Expatriates lose pension battle

More than 500,000 expatriates will continue to have their state pensions frozen, after the European Court of Human Rights turned down an appeal for pension payments to rise in alignment with inflation.

British expatriates who currently reside in Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand face bitter disappointment in their eight year quest to receive the same pension rights as those living in European Union countries, the United States, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey and Liechtenstein, as a result of the latest court hearing. The expatriates, who currently have their pensions frozen at the time they settle abroad, believe that they should receive increases in line with those received by other British expats.

Discussing their plight in the Sydney Morning Herald, British expatriate Isabel Jackson commented: “It’s very frustrating that, even though we’ve paid into the scheme all our working life, we are not getting a fair return on what we put in.
“I get a bit belligerent when I think about how migrants to Britain get so many benefits but, because we’ve moved to Australia, we’re not receiving our proper pension after a lifetime of paying taxes.
”It is depressing to think that this ruling will have an effect on our lifestyle. We’re now having to budget and carefully watch every dollar.”

Judges at the court ruled that the appeal was not valid due to the fact that denying index-linked pension rises to some expats did not constitute a breach of their human rights. Commenting on the ruling, John Markham, Director of UK parliamentary affairs for the International Consortium of British Pensioners said: “The ruling is completely indefensible and will leave half a million pensioners facing the possibility of destitution.
“What the government is doing is utterly immoral, unjust and un-British.”

The latest ruling is yet another setback in the eight year battle that one group of an expatriate organization formed of British expatriates, including the British Pensioners in Australia (BPiA), have waged against the UK government and it is likely to have an impact on the pension payments of over half a million expats worldwide. BPiA’s Chairman, also commenting in the Herald said:

”It makes absolutely no sense why pensioners in some countries are getting a rate rise and those living in mostly Commonwealth countries are denied it. It is grossly unfair. The ruling will have a devastating effect on many British pensioners who will have to do it very tough.”

Read the full article: http://www.smh.com.au/national/expatriates-pounded-by-pension-court-ruling-20100320-qn7p.html