British expats are said to be leaving Spain “in droves”, with numerous retirees abandoning the popular area of Costa del Sol as a result of Brexit.
Travel experts have noticed a decrease in the number of Brits in the country due to more stringent immigration rules brought in after the UK left the European Union.
Robert Barnhardt, a property expert who runs an estate agency in the seaside town of Fuengirola, said many retired people are now starting to sell their properties.
Due to Brexit, UK citizens can only visit Spain without a visa for up to three months for tourism and businesses purposes.
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However, from 2022 British nationals will need a visa waiver to enter Spain, according to rules outlined on the Spanish government website.
The new rules will mean that Brits can still visit the country without a visa but will need to hold a valid ETIAS visa waiver before arriving.
He explained: “A lot of retired British people are starting to sell up. They used to come down here in September or October and then stay until April/May for the six months of better weather.
“But now they can only come for 90 days and also a lot of them used to drive down. The Spanish are now getting pretty strict on foreign plated cars and mainly British cars.”
According to RAC advice for driving in Spain, from September 28 vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters “UK” when driven in Spain.
The sticker must be visible no matter what is on your number plate.
Mr Barnhardt said healthcare costs after Brexit are also influencing people’s decision to leave Spain, as he said: “A lot of elderly people are choosing to go. Sometimes because of healthcare, or their health coverage.”
Europa Press via Getty Images)
As of 2020, there were over 360,000 UK residents living in Spain, The Local reports.
Alicante, Malaga and the Balearic Islands hold the highest number of British residents in the country.
Earlier this year, The Mirror spoke to two Brits, and an EU citizen married to one, who say Brexit has left their retirement plans in tatters.
The fuming 72-year-old pensioner, who asked to be anonymous, said despite living in Spain with his Russian partner and their children for two decades they face being separated under the country’s new rules.
He told The Mirror: “We have really been screwed over. I have worked here for years and so has my partner who is still working.
“She enjoys all the liberties of the United Kingdom legally and we own a home in Spain where she also enjoys all the liberties as she has an EU passport.
“We spend four to six months a year in our home in Spain but now I have been discriminated against and must leave after 90 days and leave her there for as long as she so wishes.”
A hard-working Brit who owns a villa in Alicante she and her husband had hoped to spend half of every year in the property during their looming retirement.
But Marilyn Smyth, from Epping Forest, says their dreams have been all but ruined by Brexit.