Before Brexit, residents of the United Kingdom were free to live, work and begin a new life in Spain. Now that the UK has officially left the European Union, what does this mean for those wanting to start a new life in the sun?
What is Brexit?
On the 31st of January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew as a member state from the European Union after a referendum held in 2016. 51.9% of the votes in the referendum were in favour of leaving the European Union, mainly due to the concerns that free trade in Europe was not sufficient to compensate for the impact and costs of immigration.
What does Brexit mean for Britons living and/or working outside the UK?
After Brexit, British citizens lost EU citizenship and free movement rights, rights that had enabled them to visit, live, work or study in any EU Member State without a visa. Though the UK had relinquished these rights, Spain added the UK to the list of Visa-exempt countries which enables Britons to stay 90 days within a period of 180-days in the country.
Those who have been living in Spain lawfully for a minimum of five years can apply for an indefinite residency permit.
Why move to Spain?
Benefits of living and working in Spain.
Spain is an excellent country to live and work in and its appeal has attracted many ex-pat workers to pack up and start their lives anew. One of the major attractions for this influx of Britons is the weather, with over 320 days of sunshine a year, residents can enjoy lower energy costs in the winter season, more time to enjoy the outdoors and improved general well-being.
Another determining factor is the cost of living, which is on average 22.6% cheaper than in the United Kingdom. Rent is on average 33.3% cheaper than in the United Kingdom.
Last but not least, the high quality of living is one of the main draws of moving to Spain after Brexit. With great weather and lower living costs, it’s no wonder that Spain ranks as the European country with the best quality of living.
Discover all the reasons why moving to Spain after Brexit is becoming a popular option for foreign workers.
Moving to Spain after Brexit: Things Britons should consider
Britons moving to Spain after Brexit who have spent less than five years there before Brexit will need to continue to remain in Spain legally until they have fulfilled the full five years, at which time they can apply for an indefinite residency permit.
The same applies to Britons who are considering a move to Spain, after five years have elapsed, they will be entitled to a residency permit.
Britons who are moving to Spain after Brexit with no intention to work will need to apply for the “permiso de residencia no lucrativa” residency permit which entitles you to live in Spain without the right to work.
Working in Spain after Brexit: Things Britons should consider
If Britons want to work in Spain after Brexit they must apply for a residence card from the immigration office, before applying for a working visa. You must demonstrate that you have adequate health insurance, have no criminal record and have no serious illnesses.
You will then receive a visa valid for 3 months. If you have permission to work and do not register with the local social security office within three months of your arrival, you may be fined and lose your right to remain.
If you intend on moving to Spain and becoming self-employed in Spain, you will be asked to demonstrate that you can comply with the laws currently in force concerning your business activity and provide evidence of any qualifications that hold, as well as evidence of sufficient funds to invest in your business activity, as well as an indication of the number of employees you may hire, if any. The government will request evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself and invest in your activity.
Due to a surge in the number of remote workers in Spain post-Covid, the government has recently announced a Digital Nomad visa which may make it easier to live and work in Spain.
Under this new visa, workers outside the European Economic Area will be able to obtain a maximum of 20% of income from Spanish firms. They will need to demonstrate that they have been working remotely for a minimum period of a year and also possess a contract of employment, or if they are self-employed, must demonstrate that they have regular employment from a company outside of Spain that allows them to be financially self-sufficient.
The visa may entitle family members such as spouses and children to join the visa holder in Spain. The date when this new visa will be introduced has not been announced, the visa could be a game-changer for Britons who want to live and work in Spain. Despite Brexit, the dream of living and working in Spain is still accessible to Britons wishing to move to the country.