Many of the 300,000 British expats living in Spain are considering to move back to the UK amid Brexit concerns, says independent financial adviser deVere Group.
The message emerges as UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces two weeks period to try to sell her Brexit deal to the UK Parliament amid a challenging environment in which 89 MPs have publicly stated they will vote against May’s final deal, according to the Guardian.
Although there are still more British expats in Spain than any other part of Europe, according to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), the number of British residents in Spain has dropped by 157,107, over the past five years and could continue dropping according to observers.
These figures only represent those who have officially registered with the authorities as other sources like the BBC estimated that 760,000 Britons live in Spain.
James Green, deVere Group’s divisional manager of Western Europe, comments: “As Brexit fears, uncertainty and doubt begin to bite deeper, a growing number of British expats in Spain are reluctantly considering moving back to the UK.
“The ‘pull factors’ that attracted them to Spain in the first place – such as the more relaxed, family-orientated, more outdoors lifestyle, the weather, great schools, and work opportunities – remain intact.
“As do the ‘push factors – such as UK’s cost of living, high taxes, low interest rates, the scrapping of some age-related benefits, quality of life, crime concerns and the weather – that encouraged them to relocate.
“This is why it’s so sad. Brexit concerns are potentially forcing them to give up their dreams of living in Spain.”
He continues: “It’s our experience that most of those who are reluctantly considering such a drastic step are flagging up fears about further devaluations of the pound.
“Of the 300,000 UK nationals officially living in Spain, almost half are over 65. A further drop in the pound – which has received a monumental bloody nose since the Brexit vote – would be a serious issue for those who receive UK pensions or income in pounds as the cost of living would be considerably more expensive.
“Then there’s the risk that existing payments from British companies, including pension and insurance companies, to those living within the European Economic Area (EEA) could be disrupted. Of course, this would be a major inconvenience to many UK expats.
“In addition, they are highlighting worries about healthcare and residency rights, potential increases in flight costs, and issues about loved ones being easily and cheaply able to visit.”
In a warning to UK expats, he continues: “I would suggest that people consider all the options available to them in the first instance, such as the bona fide solutions which offer tax efficiency, peace of mind, and low administration issues.
“In recent months, many expats who were seriously contemplating a move back to the UK have been able to successfully restructure their financial planning to, in fact, capitalise on their expat status to take advantage of the tax privileges and investor protection legislation which exists.”