Leave-voting expats have sparked ridicule by complaining about being subject to EUrules for non-members for the first time.
According to a BBC Europe report,Spain’s “Costa Brits” are currently grappling with the consequences of leaving the EU, such as having to apply for Spanish driving licences or having to show proof of earnings to settle in the country.
Those with Spanish holiday homes are finding the rules particularly tough: before Brexit they could spend a limitless amount of time in the country, but now they may only stay for a maximum of three out of every six months.
The end of free movement cuts both ways. The UK government proudly ending free movement for EU 'migrants' also affe… https://t.co/u3x489cQwY
— Paul James Cardwell (@Paul James Cardwell)
It’s important to note that not all of Spain’s 360,000 British expats voted Leave and that the political allegiances of the BBC’s interviewees are not known.
But some of those who did support Brexit have publicly acknowledged their regret, admitting that they “shot themselves in the foot” over freedom of movement.
One consequence of the rules change highlighted by the BBC’s report – that was unlikely to have been intended by Brexit’s primarily pension-aged voters – is that Britain’s expat population is rapidly getting younger.
Because of rules surrounding proof of income, younger, working-age people with a disposable income are reportedly more likely to qualify for the move abroad. Meanwhile, existent expats who lack Spanish speaking skills are finding the new system tricky to navigate and in some cases are packing up and moving home.
While the UK voted to leave the EU four years ago, the long-term effects of Brexit are only just beginning to become clear. And unsurprisingly, they’re not all exactly what its supporters had in mind when they cast their votes, whether they live abroad or at home.