Spain: Expert explains ‘repercussions’ for British expats
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Collecting testimonies from Britons living across Spain who claim to have moved out of the UK because of Brexit, The Olive Press website headed one of its articles “Meet the Brexit refugees making a new life in Spain”. The shocking collection of interviews aimed at representing stories from Remainers who felt leaving the UK for sunny Spain was the only option to escape new Brexit Britain.
But some of them admit lack of employment and functioning services have made life a bit harder for them across the Channel.
Speaking to the Spanish expat newspaper, Sarah O’Neill – originally from London – said: “I was devastated by the 2016 result.
“I came back to the UK in August 2017, hoping to return to the charity/non-profit sector, but there was nothing.
“No one knew what was going to come with Brexit, and there was belt-tightening and freezing of employment everywhere.”
“I moved in May 2018 to get all my ducks in a row before the Brexit deadline.
“I learnt Spanish, obtained my residency and swapped by driving licence over.”
She added: “Before Brexit, I came and went as I pleased, and I had plenty of visitors from all over Europe.
“But then of course, Covid happened, and then the true outcome of a hard Brexit.”
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But she admitted: “I have often wondered if I’ve done the right thing. Life here is not easy, and the earnings are much less that the UK, employment is scarce, and the TEFL (Teaching English as a First Language) is particularly awful.
“We have sunshine, of course, but I do miss my friends and family.”
Cliff James, from Cambridge, also told the website he felt like leaving the EU was a “bereavement”.
He said: “The result was a huge shock, like a bereavement.
“Overnight it felt like the country had returned to the Dark Ages of ignorance and hatred.
“It was always clear that the basis of the debate was about racism and xenophobia, rather than economics or sovereignty.
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“All this nonsense about the colour of passports and ‘taking back control’ was just an excuse to retreat some feudal ideal of ye olde England, where power is concentrated in the hands of the political classes.”
Amelia, living in Granada with her mother, said she has “no regrets” about leaving the UK.
She said: “I have absolutely no regrets, I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
“I’ve got new friends, I enjoy my work.
“We all have fun, we all moan, and it does get stressful.
“Yes, hard work but I have never been happier.
“The quality of living is so different in Spain compared to the UK.
“I feel truly blessed to have found an amazing job and live in a beautiful country.”
The issue of the rights of UK expats living in EU27 states after Brexit has become a particularly hot potato after March 31, the deadline for applications to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme.
All such rights were meant to protect in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement which took Britain out of the EU at the end of 2019.
British expats living in Spain were detained earlier this year following allegations they submitted doctored proof of residency.
UK nationals who wish to keep living in Spain must prove they have are long-term residents.
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