DESPITE the wealth of information and reassurances from official sources, a major survey of expatriate Britons living in Spain has concluded that many are “confused and fearful to a shocking extent”. Karen O’Reilly, a university sociology professor in the UK conducted the research as part of an 18 month BrExpats Programme at London’s Goldsmith University. She said that the make-up of British living in Spain is more complicated than just retirees living off pensions as younger generations have taken advantage of freedom of movement to set up a new life here.
“Many Britons living in Spain have quite complex lives,” said Ms O’Reilly. “Some have relatives with serious medical conditions in the UK and are worried about whether they will be able to come and live with them if necessary, in the future. Others may spend only part of the year in Spain and are really concerned about the implications of that – which are indeed quite considerable. Some have children who would like to study outside Spain but aren’t sure whether they’ll be allowed to.” She adds that many are afraid to register in Spain and are concerned they will be forced to return if they don’t meet requirements such as minimum income. The concerns of British living in the EU have been largely overlooked in negotiations by both sides, said Ms O’Reilly.