The British government will demand that all new immigrant workers to Britain speak English as part of its new immigration points system which will be introduced from next year.

Obviously, this will include workers from the European Union. Whatever Britain does could mean that the European Union will follow and will Spain demand that all British workers moving to Spain speak Spanish? British expats are not famous for their language skills and I always think that it is one of the delights of this island that people can live and work here with limited or no Spanish.

My parents spent 35 years here and couldn’t speak a word! But obviously times have changed and these days a level of Spanish is needed if you are going to work on the island. But would Spain really demand that all new British people moving to the island should speak Spanish? I doubt it but it could happen. I think the British government has to be slightly careful when it introduces or plans new legislation; it must remember that it could have a direct impact on thousands of British people who are living or who are planning to live on mainland Europe.

I have been told, though, that even attitudes on Majorca are changing. One British woman was told in no uncertain terms by a local doctor that she should speak Spanish. Other people have told me of similar experiences. My view; I think expats should speak Spanish because it improves their quality of life.


To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

S.O. / Hace about 1 year

@Richard: Comparing pre-1975 with 2020 is rather like comparing pears with apples (Spanish saying). Back in Franco's time British migrants to Spain were far fewer and most spoke fairly decent Spanish. That together with their native English made them a great asset to businesses in Spain since few Spaniards spoke or wrote good English, French being the first foreign language taught in schools. It was therefore very easy to find work if you spoke English and thus work and residence permits were quite easily granted. Rules did however start to tighten up before Spain joined the EU in 1986 and work permits were sometimes refused.

The situation today is completely different. Far more Spaniards are fluent in English so British workers are no longer as 'necessary' meaning that once out of the EU and no longer entitled to freedom of movement they will find it less easy to obtain the necessary work permits.


Richard / Hace about 1 year

Will someone please explain to me what people, and more to the point, British citizens did before the EU, not to mention the EEC, ever existed. As far as I know even Franco’s fascist Spain was not only welcoming but even made things easy for people wishing to live there.


Bert / Hace about 1 year

Mr Little, I know several North American citizens, not to mention others from the British Commonwealth who have been living here for many years and don’t seem to be that worried. Yes, they have to fill out a few forms every so often, but as they are law abiding citizens, they do as Jason suggests which is to keep calm and carry on.


John Little / Hace about 1 year

Jason, when will you accept the British government does not give a monkeys about Brits living overseas, in the EU or not. If they did we would have had the vote years ago. The time is swiftly coming when a choice will have to be made, to keep the soon to be blue again British passport or take the nationality of the country many of us have spent many years living and working in. Another consequence and casualty of Brexit.


Brett Dennis / Hace about 1 year

I have experienced it differently........working with mainly English speaking clients, I try to practise my Spanish on the locals, who seem to be better than ever at speaking English and delight in practising it on me. They love being told how good their English is, especially the younger Spaniards. Most do appreciate ones attempts to converse in their own language, but I have very rarely come across locals demanding you speak Spanish.


S.O. / Hace about 1 year

With all due respects to your parents Jason but how on earth someone could possibly ‘live’ in Spain for 35 years without speaking a word of Spanish beats me. That’s half a lifetime! And you even sound proud of the fact! One of the pleasures of moving to another country is surely learning the language properly. How can it be a “delight” not to understand the local people?