PENSIONERS trying to settle into retirement are facing a rush to move to European countries like Spain and Portugal before Brexit negotiations are concluded.
Hundreds of recent retirees are upping sticks and moving their whole lives abroad, in a rush to settle on the continent over fears Brexit could make their dreams more difficult in the future.
Blevins Franks, a company that supports those moving to Spain, revealed that the number of monthly inquiries to its website had doubled in the last year. There were 900 inquiries on its website in 2017, up from 450 the previous year and the business has grown by almost 25% overall.
Over 65s make up a third of UK expats in Malta, Cyprus and Portugal, while in France, the figures were 148,800. It is likely that this number will swell even more in future months after experts said it was unlikely that any post-Brexit deal would allow Britons to continue to move abroad as easily they can now.
John Springford, a migration expert, said: “The golden age of British retirees heading to the Costas is probably over.” He added: “The thing about retirees is they are expensive. There is no way Spain would allow lots of Brits to retire there and use their health system unless young Spanish people could come and work in the UK. Ultimately, if we don’t have free movement it is very unlikely we would have retirement rights.”
Spectrum IFA group, which advises British expats in Spain, said 20% of their clients living abroad were trying to obtain Spanish or Irish passports in a bid to support their move – or allow them to remain after Brexit is concluded.
The comments come after it was revealed a million Brits living in the EU are scrambling to get citizenship in their new countries before Brexit.
There are already estimated to be almost 300,000 UK citizens living in Spain as of 2016, many of them below retirement age and living in the country with young families. In recent decades the demographic of British expats has changed considerably and now moving abroad is something more UK families are keen to commit to.
Unfortunately, with so much speculation concerning Brexit negotiations and what the outcome will be for both expats in the EU and EU nationals working and living in the UK. Public opinion in the UK is as divided on the issue as it was during the referendum, with many despairing of acceptable divorce terms being negotiated.
In the face of scant information and seemingly stagnant negotiations, it is unlikely that British expats abroad will know what the future lies for them for quite some time.