The possibility of Brexit is causing concerns among British residents living in Spain, especially with regard to continuing health cover and labour mobility.
According to national figures as of 1 January this year, there are 253,928 Britons registered in Spain, the majority in Mediterranean areas. The Alicante province is the most populous. Over 70,000 Britons are registered as living in places such as Benidorm and Torrevieja.
In Malaga there are 50,530 Britons, way ahead of the 16,126 in the Balearics. Other numbers include 15,060 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 14,344 in Almeria, 13.696 in Murcia and 12,473 in Barcelona.
The health care issue is one that concerns the over-60s predominantly, with younger Britons more anxious about the labour market.
Carol New, a 47-year-old teacher, says that Britons living in Spain don't know who to believe because the leave and remain camps throw out totally contradictory messages. She plans on moving to Romania in the next few months, but the unknowns of Brexit could upset this plan.
Gary Burr, 59, who has lived in La Nucía near Benidorm for fourteen years, says that people don't know what will happen if there is a leave result. "The main concern for us is with medical cover. We are worried as many think that this will be affected, albeit no one has been able to say clearly whether it will be." He adds that Brexit has been a topic of conversation for weeks among fellow Britons who do not want the disadvantages that could follow a vote to leave.
Joanne Gault, a 36-year-old Scottish woman who teaches in Elche, believes that Brexit would be a catastrophe, if it means costing money to see a doctor. Alvin Jenkins, 69, living in Finestrat, which is also near to Benidorm, says that he considers himself a European and wants to remain one. He adds that most people living there need health cover.
Although the majority view is to remain in the European Union, there are those who are in the leave camp. Carina Nicholson, 24, has lived in Santa Pola since last summer and will be voting to leave because she wants decision-making powers to be returned to London from Brussels. Her mother is exercising a proxy vote on her behalf.
British citizens who have registered to vote can do so with a postal vote or by proxy. A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Madrid says that since 27 May institutional information regarding the referendum has been restricted. Prior to that date there had been more than 100,000 visits by computers users in Spain looking to get hold of a vote in the referendum.
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