It is always encouraging to know that our readers still check up on us even when they are back in the UK and we just received another comment from Barry who lives in Hertfordshire which follows.
“We live in the UK but have an apartment in Orihuela Costa. The upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU is causing us real concern as, in the event of a “Brexit”, our situation is totally unclear. We can imagine that the situation is even more worrying for anyone who has actually retired to Spain.
Until now, we have always had the option, and the right, to retire to Spain, as so many of your readers already have. After Brexit, will we have to get a visa to enter Spain? It seems that if the UK leaves the EU in order to “take back control of its borders”, then the UK may well introduce visas for EU citizens, and that would result in “tit-for-tat”. (Remember when there was visa-free travel to Australia?)
That seems to be how international diplomacy works. This would perhaps mean that we could only visit our apartment for up to 90 days at a time. Retirement in Spain may be out of the question.
I seem to recall that not so long ago, the EU required the Spanish government to treat ex-pat property owners the same way as Spanish citizens from a tax point of view. They found that non-Spanish residents and owners were being unfairly treated. Following Brexit, who knows what the tax situation will be?
Our EHIC cards would be withdrawn and so our travel insurance will go up. I’m sure it would be much worse for anyone who is living in Spain, though. I have worked for international and global companies and I firmly believe that Brexit will be bad for the British economy, resulting in a drop in the value of the pound.
In fact, it is already happening. When we visited last October, we had almost €1.40 to the pound. Now it’s about €1.20, so the cost of everything in Spain is now 17% more expensive for us. (People say that the drop in the pound is good for our exports, but that advantage disappears when we start having import duties applied to our products, so it’s a lose-lose situation.)
I wonder what the effect on the payment of British pensions in Spain would be? I have no knowledge in this area but I can imagine that it must be very worrying for anyone who has retired to Spain. Perhaps some people will sell up and return to the UK? That could result in the value of retirement property in Spain going down and anyone who has built a business servicing the British community in Spain would see a reduced customer base.
From here in the UK, it currently looks like the referendum could go either way right now, maybe even leaning towards leaving. I would therefore urge anyone who is living in Spain and is eligible to ensure that they are registered to vote and that they use that vote for us to stay in the EU.”