The effect of Brexit on British expatriate residents in Spain

Costa Blanca's Gandia is proud to display its five-metre high "Aquil-les". Image: Gandia Town Hall

ONE of our readers, M Davies, from Gata de Gorgos, Alicante wrote in with the following observations: Many British expatriates are worried about their status in Spain should Brexit occur. Their worry is compounded by the opinions of ill-informed and scare-mongering people, including British MPs, bankers, industrialists, and academics who probably declared doom for the UK outside the EU. 

Most expatriate Britons arrived in Spain, post Spain’s entry to the EU, and have benefited from the EU Schengen, open-border agreement but some came under the visa system. All those people who are legal, ie hold a residencia, or who leave Spain after 182 days in any one year, should be unaffected by Brexit. 

It is only those Britons who have chosen to live illegally in Spain, who should be concerned by Brexit and they can legalise their status should they wish to do so. 

Also there is controversy about resident British pensioners, who can obtain free Spanish health care. This is due to an agreement between Britain and Spain, not the EU, and therefore free healthcare should be unaffected by Brexit. 

The Spanish government must be aware of the financial value of foreign expatriates to the national and local economies. In the off-season, tourist areas are dependent on foreign residents to support local businesses. British expatriates are the predominant foreign residents in Spain, and so it is unlikely that Spain would want British expatriate residents to leave Spain post Brexit. 

All enfranchised British expatriate residents who wish to vote for Brexit should do so because Britain will survive the exit, and in all probability will thrive outside the EU. 

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