A FRENCH senator has called for Brits who have owned second homes in France from before Brexit to be granted ‘special status’.
The proposal could become part of a new immigration bill that is expected to be presented to the French parliament shortly.
It would be music to the ears of high-spending Brits in France, who inject on average around €3,000 a month into the local economies.
And further south, it would set an exciting precedent for some of the nearly one million Brits who have been prevented from enjoying their second homes in Spain as often as they would like.
Senator Martine Berthet of Savoie said she was inspired to come to the aid of the British by the state visit of King Charles III to France last month.
In a letter, the senator said: “As I represent a department where British citizens who own second homes actively contribute to the local economy, I want to highlight the difficulties they face when coming to France.”
She pointed out that they are subject to the 90-day limit or must undergo annual visa formalities, which involves a lengthy and complex process fraught with technical uncertainties, such as issues with the TLSContact website and limited appointment availability.
A recent survey conducted by Senator Berthet’s office revealed that hundreds of Britons have contemplated selling their French second homes due to the 90/180-day rule.
Spain has previously lobbied Brussels to relax the rule in the interests of letting British residents stay longer.
The country derives 12% of its GDP from touristic activities and Brits have historically been the country’s number one customers.
In 2018, the number of properties purchased in Spain by UK passport holders was 10,163, which was more than French and German buyers combined.
However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany outstripped UK property buyers as non-resident second home owners.