Brexit: Estate agent discusses 'strict' rule for expats
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Under old EU rules, Britons were able to stay in Spain for as long as they wanted but Brexit has meant many are choosing to get rid of their Spanish properties as new required visas and limited visits are “not worth it”. An estate agent in the European country explained she now feels uncomfortable living there as she does not know if she will be stable enough to continue staying. A teaching director and father also revealed educational difficulties they have had to face post-Brexit while they live in Spain.
Speaking to World in One News (WION), estate agent Henny Illingworth said: “Previously as an EU citizen in Spain, I had the right to be here and now I just have permission to stay.
“And it does feel a big difference and it feels like there’s been a huge amount of uncertainty and misinformation over the last few years and it leaves us feeling am I safe, am I stable here and it is not a very nice feeling to live with.
“Many are simply selling off their properties, we actually have some properties up for sale which were previously known as British swallows.
“They would come over for a few months of the year and some of those people then rent out their properties for business during the summer, some of them leave them empty.
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“But now, British citizens are going to have to follow this strict 90/180 day rule which before they could come over for four or five months and some people are selling up because it’s just not worth it for them.”
Under the rules of the Schengen Zone, third countries like the UK can only visit Spain for a maximum 90 days every 180 days.
Breaking the rules mean fines, deportation or travel bans.
Between 800,000-1,000,000 Brits own property in Spain with 17 million visiting each year.
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There is also concern that COVID-19 may still continue to slow down international travel, especially if Europe’s vaccination efforts continue to fall behind.
Later on in the programme, Kirsty Ridyard, Director of Phoenix College Malaga, explained she now struggles to get teaching supplies.
She said: “Professionally, we cannot get the products that we need to teach like chemistry effectively in Spain because they’re sourced in Britain and they’re so expensive over there, now it’s going to be prohibitive.
“And personally, I just don’t know what’s going to happen with transport.
“It used to be like hopping on a bus, getting on a plane to go to London, and getting back for me and my family who are still there.
“But now we just don’t know, we don’t know if we’re going to need visas, or not.”
Father John Riley arrived in Spain 20 years ago and is concerned his son may not be able to study in a British university despite holding citizenship.
He said: “It’s more difficult for him to go to British University, even though he’s got a British passport and both his parents are British.
“And it seems to be, even though I’ve looked on the internet and I’ve gone on the YouGov website I can’t find information about this.
“And it seems to be from other sources that say that he will be classed as an international student.”
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