The House of Commons during a stormy Brexit debate

The debating is over; what's done is done.

11-01-2021Jessica Taylor, UK parliament

The implications of the departure of the UK from the European Union for British residents in Spain were well-known before the end of the transition period. But now that the exit has become fully effective, Anne Hernández, president of the Brexpats in Spain association, says that British residents feel "forgotten" by the UK government.

She blames London for having put those who live abroad "out of its mind". Many, like herself, were unable to vote and decide their future. Now, they are overwhelmed by the consequences of the decisions of others.

It is a sense of abandonment which concerns residents most. There are those who feel deceived by British politicians, including those who - from the outset - were against leaving Europe.

Hernández, who has lived in Spain for over thirty years, points to there being British residents who now regret having voted in favour of Brexit. Some feel almost "hopeless"; they did not understand what would happen and it is not what they want. "But it's too late, as they believed the lies of politicians and voted to leave the EU."

Life has become more complicated. There are the procedures to ensure that UK citizens are legally resident, while everyday matters such as driving or going to the doctor are affected.

Brexit won't impact everyone equally, notes Hernández. Students and retired people are among the groups who will be most affected by the loss of EU status and of freedom of movement, something she describes as "horrible for the future".

The "swallows" are another group. Mostly pensioners, they have second homes in Spain where they have typically spent the winter months. Now, however, they can only stay in Spain for ninety days out of 180. Hernández believes that this will result in their selling their properties in Spain.

There is a sense of "not belonging to anything". The British who reside in Spain depend on a Spanish government which has always been very sensitive to their needs and has done what it can within the limitations of the situation. But the Spanish government is not their government, and so Hernández insists that it is London who should take care of them.


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Jon / Hace 11 months

I can’t believe they voted for leave when they are property owners in Europe, I’ve no sympathy at all what did they expect, I agree they were lied to but must have been pretty stupid to have not seen through it.


Lisa / Hace 11 months

It is completely incomprehensible that any Brit living in Spain, or indeed Europe, would have voted or even supported ‘leave’. They can’t blame a lack of information - it was pure stupidity. With perhaps a touch of arrogance? Did they not realise that they were themselves ‘immigrants’? Or were they hiding behind the expat label. Pathetic.


david wareing / Hace 11 months

strange spanish citizens living in uk seem very happy


Roberto / Hace 11 months

British people living in Spain, voted to leave! Ha, you couldn't make it up. No one cares if you live to regret it, but you've sold the younger generations right down the Rio Grande!


John / Hace 11 months

Anne Hernández mentions 'British residents who now regret having voted in favour of Brexit' - Any Briton living in Europe who voted for Brexit should return to the U.K. and stop whinging as they are obviously anti Europe. How dare they complain about the outcome; if they're looking for someone to blame, they should look closer to home. My only bugbear is that, having been living here for 26 years, I was ineligible to vote on something that would impact on my life.


Leo / Hace 11 months

Ludicrous. If I had been allowed to vote naturally I would have voted remain, as any sane UK resident in Spain would have. Or perhaps not, if this article is true. If so these people, who voted leave, only have themselves to blame. At least pensions will still be paid. What else are they moaning about? More admin. And to my mind the Spanish, notwithstanding the usual Administrative hoops we have to jump through, have done their best to accommodate us so far. Could be worse.


Paul / Hace 11 months

Isn't this a case of wanting cake and eating it? Whatever the rights and wrongs of Brexit, Ms Hernandez hasn't lived in Britain for over 30 years (and presumably hasn't paid taxes there either) yet still wants to enjoy the benefits of being British when it suits her and believes her circumstances are more important than that of those who actually live in the country she chose to leave


Yogi / Hace 11 months

I don’t feel deceived. It was clear to me from the outset about the lies and false promises the politicians made and the dismissing of any remain voices as peddling project fear etc, etc. Any “expats” who voted to leave the EU should at least do just that and leave Spain. The leave vote was won primarily on the anti-immigration agenda, so what do they think they are here? Oh yes, call yourself an expat and you can kid yourself that you’re not an immigrant! The hypocrisy and arrogance in equal measure is beyond belief. Plenty of dislikes I expect too.