Retired British expats ‘abandon Spain in droves’

·2-min read
Spain's Costa del Sol
Spain's Costa del Sol

Retired British expats have been leaving Spain “in droves” because of Brexit, including holiday hotspot Costa del Sol.

Travel experts have seen a decline due to more immigration rules introduced after the UK left the European Union.

Robert Barnhardt, who runs an estate agency in Fuengirola, said many retired Britons have put their villas and apartments on the market to sell up in Spain.

Watch: Is a UK state pension enough to survive on in retirement?

UK citizens can only visit Spain without a visa for up to 90 days for tourism and businesses purposes.

But next year, they will need a visa waiver to enter Spain.

Under the new rules, Britons can still visit the sunny hotspot without a visa.

However, they will need to possess a valid ETIAS visa waiver before their arrival.

Mr Barnhardt said many pensioners used to love spending six months of the year in Spain.

But now he said this is impossible under the new rules.

He told The Daily Express: “But now they can only come for 90 days and also a lot of them used to drive down.

“The Spanish are now getting pretty strict on foreign plated cars and mainly British cars.”

From September 28, the RAC said vehicles registered in the UK must show the letters “UK” on a sticker regardless of what is on the number plate when driving in Spain.

Mr Barnhardt also noted healthcare costs have impacted people’s decision to leave Spain.

He added: “A lot of elderly people are choosing to go. Sometimes because of healthcare, or their health coverage.”

As of 2020, there were over 360,000 UK residents living in Spain. 

Mainly British expats lived happily in Alicante, Malaga and the Balearic Islands.

Watch: Sunak warned his career was over if he backed Brexit

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