A large majority of expats are set to vote in favour of staying in the EU in the upcoming referendum, according to research by Angloinfo. It found that 71 per cent are set to vote to stay in the EU and just 23 per cent will vote to leave. Only 6 per cent are still undecided.
Despite there being more days of campaigning by both sides of the Brexit debate, hearts and minds haven’t changed for expats with voting intentions remaining the same since the last poll conducted in April.
More than a third (37 per cent) of expats feel no-one has properly explained the pros and cons of remaining in the EU, a view echoed by many of those living in the UK. This perhaps explains why opinions haven’t shifted over the past month.
With an estimated 4.5 million – 5.5 million British expats living abroad, this audience could have a significant impact on the referendum outcome.
The poll of more than 4,500 expats shows that the major driving factor for the ‘stay’ voters is the economic benefit. 84 per cent of expats believe the UK will be economically better off being part of the EU. 74 per cent believe that the UK would have to comply with extra trade rules if it left the EU but still wanted to trade with its members.
Global status is a factor for expats too as 71 per cent of ‘stay’ voters believe the UK is taken more seriously by the rest of the world as part of the EU. 68 per cent think the UK’s national security will be better served in the EU than out.
Particular expat referendum concerns focus on potential changes in the healthcare and pensions provisions that come with being a member of the EU, such as whether the state pension provisions will be ‘frozen’. Visa concerns and potentially having to apply for residency were also considerations, as were reductions in income if the exchange rate fell. The uncertainties are so great that many expats fear they will have to leave their country of residence and return to the UK if it left the EU.
The economic argument is also key for expats who will vote to leave, with 68 per cent believing the UK would be economically better off, and 72 per cent seeing leaving the EU as a chance to renegotiate better trade deals. However, being free from EU bureaucracy was the highest chosen benefit (80 per cent) for leaving the EU, according to the research. Other perceived benefits include being able to negotiate better deals with non-EU economies (72 per cent), and being able to negotiate improved trade agreements with the EU (30 per cent). via expatnetwork.com