Settling in Spain has become a difficult and complicated task for Britons following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, effective from 31 December, as it has meant the disappearance of most of their privileges as EU citizens, such as receiving public health care, coming without a job offer or moving without accrediting economic resources to support themselves.
This is an issue on which experts in immigration and British associations such as “Brexpats in Spain”, which brings together more than 20,000 UK citizens living on Spanish soil and which is “fighting” to prevent Brexit from affecting them. From 1 January, Britons thinking of settling in Spain will have to abide by the provisions of the General Aliens Regime, whose conditions are “very strict” and will require the same from them as from any other non-EU citizen.
This means that they will have to prove, among other things, that they have accommodation to stay in, financial resources to support themselves if they are not working, and medical insurance that provides them with health coverage equivalent to that of the Social Security.
Their newly acquired status also affects everyday matters such as driving, since there is no mutual recognition agreement between the two countries, and British nationals who want to drive a car must obtain a licence valid in Spain.
For young people, “it’s the end of coming to Spain to make a living like I did”, says Sharon Hitchcock, treasurer of “Brexpats in Spain”, with regret. According to her, the position in which Brexit has left them is a change “for the worse” and a throwback to the 1980s. And she insists that as things currently stand, only those with significant financial backing will be able to move.