However, the Department for Work and Pensions said it could be “a number of days” for the payments to be credited to these accounts, due to backlogs in the banking system. Some pensioners might not see their money until sometime next week, the DWP noted.
In a statement on its website, the DWP added that anyone wishing to find out more should contact their local bank branch, or the International Pension Centre, the details of which may be found on its website.
Advisers in Cyprus with expat clients say that ever since the crisis began, they have been advising clients to use any non-Cyprus bank accounts they may have, and helping those who did not have such accounts to open them.
Tony Pentland, head of business development at 3D Global, which specialises in looking after expats from its offices in Limassol, and which has been holding “open forums” for its clients there and in Larnaca in response to the situation, said that most expat pensioners plan to “continue to receive state pensions in to their UK accounts or offshore accounts, for the time being”.
“Expats feel that there is a lot of mistrust in the banking system, and it is taking weeks to get simple transactions completed due to the bottleneck,” he added.
A local businessman he knows, Pentland added, who runs a furniture distribution outlet, described his business having “suffered dramatically because credit and debit card payments from customers” have not reached his bank account since 12 March.
Other client worries, he noted, include concerns among some who own their own homes, but who have had mortgages taken out on them without their knowledge by unscrupulous developers, who subsequently defaulted on these mortgages via Laiki Bank and Bank of Cyprus.
"Many [of these] expats fear being repossessed by the banks, and if this happens, they could be forced to return to the UK," Pentland said.
Some 25,000 Britons are said to live in Cyprus, while the number of those living there who receive a UK pension is said to be around 18,000.
Under the administration of the British for more than 80 years, until 1960, it has been a popular retirement destination for Britons looking for a warmer climate. Its appeal was heightened by tax breaks on pension payments offered by the Cyprus government to British retirees, that enabled UK individuals in recept of a large pension income to trade in a 40% tax rate for a 5% one.
Payments suspended 18 March
As reported, on 18 March the UK suspended pension and benefit payments to expat Britons, and others eligible to receive them, who live in Cyprus, pending the resolution of the country’s debt problems. Since then, a €10bn bailout deal has been agreed, which involved depositors in the island’s banks losing a large percentage of their deposits above the €100,000 amount, up to which deposits had been insured.
The UK Government is continuing to monitor the situation in Cyprus from both London and Nicosia, the DWP said.