Cloud of Brexit Hangs Over British Expats in Spain

Cloud of Brexit Hangs Over British Expats in Spain

 Earlier this week, the British Parliament passed a bill authorizing the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50, which would put into motion the processes that would make Brexit a reality.

There are over 800,000 British expats living in Spain, and they are terribly worried about what that would mean for them. There are many who wonder if this is the right time to sell property in Spain fast in 2017 and move back to Britain.

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the European Union posed a serious threat to his country’s still recovering economy. Prime Minister Rajoy said in an interview with the newspaper ABC, "Brexit is a serious threat. Without wanting to go into other considerations, I will only tell you that one in five tourists who come to Spain are British, and close to 17 million Britons visited Spain last year."

"Spain... hopes that its two biggest partners will maintain their pro-EU vocation and their determination to push forward a project which, despite all its imperfections is the best political initiative the world has seen in centuries - the EU project," the prime minister added.

Officially, Spain has 300,000 Britons residing here, but in reality, the number is anywhere from 800,000 to 1 million. A lot of British expats who live in Spain are retirees, who face a declining purchasing power because of the fall of the pound.

Most British expats who live in Spain are concentrated on the Mediterranean coast, in the provinces of Alicante and Malaga. In many of the towns in this region, one out of every two people are Britons, Britons run small businesses, and find work as lawyers, hairdressers, electricians, doctors, plumbers, etc. Most have purchased homes of their own here and share a real attachment with Spain.

Now, all of a sudden, there is a glut of properties for sale in Spain because so many British expats are in a rush to sell everything and leave the country because of all the uncertainly around. This is certainly a tough time to be a British expat in Spain, especially if you are a retiree, who is dependent on a British pension.

 Healthcare is another major concern as tens of thousands of Britons face the prospect of having to return home to get the right treatment from the NHS, as Britain’s exit from the European Union could mean that they would no longer have the right to cheap health care as EU citizens in Spain.

 This has certainly put the lives of so many older people such as patient John Shaw, 71, at risk. Mr. Shaw, a British expat who has been living in Spain for over a decade says, “Imagine the impact on the NHS when they all go back. It’s a disaster all round, whichever way you look at it.”

“I have been talking to many people in Spain who say they actually went out to places like Majorca because of the benefits of the sunshine and the warmth on their health conditions. The levels of stress and worry among elderly British citizens living abroad is concerning,” Mr. Shaw added.


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