Brexit: UK expat calls for changes to Spain's residency rules
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Benidorm offers the beloved triumvirate of sun, sea and sangria on the south coast of Spain. British expats who move there, unsurprisingly, sing the resort’s praises. But what is the enduring appeal of the Spanish town?
Express.co.uk spoke British expat Gareth Holt, 27, who is an estate agent in Benidorm.
He explained the resort has “always has been a popular place” for him and his family.
The relaxed way of life in Spain is a huge draw.
“The main factor you have is that Spain is a very chilled country,” said Gareth.
“It has the mañana (tomorrow) approach which suits many people including myself.
“As a business owner, I always work normal UK office hours but I take the approach of working when my clients need me.”
The weather is undeniably a major positive of life in Spain.
“The best thing about Benidorm is the sun,” Gareth explained.
“What more do you want than walking down the beach in the evening sipping on €1 wine?”
Expats in Spain haven’t necessarily had an easy ride of late.
With Brexit finalised back in January, visa rules have proven an obstacle to some.
According to figures published by Spain’s Permanent Immigration Observatory at the end of last year, 381,448 UK nationals live in Spain.
Thousands have been at risk of deportation with the Spanish authorities poised to enforce post-Brexit visa rules.
In accordance with the 2019 Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Britons living in Europe were offered the chance to register to maintain their residence and rights to continue living in the bloc – but many have not done so.
Gareth has been fortunate enough to swerve any issues but he has friends who have suffered.
“I am very lucky,” he said. “I started my business just before the pandemic in 2020 and have just thrown myself out there and created a good name for myself.
“Unfortunately, many friends and close people me have had to up and leave due to the ridiculous rules that are being set.
“This unfortunately is due to Brexit and I do not think COVID-19 has helped.
“There has been no leeway from the British government or even any extensions from the Spanish authorities.
“The rules change every so often and this is not fair for those who have been here for such a long time.
“However, it goes without saying, we have been aware of Brexit for some time so ex-pats should have acted sooner.”
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