There is a growing concern among British citizens who have a legal link to Spain, and especially with the Mediterranean coast, whether they are residents, with businesses, working for others or retired. Also those who are non-residents but owners of properties they use during holiday periods, rent them out as a business or simply to booster their income. The concern affects all of them. And us as well.
The recent news about the resignation of Theresa May on June 7th, triggered an internal struggle within the Conservative Party and even more instability, to which is now added the result of the last elections to the European Parliament where the Brexit Party, founded by the ultranationalist Nigel Farage, has been the winner of the European elections in the United Kingdom. This brought about an important citizen mobilization of the supporters of abandoning Europe, turning these elections into the vehicle of protest of the most anti-European electorate. These mobilisation have also generated an important movement on the other extreme, in the defenders of the United Kingdom’s permanence in the EU who have abandoned the two major parties in order to give their support to those formations that have clearly expressed their rejection of Brexit. Therefore, the second big winner of the night, after the formation of Farage, was the Liberal Democrat Party, with 21. 1% of the votes, who defend the idea of the cititzens voting again in a new referendum.
That being the case, and without entering into political debates which do not fall within our competence, it seems that uncertainty and concern are growing. We find that for the first time in our many years of advising British citizens, that finding answers to their question of what is going to happen and what is our opinión is difficult, and needless to say, we must tell them that we do not have an answer.
The only thing we can do is to make a small analysis of the possible scenarios and this, at the risk of making a mistake, given that day by day it seems that the scenario and the characters change.
There are different situations within the framework of our legislation, in the event of a Brexit with or without an agreement with the European Union. If there is an agreement, there would be a period that in principle, is foreseen until the 31stof December 2020, during which European legislation will continue to apply in the United Kingdom in relation to the internal market, customs union and EU policies, whereas if there is no agreement, the United Kingdom would then become a third country with the consequences and problems of free movement of goods, people and economic operations. As an example, we can say that operations with merchadise would cease to be intra-community, being considered as exports or imports, generating complicated customs obligations and legal procedures.
What would happen to British citizens residing in Spain? Spain has almost 300,000 British citizen residing here who will be considered non-EU nationals and, as such, will need a new residence card and work permit.
The Brexit Agreement foresees that, those British nationals with documented residence in Spain prior to 29thof March, will have a transitional period allowing them to apply for a new residence card and work permit if necessary. They would also have to address the recommendations of the European Commission on the possibility of granting special temporary residence permits until obtaining permanent residency and work permit.
The Spanish Government approved a Contingency Plan to guarantee the rights of British residents in the event of non agreement scenario so that they can remain in Spain. These would included special consideration for British residents who have had their residence permit for more than five years, and other special measures.
However, the Contingency Plan drawn up by the Spanish Government is intended to guarantee the rights of British workers and mitigate a large part of the possible adverse effects that a non-negotiated Brexit from the EU would have on the rights of British workers in Spain.
However, when it comes to relations between Spain and the United Kingdom, especially those regarding the territory of our Mediterranean coast, especially the Costa Blanca, one perceives the uncertainty and the penalty of a “divorce” forced upon two countries which have long enjoyed the advantages of a outstanding relationship and are now forced to ruptura these ties. We will have to wait for legal and economic agreements to know how all this affects us.
These elections have been held within the “marriage” and we will now be waiting to see how this long “film ends”. We will continue to be here to help all those British citizens who require our assistance. We are always at your disposal.