we’ve just had from Priti Patel it’s not gone down very well over here," she said.

"If France decides to reciprocate and be harsh then we’re completely at their mercy and we have no support or backup."

Helen added that for her business, losing the freedom of movement will be dreadful.


"Our summer work isn’t in France, so that’s pretty much half of our income would be lost straight away.

"As soon as freedom of movement ends we lose half of our income."

Asked what message she would like to pass on to leaders negotiating Brexit, Helen said the entire thing had "gone far enough".

"It’s become obvious that it’s not workable. Whichever deal we take, whether we take a deal or no deal is worse than what we have now."


"Why are we still persisting with pushing something through that’s going to damage not only our economy but people’s lives? Why are we not putting a stop to this?"

Read more: 'I'll have to choose between my parents or my husband'

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