Spain to deport thousands of Brits under post-Brexit rules
- Spain expected to deport 500 British expats within weeks
- Hundreds of British expats are returning to the UK to avoid being fined under new post-Brexit rules
- European countries lift travel restrictions for the summer and welcome British tourists
- British pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate trading near yearly-highs
According to the latest reports, Spain could deport thousands of British expats who fail to provide valid residency paperwork to police and immigration authorities.
Approximately 500 British expats are expected to be “kicked out” of the country within the next few weeks after police and immigration officials confirmed that several UK nationals had been earmarked to be collected from their Spanish homes and sent back to the UK.
Before now, Spanish authorities had largely ignored British citizens residing in the country without the correct documentation, but under the new post-Brexit rules and regulations which came into Force in January, anyone without residential status will have to depart Spain by March-end or risk legal sanctions.
Britons have until March 31st to register for residency, after which any British expat that has taken up residence in Spain without the appropriate paperwork will be classified as an illegal immigrant once their 90-day legal stay concludes.
Although hundreds of Brits have filed for residency, thousands were unaware that their legal rights would change after the Brexit transition period and are now exposed and unprotected.
Brits unaware of post-Brexit changes left in the lurch
According to post-Brexit rules, any Briton living in Spain or another EU country must prove that they legally resided in that country before December 31st 2020.
Without a residency permit, UK nationals living in the euro area will have the same rights as non-EU nationals, meaning they can only visit countries within the Schengen zone for 90 days within any 180 days.
With Europe now witnessing a third COVID wave and the March deadline passing, thousands of Brits are at risk of being trapped on the continent due to strict travel restrictions.
British expats could also be denied healthcare and other rights after March 31st, and with cases surging across the bloc, this could have a potentially devastating impact on health.
“Brexit has negatively altered many lives, and as the Withdrawal Agreement wasn’t properly thought through, the consequences have been catastrophic,” says Moira Carmenate, founder and entrepreneur of the Expat Centre Europe.
Moira Carmenate told the Olive Press, “after four years of soundbites and false promises from the British government, vulnerable Brits have been left to pick up the pieces right throughout Europe, not just Spain.”
Ms Carmenate noted that the elderly generation has been particularly disadvantaged. Many were unable to prepare for post-Brexit rules due to not having access to social media or trustworthy news sources.
Furthermore, several Britons have said that they have had their residency applications rejected by law officials and have been left with no other option but to return to the UK.
Anthony Cook, who has lived in Spain for seven years, told Global247news that his families “Spanish dream is over as new Brexit regulations have made it impossible to stay.”
Mr Cook said that without freedom of movement, the risks of getting deported and fined are far too significant to stay in the country.
The coronavirus pandemic is causing further frustration and pressure as British expats attempting to return home before the March 31st deadline face delays due to ongoing travel restrictions.
Brits living on the continent also fear that staying in the EU could hinder their chances of being vaccinated amid signs that political point-scoring is becoming more important than protecting people against the coronavirus.
British expats living in Europe envy the UK’s vaccine success
More than a million UK-born citizens live in European countries, many of whom are anxious about when they will receive their COVID-19 vaccines due to the bloc’s laggard vaccination programme.
According to official data, 30,151,287 people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID vaccine – just shy of 60% of the adult population, compared to the EU, which has bared vaccinated 10% of all adults across the bloc.
Many British expats have said they are “green with envy” over vaccine success in the UK, and many of the most vulnerable are still awaiting calls from doctors to visit the local surgery and receive their jab.
One French doctor made a worrisome announcement over the weekend, stating that they can only deliver ten doses a week to the most vulnerable people.
Yet, despite the disastrous vaccine rollout, several European countries, including Spain, Greece and Turkey, have said their borders will be open to Brits before the summer.
Some EU member states are also encouraging Britons to purchase second homes in 2021, insisting that they should not let Brexit or COVID-19 shatter their dreams to own a holiday home.
Should I purchase a second home in the EU in 2021?
CEO and partner at Sun Lawyers, Jose Maria Lomax, notes that investors and buyers could negotiate excellent borrowing deals on Spanish property in 2021 due to reduced demand and low housing prices.
While Spanish lawyers are advising Britons to stay up-to-date with Brexit information, purchasing property in Spain is essentially the same under post-Brexit rules, except for increased tax costs.
Mr Lomax notes that the British pound (GBP) is also more appealing than the euro (EUR) at the moment, meaning Brits could get more value for their money if they decided to purchase property now.
He expects the Spanish property market to recover in the second half of 2021, which would make it more difficult for Brits to negotiate on housing prices.
British pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate jumps above EUR 1.17
The British pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate is trading 0.4% higher on the first day of the new trading week at EUR 1.1754 – a fresh one-year high.
GBP/EUR could also extend gains over the coming days as UK-EU economic divergence should open the door to further advances in the currency pair.
Last week’s nerves stemming from the EU’s threats to block vaccine exports to the UK exerted downward pressure on pound Sterling (GBP) exchange rates.
However, the UK currency recovered against the euro (EUR) and a host of other currencies ahead of the weekend after European leaders rowed back on plans to withhold vaccines.
Pound Sterling (GBP) is trading higher against all of its G10 rivals at the time of writing. Moreover, with new lockdown restrictions and extensions being announced for leading European economies whilst the UK prepares to lift ease COVID-19 measures, GBP/EUR could gain.
The EU’s laggard vaccination campaign has also widened the gap between the UK and Eurozone’s recovery outlook.
Suppose the coronavirus situation in the EU continues to deteriorate and Eurozone’s vaccine rollout fails to improve. Petr Krpata, chief EMEA strategist for currencies and bonds at ING, says then “we could see GBP/EUR hit EUR 1.1764” – which at this point, looks highly likely.
Although stronger-than-expected Eurozone economic data could offer the single currency some support, given that the UK economy is poised to make a robust economic recovery, this will likely have little impact on the British pound to euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate.