A BRITISH government memo sent to Whitehall departments revealed officials are preparing for up to 250,000 expatriates returning home if a Brexit no-deal scenario occurs, according to reports.
The memo states that officials expect between 50,000 and 250,000 British expatriates living in the EU may return to Britain if the country leaves the bloc without a deal.
Approximately 150.000 Britons may return in the year following the UK’s EU exit, with around 30,000 moving back in the first three months under a ‘worst-case’ scenario. An additional 100,000 are forecast to return in the following year.
The Department for Work and Pensions predicted around 50,000 could return to Britain as part of more optimistic estimates. Roughly 1.3 million British citizens live across the EU.
Around 40 per cent of returning expatriates could be pensioners, according to government sources. Public services including the NHS and welfare system could come under pressure as a result.
A government spokesperson told British media the predictions could vary if expatriates receive reassurance from Spain and other European Union countries that their current living situation and rights will not be affected if the United Kingdom leaves without a deal.
Concerns have also risen surrounding a possible ‘hostile environment’ towards returning British expats if benefits are tried to be claimed.
A government spokesperson said: “We are looking at options to see what more we can do to ensure that any returning UK nationals get immediate access to the benefits and support they are entitled to.”