From an expatriate to an illegal immigrant

© World Economic Forum
BORIS JOHNSON: The mayor of London is backing the Brexit campaign.

WITH the bombastic Mayor of London backing the Brexit campaign, the referendum hangs on a knife edge. The Prime Minister is right to be worried as his friend turned foe has huge influence to sway the vote. More than 100 Conservative MPs have declared they want to leave the EU – including five cabinet ministers. 

A huge worry for those concerned by the referendum and the possibility of the UK leaving the EU is the unknown status of large numbers of expat communities, wantonly dismissed by Westminster as the ivory towers threaten to collapse under a bruised collective ego. 

A mass exodus of both British residents and Europeans from each other’s respective nations, could easily be the result of rampant bureaucracy gone mad in the wake of an exit from Europe.   


In a chilling statement, Dominic Grieve, former attorney general, has said: “An EU exit would instantly make two million Britons living abroad illegal immigrants.”

23/6/2016 is the date when David Cameron has announced the UK referendum on whether to remain in the EU or leave will be held

The UK referendum bill failed to even guarantee a vote for British people living abroad for more than 15 years, leaving a vast amount of expats barred from a process that directly relates to their future living in Spain. 

Fewer Brits relocating to Spain in the future would also have devastating consequences to expat businesses, reliant on British communities, as the flow of British expats diminishes. 

Gibraltar can vote
In June’s referendum
ALTHOUGH Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey are not part of the EU and have no right to vote in the referendum, Gibraltar is (although it uses its membership through the UK selectively) and therefore all registered voters in Gibraltar will be eligible to vote in the referendum as part of South West England.

Unadulterated ignorance defines any grasp of the future relationship between Spain and the UK if Britain does indeed vote to leave the union, as the real details are about as settled as Boris’ hair in the wind. 

Will established British people living in Spain be forced to sell up and relocate back to the UK when faced with mammoth amounts of red tape and excessive taxes? What happens to healthcare charges for those of us in Spain? Will Sweden also go its own way? Will the EU collapse under the weight of its own ambition? If Scotland votes differently from England, is this the end of the United Kingdom? 

This isn’t a case of elephants in the room, there’s an outright zoo on the loose, and the arrival of another bumbling ape with a shock of exotic white hair shouldn’t make a damn of a difference. 

Forget the hype, follow your heart, educate yourself.  


  1. Superb article Emily. Every expat who has been here less than 15 years should be registering to vote. There may be enough of us to swing it if the numbers are running close within the “pat” community in the UK on the 23rd of June.

    Unfortunately so many of us are so confused. I’ve even received thumbs-down points on a purely informative comment I put up previously aimed at making people aware of the proxy option for voting. Why on earth would anyone give a thumbs-down to that? I’m not complaining btw. just wondering what is going on inside the head of anyone who would disapprove of a purely informative item letting them know they can ensure their vote counts by using proxy instead of possibly not being counted if it gets delayed in the post. Weird.

  2. If you do not have a N.I.E. and you are a British citizen living in Spain for more than 3 months you currently enjoy the freedom of movement  within the EU which allows you to stay here legally – up to a point because there are still some legal issues but not enough to make you an illegal immigrant.

    However, if Britain quits the EU at some point after 23 June you will cease to be an EU citizen and you will become an illegal immigrant in Spain unless you have registered as a resident by then and got your N.I.E. 

    This is the simple truth – not scaremongering, not just a rumour – the simple truth.

    Of course there is still a possibility Britain may vote to stay in the EU, but I wouldn’t count on it.

  3. as I came to spain in 1987 I lost my right to vote with the 15yr policy / went back for 15months end of November 2014.
    I was disgusted by the state of the country and when my son was attacked we came back to spain.


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