French desperate to bring back Britons as their economy suffers after Brexit

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French villages are urging their government to reconsider regulations for British second homeowners, expressing concerns that post-Brexit restrictions are negatively impacting local businesses.

Under current visa rules, Britons with homes in France are limited to a maximum stay of 90 days within a 180-day period. These regulations, implemented after Brexit, are believed to be significantly affecting the economies of local French communities.

In the picturesque village of Verteillac in the Dordogne, the owner of a local convenience store, Bruno Merlaud, lamented the decline in the number of British visitors to the region.

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Merlaud expressed his sadness at the substantial drop in British customers, telling The Telegraph: “The numbers are down, that’s crystal clear. It makes me sad. They are a clientele I appreciate enormously.”

The impact of these rule changes is evident in the sharp decrease in the number of second home owners in France, leading many Britons to sell their properties. According to figures from the English Housing Survey released in July, the number of people in England owning second homes in France has decreased from 89,000 in 2008 to 60,000.

Merlaud highlighted the shift in customer demographics, adding: “There are more Belgians, but they buy less. The Dutch bring everything with them.

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“They are tough in business. I like the British state of mind. Several customers came to see me to bid farewell. My biggest fear is that they’ll all leave.”

To address these concerns, France’s second parliamentary chamber recently passed an amendment to the country’s new Immigration Law.

If enacted into law, the amendment would alleviate the 90-day restriction for Britons and grant automatic eligibility for a long-stay visa to British second homeowners.

This move is seen as a potential solution to revive the tourism and business contributions from British residents, offering a lifeline to local economies grappling with the aftermath of Brexit-related changes.

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