SPAIN has always been a popular hotspot for British holidaymakers, but this time it’s not just the weather and relaxed lifestyle driving the popularity trend to Spanish soil.
The growing uncertainty regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union has come into play quite decisively in recent months, prompting a large number of British nationals in Spain to make their residency status official. The majority in the Andalusian and Valencia regions. In fact, records show the the rise has been a record 10% since December 2018.
Figures show that the majority of Britons who opt to move abroad head for Spain. A community that has not stopped growing since registers were first established.
British consul Sarah-Jane Morris confirms that many Britons in Spain had not thought of getting residency papers, but now with Brexit looming it’s importance has been highlighted, prompting many British citizens to register with the Spanish authorities – either at an Immigration Office or at a designated local police station.
Figures provided by the Interior Ministry reveal that the numbers are rising at an accelerating rate (Currently 365,967 Britons officially registered in Spain) and it is likely that they will go up even more quickly immediately before and after the Brexit deadline.
“We are advising British nationals who have been in Spain longer than three months and want to remain here to legalize their residency status,” further states Sarah-Jane Morris “And the data suggests they are taking this seriously.”
There are even more people flocking to register now than directly after the 2016 referendum, which saw 52% of the UK vote to leave the EU. During that period, the number of Brits registered rose by just 4.6%, according to data from Spain’s Labor Ministry.
The data of the Brits registered in Spain show that the British community is concentrated along the coast, predominantly in Alicante and Málaga, and more than a third of residents are over 65. “The typical British national on the coast is probably in retirement,” says Morris. “While in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona they tend to be people who are working.”
Post-Brexit bilateral agreement
The benefits Britons in Spain will be able to receive after Brexit will depend on a bilateral agreement that the two countries’ governments have already signed, and which is focused on maintaining the status quo even if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
Spain has even drawn up a contingency plan to issue permits to residents who are left in limbo. To take advantage of the agreement, Brits in Spain must first register officially. The British Embassy has had 200 meetings with British residents since the 2016 referendum to encourage this idea.