Before Brexit, British nationals, like the rest of the EU., could come and go as they pleased. However, since Brexit, they must now fill in immigration forms, including why they want to relocate to Spain.
In 2022, 10,158 people were given their first residency permit, allowing them to live legally in Spain.
Eurostat, the EU data agency, has published recent research results, including how many Brits moved to Spain in 2022 and their purpose for doing so.
There are four categories to consider.
People may come to study, work, join family members or similar, or “other”. Other includes those who retire to Spain and have no plans to work or study.
The largest group of those who chose to relocate to Spain in 2022 cited ‘other reasons’, with a total of 4,400. This implies that many British citizens still want to move to Spain for their retirement or to enjoy an extended stay without working, possibly through Spain’s non-lucrative visa.
Based on the data, the second-biggest group of British are relocating to reunite with their loved ones already living there. This trend shows that family ties and relationships are integral in enticing the British to move to Spain.
The third-largest group came to study. According to the data, 1,811 Brits came to Spain on academic grounds in 2022.
Students can take varied courses such as language classes, degrees, and professional courses. Due to Brexit, studying in Spain has become more difficult for British students. However, Spain and the UK have been cooperating to simplify the situation.
In June 2023, the British and Spanish governments reached an agreement to make it easier for UK students to study at Spanish universities. Basically, the deal grants them the same access rights as when the UK was part of the EU.
The deal also applies to the over 70,000 students who attend about 80 British schools in Spain. As a result, more British students may decide to study in Spain in 2023 and beyond.
The smallest category was the 955 British people who came to work in Spain. This is unsurprising, as Spain is difficult country to start a business or find work.
Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU, currently at around 11.6 percent.
A non-EU national must often apply for a position on Spain’s “shortage occupation list” to be considered for work. However, most of these positions are in the maritime and shipping industries, so options are limited.
For other jobs, employers also must declare that there were no suitable Spanish or EU candidates available, which in many cases is highly unlikely.
However, since the beginning of 2023, it has been easier for self-employed Brits or remote workers to move to Spain, thanks to the new Digital Nomad Visa. This means that freelancers or remote workers who earn over a certain amount and have worked for the same employer for more than three months will likely obtain a visa to work in Spain.
Retirees still make up the largest group of people moving to Spain, comparable to before Brexit.
The 2020 and 2021 Eurostat data is likely affected by Covid-19 and travel restrictions. Therefore, the 2022 data gives the first detailed look at why the British relocated.