Expats in Spain fear for the future amid tough new residence rules after Brexit


New regulations and a growing bureaucracy after Brexit have raised fears for their future for many of the 360,000 British citizens living in Spain.

According to the Express, masses of expats have left their homes in the country to return to the UK amid concerns over healthcare, savings and property rights.

Property expert and managing director Robert Barnhardt said many UK owners are now selling.

He said: “A lot of retired Brits are starting to sell. They used to come here in September or October and then stay until April / May for the six months of better weather.

“But now they can only come for 90 days. Many older people choose to go. Sometimes because of health care, or their health coverage.

Around 360,000 UK citizens are registered as permanent residents in Spain, but getting around after Brexit has become much more difficult.

Robert said: “The British people do not have the right they had before Brexit to come and live here now.”

Those who settle in Spain must prove that they have a place to stay, sufficient financial resources to stay in the country if they are not working, and private medical insurance.

As of March 2021, Spanish immigration rules have stipulated that those who wish to live in Spain must have a monthly income of £ 2,000. For a family, it is necessary for the British to present an additional monthly income of £ 500 for each member of the family.

Since the introduction of the new regulations in July 2020, the Spanish government has received almost 170,000 residence applications from Britons. Of these, 2,400 were rejected and these people had only 15 days to leave.

British Foreign Secretary Wendy Morton has vowed to raise the issues with her Spanish counterparts and the MP for Aldridge acknowledged the challenges of wading through the bureaucracy faced by British expatriates pledging to work to end the minefield of the regulations.

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According to data released in 2017 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), just over a third of UK citizens living in Spain are aged 65 and over.

Health problems tend to be more common among older generations and the new rules state that an expat can now only access free health care in Spain if they are resident, or work and pay taxes.

In addition, retirees must prove that they have an income of £ 21,000 per year to live in Spain. This is more than what the British state pension pays.

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