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Guide to qualifications in England

31 October 2016

From GCSE to International Baccalaureate

Although there are numerous options, a student in an English school will typically study for GCSEs between the ages of 14 and 16, and then A Levels between the ages of 16 and 19. There are further post-16 options in some schools – for example, the BTEC Diploma, vocational qualifications such as the NVQ and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which is now quite widely available in state and independent schools. The Pre-U was introduced into independent schools and sixth forms in 2008, and the International GCSE (IGCSE) was recently accredited for study. All the above are considered...

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Ofsted chief gives England's school system six out of 10

31 October 2016

The schools system in England remains “mediocre” despite the improvements of the past two decades, the outgoing chief inspector of schools has said.

The schools system in England remains “mediocre” despite the improvements of the past two decades, the outgoing chief inspector of schools has said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, who retires as head of Ofsted at the end of the year, said he would give the system “six out of 10” for its current performance.

Appearing on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, he said that while it was in better shape than at any time in the past, there was still “a lot...

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Home Office requested schools census data on nearly 2,500 children

31 October 2016

Lords are expected to challenge collection of information in national pupil database after motion of regret tabled

Home Office officials requested information from the national pupil database on nearly 2,500 children for immigration enforcement over 15 months, it has emerged.

Peers are expected to challenge the collection, undertaken for the first time this year as part of the schools census, in a Lords debate on Monday, after Liberal Democrat education spokesman Michael Storey tabled a motion of regret over the policy.

Human rights groups have urged parents to boycott the questions, amid fears that they would turn teachers into de facto border guards....

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Education: the real return on investment

31 October 2016

The true value of education may be lost in a simple calculation of what you can earn after a particular course of study, but taking a hard-headed approach to the sums may help you decide which form of study is right for you, as well as for your children.

To illustrate the financial costs and benefits of various higher educational options, we have imagined a family of lifelong learners who are contemplating a range of courses and qualifications.

However, before we consider the potential value of a higher degree, let’s look at the choices made about what kind of school your child...

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UK economy shrugs off Brexit jitters… for the moment

28 October 2016

The UK economy shook off post-referendum blues in the third quarter to record better-than-expected GDP growth of 0.5 per cent, according to preliminary data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday. Economists had been expecting growth of 0.3 per cent in the three months following the referendum on EU membership but the forecasts were dashed by a dynamic performance by the country’s powerhouse services sector, which grew by 0.8 per cent.

Nissan decision boosts UK prospects

The prospects for the UK economy received a further boost on Thursday when Nissan said it would build its new Nissan and X-Trail models...

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UK economy grows 0.5% in three months after Brexit vote

28 October 2016

The UK’s service sector helped the economy to grow faster than expected in the three months after the Brexit vote, official figures have indicated.

The economy expanded by 0.5% in the July-to-September period, according to the Office for National Statistics. That was slower than the 0.7% rate in the previous quarter, but stronger than analysts’ estimates of about 0.3%. “There is little evidence of a pronounced effect in the immediate aftermath of the vote,” the ONS said. The stronger than expected growth will further dampen expectations that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will cut interest rates next week.

Analysis: Jonty Bloom, business correspondent The...

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CBI calls for £6 billion boost to public spending

28 October 2016

Industry leaders in the UK have called on the government to increase public spending on infrastructure projects following the EU referendum vote in June.

British industry leaders are calling on the government to increase public spending on infrastructure projects by £6 billion a year to boost economic growth in the wake of the referendum vote to leave the European Union. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published its proposals on Thursday for what it would like to see in next month’s Autumn Statement, in which Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will set out the new government’s spending plans. “The chancellor should lay...

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Why leave? Tax crazy France and meddling Germany BURIED by Britain in top business survey

28 October 2016

FRANCE and Germany’s hopes of luring companies away from the UK after Brexit were dealt a hammer blow today after the two countries were blown out of the water by pro-business Britain.

The UK is rated as far more open to entrepreneurs and less riven with needless red tape and bureaucracy than its two economic rivals in a landmark survey by the World Bank.

Its results will allay fears that companies are looking to flee these shores post-Brexit, showing that the grass is far from greener on the other side of the Channel.

Companies looking to relocate to France would face...

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Why choose a local school overseas?

27 October 2016

Selecting local schooling for your expat child

When you relocate to a different country, there is a lot to consider, the obvious culture shock being the main concern. When you move abroad with children, there is a lot more to organise. Luckily, children are usually very adaptable and there are simple ways to help them integrate into the new culture.

Staying in that country on long term or permanent basis means that confining your children to an international or English-speaking school or home school system may not be the best option. In this case, the benefits of sending your children to...

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Reality Check: Is UK still the world's fifth biggest economy?

27 October 2016

The claim: The falling pound has made the UK the world’s sixth biggest economy, down from fifth. Reality Check verdict: The World Bank produces the rankings which are based on average exchange rates over the period. The UK has not fallen behind France so far. Figures as diverse as Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, and Lord Livingston, the former Conservative trade minister, have said the UK has slipped down the rankings and is now the sixth-largest economy in the world. In an article in the Telegraph, former trade minister Lord Livingston wrote: “In the long term, this is unacceptable for the sixth-largest economy...

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Up to £7,000 charged in UK for visas issued in Ireland

25 October 2016

Surge in applications for UK citizens’ spouses coming from Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Agencies in the UK are charging up to £7,000 to help people get their non-EU spouses into the UK using visas issued by Ireland.

The activities of the agencies come against a backdrop of an unprecedented surge in visa applications for UK citizens’ spouses who come from Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK is making it more difficult for such people to get visas. One agency mentioned in a High Court ruling last week, Immigration Assistance Services (IAS), with an address in Rochdale, England, says it can guarantee to get...

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The National View: A one-size immigration policy does not fit all

25 October 2016

THIS newspaper has consistently said that the UK’s “one-size-fits-all” policy on immigration is crying out for change, and the need for it appears to be growing every day.

Despite his reluctance to become a “poster family” for immigrants to Scotland, Gregg Brain eloquently sets out in The National today how that eventually helped his family’s case to stay in the Highlands.

There are many other cases of families being stuck in a visa limbo, awaiting a decision from the Home Office UK Visas & Immigration wing, or a ruling on their appeal – a process that regularly takes more than a year.

The...

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Bristol leads house price charge among UK cities

24 October 2016

Bristol continues to see the fastest annual rate of house price growth among the 20 largest UK cities, according to the latest quarterly survey from property analysts Hometrack.

The rate in the city in the west of England hit 12.3 per cent to reach an average of £259,800 in the three months to the end of September – a quarter which saw healthy growth in many cities away from SE England. London, however, saw its weakest growth in almost two years with a 0.9 per cent rise over Q3 as the number of homes coming on to the market in the capital...

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Report urges regions be given post-Brexit visa allocations

24 October 2016

Regional cities in the UK should be allocated post-Brexit visa allowances to enable companies to recruit foreign workers to fill local skills vacancies, according to a report from the PwC consultancy. The Financial Times said that the as-yet unpublished report, commissioned by the City of London Corporation, proposed cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle be allocated regional work visas in a scheme modelled on regional visa policy programmes adopted by both Australia and Canada.

News of the proposals came after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond suggested in evidence to a committee of MPs that highly skilled workers might be exempt...

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Property News: Confidence in UK housing market returns

24 October 2016

CONFIDENCE is returning to the UK housing market following the Brexit vote.

The latest UK Residential Market Survey by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows a slight upturn in market confidence following a drop in activity and price expectations after the referendum result.

This has led the RICS to predict an increase in prices and sales activity over the next three months and longer term in the next 12 months.

Modest increases in prices are expected in most areas of the country outside London and sales expectations were at their highest since February.

The shortage of housing stock available for buyers is...

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Meet Cleber, our International & Domestic Relocation Coordinator from Brazil

24 October 2016

Cleber Araujo

Cleber is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and has been living in the UK for 9 years, prior to that Cleber lived in Australia for 6 years.

We asked him how would he define a smooth relocation and if so what advice would he give to future expats relocating to England? A smooth relocation for me is to be able to speak the local language, willing to accept other people’s cultures and customs, and mostly have a work/life balanced. Best advice he would give is to be patient, it takes at least 1 year to adjust to a new country....

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UK government to seek to curb immigration through 'targeted visa system'

20 October 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May has tasked a team of ministers with cutting immigration, including through a “targeted visa system”, according to a government document published on Tuesday.

The immigration taskforce, chaired by May and featuring 12 other ministers including the three leading Brexit campaigners Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, has been asked to deliver annual net migration in the tens of thousands.

That was a target set by May’s predecessor David Cameron, but which the government has failed to meet. Net migration is currently running at more than three times that level.

Setting out the terms of reference for the...

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UK house prices: East and South driving rises, says ONS

20 October 2016

House prices continued to rise strongly following the Brexit vote - driven by increases in eastern and southern England, official figures show.

The annual rise in UK property prices accelerated to 8.4% in August, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The fastest growth was a 13.3% rise in the East of England, followed by rises of 12.2% in the South East of England and 12.1% in London.

The gap in prices between regions is widening, the data shows. On a local level, the most expensive homes were found in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the cost of an average house...

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'Everything is cheaper': Burberry UK sees tourist boom

20 October 2016

“Everything here is cheaper than my hometown,” says 25-year-old Patthanan Chatchavalthitiwath clutching her Burberry shopping bag.

The Thai student reckons she’s saved up to £10 on the perfume she bought for her sister thanks to the pound’s fall. She is one of the overseas shoppers Burberry has credited for driving up UK sales by almost a third. The British fashion house said tourists’ higher spending power due to the drop in sterling drove the rise. Comparable European sales, which exclude new store openings, were higher in the first half of the year, marking the first rise for over a year.

The firm, which makes just...

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Number of Britons in work hits another new high

20 October 2016

UK employment rates have reached a record high despite a slight increase in the number of jobless individuals, according to recent ONS figures.

The number of people in employment in the UK has reached a new record of almost 32 million despite a slight rise in the number of jobless, according to official figures published on Wednesday. Although the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a small rise of 10,000 on the unemployment register in the quarter to the end of August, the jobless rate remained at 4.9 per cent, its lowest in more than a decade. The total of 1.66 million...

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New research finds it costs SME’S almost £30,000 to replace an employee

20 October 2016

New research from AXA PPP healthcare reveals that it costs SMEs nearly £30,000, on average, to replace an employee, with employers looking to focus on employee wellbeing in 2017 to help lower the likelihood of having to recruit new people to replace those who’ve left their business.

UK SME bosses predict that the biggest areas of focus for them in 2017 will be employees’ work/life balance (35 per cent), offering more flexible working practices (21 per cent) and better procurement practices to ensure cost savings (19 per cent).

The focus on employee wellbeing and cost control is unsurprising, given that SME decision-makers...

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Icon Relocation sponsors best global mobility programme in new or emerging markets

20 October 2016

Icon Relocation sponsors best global mobility programme in new or emerging markets at the EMEA EMMA’s

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Self-employed workers taking home less today than 20 years ago, figures show

19 October 2016

Self-employed workers are taking home less today than 20 years ago, according to new figures from the Resolution Foundation.

The think tank found that while the UK’s self employed workforce had grown by 45 per cent, average earnings remain below levels recorded in 1994-95.

The policy experts said that this is partly due to the self-employed pool increasingly comprising lower income workers before the financial crisis, but added that since 2008, returns have been falling even on a like-for-like basis.

Typical earnings fell by £100 a week between 2006-07 and 2013-14, with the vast majority of this squeeze arising even after holding constant...

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Brexit already affecting Brit expats in France

18 October 2016

Four months after the devastating Brexit announcement, British expats in France are beginning to feel its effects.

A majority of Britishers living in France are either retirees on pensions or owners of small businesses serving mainly the local expat community. The initial shock of sterling’s fall following the referendum result hit hardest on retirees living on just the UK state pension. The currency’s partial recovery gave a brief respite, but Theresa May’s recent announcement that Article 50 will be triggered next March sent sterling into free fall again.

As a result, UK pensioners living all over France are now feeling...

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Brexit: US says Britain needs to 'sort out' its relationship with EU before it considers trade deal

18 October 2016

The US will not start bilateral trade negotiations with the UK before it makes a decision on its relationship with the EU, according to the Government’s trade representative.

Michael Froman has said that the US cannot start planning trade and investment agreements with the UK until it gives more details on what kind of deal it is pursuing in Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Speaking to an audience of academic and trade diplomats in Switzerland, he said: “The practicality is that until the UK sorts through with the EU the nature of its relationship … it’s impossible to have a serious conversation...

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Britain is turning sharply right

18 October 2016

There is no disguising it anymore. Britain is turning sharply right.

Led by a Conservative Party that is increasingly beginning to sound like France’s far-right National Front, post- Brexit Britain is attacking foreignness wholesale. Foreign workers are in its sights. So are foreign students.

Hard Brexiteers, many of whom are senior government ministers, appear busily engaged in fumigating the political arena for pesky, liberal ideas such as openness and inclusiveness. They are turning concepts — universal commerce, free markets and transnational human rights — advanced in the late 18th century by Thomas Paine into foreign notions. But Paine, who was born in England, migrated to the...

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When the Tories talk about curbs on foreign workers, they don’t mean me. Or do they?

18 October 2016

About a thousand years ago, when I was a kid at summer camp in Maine, my fellow cabinmates announced a game in which everyone had to ignore someone whose name began with an H and ended with a Y. Naturally I was quite hurt by this, and a little confused. Hadn’t we all been friends yesterday? Two of them had already said they wanted to be my pen pals for life! I couldn’t understand it. It turned out they didn’t mean me, they meant a different 11-year-old girl, one called Holly. (I can’t remember why they didn’t like Holly.) I...

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UK housing market shows no sign of cooling

18 October 2016

UK property market prices continue to grow according to ONS figures with the average price increasing by 8.4 per cent in the year to August.

Official figures confirmed on Tuesday that prices in the UK property market were continuing their strong rate of growth with the average price increasing by 8.4 per cent in the year to August. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the average price of a home in August was £219,000, up by 1.3 per cent on July and reflecting “the strong growth seen since the end of 2013”. Across Britain

As usual, there were marked differences...

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UK inflation rate highest since November 2014

18 October 2016

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics has shown the UK’s inflation rate to be at its highest in almost two years this September.

The UK’s inflation rate rose to its highest level in almost two years in September, official data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped from 0.6 per cent in August to a higher-than-expected one per cent last month on the back of more expensive clothes, fuel, restaurants and hotels, the ONS said. Highest CPI inflation for two years

However, the ONS said there were no clear signs yet that the...

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CBI calls for renewed focus on inclusive workforces

18 October 2016

The CBI is urging businesses to step up activities to prioritise effective leadership, engagement and more diverse workforces as economic uncertainty around Brexit deepens.

Launching the business representative body’s new report, Time for Action: the business case for inclusive workplaces, CBI president Paul Drechsler said: “Great business is all about hiring, developing and leading great people. With UK productivity second from bottom of the G7, employee engagement is now more than ever crucial to driving productivity.” The UK currently ranks ninth out of the world’s 12 largest economies for engagement. The CBI’s report highlights a number of domestic firms that have inclusive...

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Home buyers 'back after Brexit jitters'

13 October 2016

Demand among home buyers has seen a modest recovery following “post-referendum jitters”, according to surveyors.

Buyer demand rose for the first time in seven months in September, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

It had dived in June and July during the height of the referendum battle and immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote.

The lack of properties coming onto the market means that prices have risen.

‘Settling down’

Members of Rics said that the average of 45 properties on estate agents books remained close to historic lows.

“The market does now appear to be settling down following the significant headwinds encountered through the...

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Pound’s low means it’s time to invest in UK property

13 October 2016

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union it has been a tumultuous period for the British pound – more so this week since it was announced that Article 50 would be triggered in March 2017.

With the pound dropping to a 31-year low it is bad news for Brits, but for foreign investors and expats now could be the time to invest in British property according to some financial experts.

Neil Stewart, Senior Financial Planner at Guardian Wealth Management, said: “This is an opportunistic time for those being paid in US dollar-pegged currencies such as the dirham to invest in...

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Individual children's details passed to Home Office for immigration purposes

13 October 2016

Fears grow over new school census questions for England and Wales after school and home address details passed to Home Office 18 times in four years

Details of individual children on the national pupil database in England and Wales were passed to the Home Office for immigration purposes 18 times in four years, the Department for Education has disclosed.

The revelation was made in a freedom of information response and comes as the Department for Education is trying to reassure parents in England and Wales that new school census questions asking them to list their children’s nationality and country of birth, sent...

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It is becoming increasingly difficult for people – particularly those from the developing world and the global south – to move around the globe.

13 October 2016

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain is the country most worried about immigration and border control, according to a global survey published on Thursday as the government vowed to crack down on migration as it prepares to leave the European Union.

Forty-two percent of Britons surveyed said they feared immigration, compared to 41 percent in Germany and 33 percent in Sweden, which both have taken much larger numbers of migrants in proportion to their population than the UK.

Britain will trigger the formal process to leave the EU by March 2017 after 52 percent of Britons voted in June to leave the...

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Bankers’ Love of London Complicates Brexit Relocation Plans

12 October 2016

(LONDON) – As Britain heads for the E.U. exit, financial firms intending to move London-based jobs to continental Europe face a costly choice: offer generous relocation and redundancy packages, or expect a flood of lawsuits from disgruntled staff.

Employment lawyers say some worried City workers have already been in touch to clarify their rights if banks, asset managers and other businesses decide they need new homes in the euro zone for operations hit by Brexit uncertainty.

While the terms of Britain’s exit remain unknown, many firms operating in the City of London are intent on protecting their right to sell financial services...

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Six tips for a successful UK visa application

11 October 2016

Among the most popular countries in the world, the UK with its attractive cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool is presumably quite high on most Indonesians’ travel bucket lists.

Indonesian citizens will need to apply for a UK visa before traveling to the country, which can be done through the British Embassy prior to departure. Fortunately, head of prosperity/economic division of British Embassy in Jakarta Joe Beeley said getting a UK visa was considerably easy. “A UK visa takes 15 working days to be processed and we’ve approved around 96 percent of visa applications,” he told kompas.com during the Garuda...

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Relocation: Persuading the reluctant assignee

11 October 2016

When asked to take a relocation assignment, some employees jump at the chance, but others do not. This can be for any number of reasons, such as family circumstances, reluctance to travel, or the location itself.

Sometimes it’s not an issue, and the company can find a more willing candidate, but sometimes it is, as the employee’s presence in a particular location is greatly needed. In such instances, the right incentives can do much to persuade a reluctant assignee.

The most obvious perk is money of course, which, in addition to a salary increase, can include things like hardship and/or danger pay...

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MEGA-GIANT APPLE MOVING ITS LONDON OPERATIONS TO BATTERSEA

11 October 2016

A Huge Vote of Confidence in London as the City for Global Business Giants!

In an exciting announcement, Apple has confirmed that it is relocating its current 1400 London staff to the revamped, iconic Battersea Power Station. It will be both the largest office tenant in the new development, due to be completed in 2021, and the London Borough of Wandsworth’s biggest employer.

When you consider that the Apple brand is held in such high esteem, and is the most valuable company worldwide, this is a massive confirmation of faith in the progressive UK capital city. Always vibrant, London is...

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Icon Relocation Ltd. - OWN IT Award

11 October 2016

The highlight of this year’s Global Partner Alliance Summit was the opportunity to present 18 of NEI’s finest Service Partners with a series of awards. The Monday Awards dinner featured four categories of NEI awards, including: Service Exceeding Expectations Awards, Corporate Responsibility Awards, Own It! Awards and the coveted Partner of the Year Award.

Our congratulations go out to each of the award winners and their employees for partnering with NEI to provide our clients’ relocating families with Service Exceeding Expectations.

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British Expat Pensioners Look to Mitigate Against Falls in Pound to Euro Exchange Rate

11 October 2016

British expat pensioners living in Europe have suffered significant drops in incomes thanks to Sterling’s recent depreciation - however steps can be taken to mitigate against this negative FX trend. The GBP/EUR currency pair’s devaluation has been so extreme, that some British expats living abroad may have to return to the British Isles.

The scale of the currency’s fall is notable.

The best British Pound to Euro exchange rate of the year to date (past 365 days) was 1.432 achieved on 2015-11-19.

Today’s exchange rate is at 1.1107, this is 22.44% off the best exchange rate of the past year-to-date.

The best British Pound...

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Brexit: British expats sue EU's Juncker over talks

08 October 2016

British expats living in the EU are suing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over his order to prevent informal Brexit discussions. Mr Juncker insists there can be no negotiations until the UK triggers Article 50 - the withdrawal process. The expat group wants immediate talks about the implications of Brexit for Britons living in other EU countries. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to trigger Article 50 by the end of March. But she also called for “preparatory work” with EU governments - before the official negotiations - to help smooth the process of UK withdrawal. The non-profit association Fair Deal for Expats has...

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