All this Brexit talk getting you down? Maybe it’s time for an escape plan.

If you live in the UK then you might have noticed there was a big vote recently. June 2016 saw the British people vote for Brexit, or the British Exit from the EU. Time will tell whether this was a good idea or not. But many people find themselves wondering, where can I go to escape Brexit?

Political and economic instability, social divisions and the media saturation can make you long for a better option. Don’t worry though, the worlds a big place and there are many places where British people can go after Brexit.

If you’re wondering where to go when you leave the UK, these are the countries where it easiest to get permanent residency and/or nationality.


Touted as the easiest option for many Brits, it’s not far from home, culturally similar and many of us have family ties in some capacity.  People are friendly and many companies are moving to Ireland from the UK. If you work in customer service there are big companies like PayPal who have their Europe HQ in Ireland.

Lifestyle wise there’s lots of beautiful country side, a similar pub culture to the UK and cities like Dublin, Galway and Limerick are great fun.

How easy is it to move there?

Well, that depends on a few things. If you have a grandparent on either side who was born in the Emerald Isle then you’re eligible for a passport. Easy.

If you’re unskilled it’s still relatively easy to go and find a job. Ireland exports more people than it imports so finding a job is straightforward in some respects.

You will be elegible for Irish citizenship if you live there for around 5 years uninterrupted (holidays are OK).

Missing the pub? Ireland is for you – pic: Christian Birkholz

New Zealand or Australia

Although they’re a long way from Blighty, both Oz and Kiwi Land aren’t a million miles from the UK culturally. English is of course the main language and there are cultural similarities, although the weather is a lot better.

The mountains, fjords and rolling hills of New Zealand or the miles of beaches or untouched outback of Australia. It’s a tough choice if you’re heading down under. If you’re a city person then both Auckland (NZ) and Melbourne (Australia) are frequently on the lists of best places to live.

How easy is it to move there?

If you’re under 31 you can get a youth mobility visa and go and get a job. You can then work at making yourself invaluable to the country and get yourself a permanent residency.

Australia has a more stringent immigration policy and you can expect to have to do a lot of paperwork if you want to stay. You’ll have to be on the required skills list which does change, but generally you can work something out. Teachers, train drivers, engineers, plumbers and chefs are often on the list.

New Zealand is slightly easier to get in, but you will still need to be on the skills list.

If you have been a resident for 5 years you can get citizenship in New Zealand. Or you can get a permanent resident visa if you have been present for 2 years and are in a stable job with a commitment to the country.

Australian citizenship and permanent residency is based similar criteria but can be more complicated to apply for.

Surfers off Gold Coast, Queensland -pic: LittleMouse


Like the countries listed above, Canada isn’t massively unfamiliar to Europeans and is welcoming to new arrivals (unlike it’s southern neighbour).

One of the most affluent countries on the planet, Canada has some of the best cities for lifestyle such as Vancouver and Toronto. If you like wide open spaces, mountains and endless lakes then Canada might be for you.

How easy is it to move there?

There is a job skills list which if you’re on can make your new life in Canada very easy. If you’re a tradesman or have a doctorate then you’re pretty much in, but even the unskilled can find a way to get residency in Canada.

You’ll need to be a permanent resident to apply for citizenship for Canada and you’ll need to have lived there for at least 6 years.

A mid sized town in Canada – pic: MemoryCatcher

Keeping European Citizenship

If you want to remain a European citizen then you’ll probably need to find some family history with ties to a European state. Or, find a European of your liking, fall in love and marry them.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge then you can just head off to a European country and get a job or set up a business before the UK leaves the union.


Belgium is one of the European countries with the easiest criteria for becoming a citizen. It’s also a dynamic and affluent society with lots of opportunities for immigrants. Speaking French is going to be important and mastering Flemish will help you go far.

Permanent residency can be obtained in 3 years and citizenship can be applied for after this (around 5 years).

Every house looks like this in Belgium! (disclaimer: houses may not actually look like this) – pic: meineresterampe


An attractive destination for those looking to escape Brexit, Portugal has a lot going for it. Sun, sand, awesome food, stacks of culture and attractive benefits for workers. Portugal is currently trying to tempt tech startups so if you’re a designer, programmer or general tech bod then you may find this a desirable option.

It’s also one of the easiest places to obtain permanent residency or citizenship in the European area. You’ll need to get your Portuguese up to speed though.

The sun always shines in Portugal (*disclaimer: it doesn’t ALWAYS shine in Portugal) – pic: Skitterphoto


One of the worlds biggest economies, France is actually one of the easiest places to get citizenship. Although if you’re looking to escape all the Brexit hoo haa, it might not be the best option due to France’s own problems with the far right.

But as a place to live and work, France is one of the best. They have a high standard of living, a decent climate, stacks of culture and the job market has improved (although it’s still not as good as the UK).

Yes, you’ll need to speak French but don’t let that put you off. It’s a relatively easy language to master for English speakers.

You can also get French residency by doing your masters degree in a French university and then working there after.

Au revoir Brexit – pic: Free-Photos

Escape Brexit and Europe

Maybe you’re not so bothered about staying European and now it’s just about where to go and enjoy life. No problem, there’s a million options. You can get permanent residency in a lot of countries just by going there and working in a good job (such as teacher or engineer) for several years. Some of the best international options are:

  • Singapore
  • Panama
  • Brazil
  • Hong Kong
  • Poland
  • Paraguay
  • Uruguay
  • Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia

Some of these require monetary investment, others just require that you hold down a stable and respectable job for a minimum period. Either way, if you’re looking at setting up a new life on foreign shores then look into the options in one of these destinations.

Is Brexit that bad?

Another question may be, is it worth running away from Brexit? What about staying and facing the new dawn of an independent Britain? Well, sure why not. That is an option that the majority will take. The country won’t sink into the sea and there will still be opportunity for all, so despite the gloom painted by the media, it will surely work out fine.

But, it’s a good opportunity for those who have had enough of the politics and the mess made by the whole Brexit shambles to plan their escape. And why not? The world’s a big place with a lot to see and do.



David Lynch · 5th April 2017 at 11:16 pm

Nice and very well argued post cous’n
Really enjoyed reading through

Ps: Tu aurais pu prendre une photo en couleur de Paris !

You should acknowledge though that you’re rather a lucky man to have so many options available with Family in France , relatives in Ireland (if you enter about any pub in Ireland claiming to be one of theirs, you’ll always find hands raising up for the Irish family connexion!) and of course friends everywhere in Spain, Italy, Belgium…

“So long (?), Adieu, auf Wiedersehen , Adios,

carol norwell · 13th August 2019 at 1:45 pm

The article was ok….the ending trite….’it will surely work out fine’ wonder how many German Jews said this before the SS got busy with the gas chambers.

    Olilynch · 7th September 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Ha yeah to be fair its due an update. Not sure you can equate Brexit with the Holocaust, but hey, you just did 😉

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