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With the UK set to leave the EU within 2 years of article 50 being triggered, what will this mean for UK Nationals wishing to retire to Spain? And Brits looking to move to Spain to live and work ?
The short answer is; we probably won’t see much change at all.
Whilst there is some uncertainty, it has been blown out of proportion by “Project Fear” and doesn’t take into account Spain’s proven ability to welcome non-eu residents and workers. Once article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is triggered, we expect both countries to move quickly to resolve matters . Even before Brexit the indications of reaching a new agreement have been intimated by both sides.
Spain’s Jorge Toledo, Madrid’s chief negotiator over Brexit, told The Times of London: “We are broadly in favour of retaining a reciprocal agreement on questions like healthcare and freedom of movement.”
He went on to clarify Spain’s position further:
“As regards the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the rights of UK citizens in the EU, Spain is in favour of the amplest respect of these rights in the future.”
Why there is little cause for concern for those wishing to make Spain their home.
The UK joined what was then common market in 1973 and Spain joined the EU in 1986 and have enjoyed excellent relations ever since. As a member of the EU the right to live and work in another member state is guaranteed under EU law. Once the UK leaves, then what ? Well, Spain and the UK have a long standing relationship based on mutual cooperation and understanding, and it’s anticpated that both countries will continue as before. It’s in the mutual interest of both countries to work together for their benefit of their citizens.
There are now over 100,000 Spaniards living and working in the UK and of course Spain is the number one choice for British nationals who wish to live and work in the Sun. With an estimated 350,000 UK nationals residing in Spain, British pensioners bring a lot of money into the Spanish economy. Spanish workers provide valuable skills to the UK economy and there is a scarcity of jobs in Spain. It is in the interest of both nations to maintain the status quo.
Spain is home to many non-EU nationals including Europeans from Iceland, Switzerland and Norway. It’s also home non many non Europeans from countries all over the globe. In fact the South Costa Blanca has residents of over 100 different nationalities (Census 2014: Source: National Institute of Statistics). So as far as choosing were to live in the sun, Spain is expected to remain at the top of the list for British nationals.
The Spanish economy depends heavily on British tourism and property buyers, it’s hard to envisage a scenario where they would want this to change.