The new council census caused a shock this week with a big dip in the number of German and British residents. At a time when the island welcomes a record number of foreign tourists the number of foreign residents is falling. Now, I am not going to dismiss what are official figures but what I do believe, though, is that some foreign residents have simply disappeared on the island because of the latest crackdown by the tax authorities. The fact that foreign residents living legally on the island had to declare their worldwide assets to the Spanish tax authorities caused some concern. It led to a substantial number of expats moving away from the island but also there were those who simply asked for their names to be deleted from the census because they were either moving away or were no longer going to be full-time residents (allegedly).
There has always been a big difference between the number of foreign residents who were "in the system" and those who are not. In fact, it is estimated that one million Britons live in Spain but only 250,000 are officially registered. However, all this could change and very soon thanks to Brexit. All those Britons who are legally residing in the Balearics will have few problems when Britain leaves the European Union, but those who are not legal (and are not registered on the official census) could face a paperwork nightmare. The official view from both the Spanish and British government is that it is better to be legal. I believe that the number of British residents has declined, but it is not as big as the official figures suggest.
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