Everyone who has been to visit us in the last year has asked the same question in one or more ways, "What has happened to the Brits coming here in the last year?" Americans ask it, the Dutch ask it and virtually everyone else asks us but most of all the Brits who visit us ask it because they can't understand the reason for the harm that has been imposed on their own island by the increasingly corrupt and incompetent UK government.
I suppose we get asked it because we are British and everyone is interested in how a country can be so so so stupid as to impose restrictions on its own citizens by leaving the most successful trading and cultural block in the World. The only question we get asked nearly as much is the Covid one of course, "How are things with Covid in Valencia?"
The assumption that everyone has is that Brits have stopped buying property in Spain and those here have fled and returned to the mother country to put up with the Semi-Sentient Merengue currently running Plague Island. And as you know there is a saying about the word "Assume", it makes an ass out of you and me.
The assumption is wrong. Of course it's wrong.
Brits Already in Spain
Now anecdotally and in certain stats we hear of people leaving Spain in droves to return to Blighty because their life has been made so much more difficult here. At least in Valencia that's not true. Most Brits here were registered correctly, were working in places such as the international schools system and had no problems getting their TIE card and getting leave to remain as guaranteed by the rights given to them under Article 18 of the Withdrawal Agreement. Appointments were difficult to come by sometimes but most people managed to do everything in time.
However it is much more evident that on the Costas where many Brits were "living under the radar*" there were problems (*Translation = Living and working in Spain without being registered on the padrón and in the tax office and doing under the counter, cash in hand jobs. Basically illegal immigrants) There is no doubt that life has been made much more difficult for them as they weren't registered as being residents and therefore couldn't get their TIE cards before the cut off time. We could go into how they have skulked back to the UK with their GB sticker, right hand drive cars, that they had never re-registered as they should have done as residents, but we won't go there.
Those here have resigned themselves to being trapped in Mainland Europe, trapped in Spain actually as their right to live and work in other member States of the EU has been taken away from them. Of course, there are worse places to be trapped living and working. Many of them have now realised that they are in-demand workers too.
Many businesses that would previously contract workers from the UK, such as the aforementioned international schools, now find it difficult to get native, qualified teachers to fill for people departing through retirement, moving on or whatever other reason. The teachers already here with the right to work and no need for the employer to sponsor somebody from outside the EU27 to work here are finding out they are in demand.
Brits Looking to Retire to Spain
There are basically two categories here, those who have saved all their life and were preparing themselves to retire to the sun in their advancing years who currently own a house in the less expensive parts of the UK and then there are those who live in areas with higher house prices.
The former have mostly had their dreams dashed because they are only allowed to stay in mainland Europe EU countries for 90 days out of 180. That 5 month avoidance of the worst of the 9 month northern Europe winter ;-) is no longer possible for those who cannot pay for the Golden Visa through property investment (See below) and prices in many parts of the UK are not high enough for them to take out 500k from the property sale and invest it in Spain, the minimum amount for a Golden Visa to be given through property purchase.
We had so many clients who used to come to Valencia with anything between 100-300k to spend and they could set themselves up here with a lower cost of living, enjoying their UK pensions in the sun rather than in the greyness and bitter cold and drizzle of the UK. They had a free reciprocal healthcare agreement so they didn't have to pay for private healthcare and they could be sure about their place in Spain. Now they can only stay for 90 days out of 180, they need to pay for private health insurance and as non residents they need to pay non residents annual property tax, which isn't much but is more than they would have had to pay previously, nothing.
Brits Looking for the Non Lucrative Visa
For some of the previous group though what they do have is enough income to apply for the non lucrative visa meaning they don't have to work here (And don't get the right to work). They are sometimes retired and their dual income as a couple comes to over 2700 Euros per month so they are able to get the non-lucrative visa as long as they spend over 180 days here. They are required to have private health insurance of course but apart from that with the NLV they can live in Spain for 12 months a year and come and go and they please. You can find more information about the NLV in our previous post here but below you can see the requirements taken from that post.
Of course not all Brits applying for the non lucrative visa are retired or wanting to retire. Some people just have money coming in through investments, residual incomes, online sources or other means and they too apply for the NLV.
Brits Looking For The Golden Visa
Brits who previously may have spend between 300-500k are now often spending over 500k to assure themselves of getting the Spanish Golden Visa allowing them to live in Spain without having to go through the process of the NLV and with the added advantage of being able to work here of course. This is easier for those selling a property in the South East of Enlgand of course where property values have rocketed in the last twenty years so often they are sitting on a small fortune. As a Golden Visa holder they also have no obligation to be here for more than 180 days a year, in fact they can stay for as little as one day but they retain the right to live here as long as they maintain the investment in property. You can read more we have written about the Golden Visa on these pages
As we have said before many people who get the Golden Visa buy more than one property, they get one place for themselves to live and buy one or two rental properties to create an extra income. However many British people have opted to spend over 500k this year in Valencia which is giving them some excellent properties in the best parts of the city or the most popular suburbs such as L'Eliana, Betera and Rocafort. You can see out Golden Visa Property of the Week below. In most of our articles this year we have published a Golden Visa Property of the Week for this flow of people looking to move to Valencia.
It's a sad fact that many Brits are still unaware about the restrictions that their populist government has placed on their movements and ability to live and work in Europe.
Being trapped on Plague Island can't be a nice thing.
We consistently receive a stream of CVs and requests to work with us here in Valencia from people currently in the UK who are sick of the place. People, you cannot work in the EU now if the employer can find somebody equally qualified from the EU27. It's a sad fact but it's a fact. The UK government took away that option for their futures.
The next deluded group are those who don't know they cannot just move here any more and stay for more than 90 days.
Only last week we received a mail asking us to find them a place to buy for under 100k where they could retire to. When I asked about their income for the possibility of the Non-Lucrative visa, I was told that between them it came to around 500 Euros per week, not enough to get the visa of course. They have the 100k to spend but want to live here permanently. They can't. Simples.
In this case I call them deluded because they told me they would find an agent who would let them do it, as if I were the only thing obstructing their ability to purchase and live here. If only... if only.
What Are The TIE Holders Doing?
Those who were here before the withdrawal agreement had to get their TIE card. Many of them are now progressing with getting Spanish citizenship and nationality.
Those who are eleigible are looking to get their EU passport through family ties to other countries still within the EU. I know so many people giving thanks for that one Irish Grandparent and even people who have taken a Maltese, Cypriot, Italian or German passport as they are entitled to one. This has kept their rights within the EU and allowed them to avoid the problems that Brexit brought upon them.
The process of getting Spanish citizenship is long and arduous and not without cost and Spain doesn't accept dual nationality so it's a big step. One day I will update you as to how my application is going. It has been kicked into the long grass because of all of the paperwork required for five of us in the family but I need to get it restarted, we did the exams at least.
Golden Visa Property of the Week
Godella is a lovely little area near Rocafort on the outskirts of Valencia. This villa in Godella answers a lot of requirements for people.
Now Instagram would have young people believe that everybody wants a skinny, minimalist villa. A white box that looks like it could use a good meal. But as you get bit older, you realise that what is really attractive is something a bit fuller, with a few more curves here and there, something more natural.
Just like this villa on an urbanisation in Santa Barbara, Godella, on the edge of Valencia city.
I mean look at the wobbly-shaped swimming pool set in fully mature gardens, abundant growth all around. No bare sterile surfaces here!
The house curves out in front, bulging with four double rooms plus one single, a fully equipped independent kitchen with access to the terrace, a toilet and three bathrooms, one including a jacuzzi.
It's set over 2 floors and a semi-basement, and there is a very large garage with entrance at ground level - ok, now even that sounds suggestive and I was just copying the blurb from the agent. I'd better stop.
Have a look at the photos, if it looks like the kind of place you could go for, get in touch and we'll see if we can hook you up.
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If You Liked This...
Then take a look at the following. There is a lot more where this comes from. As we tweeted earlier this week, we have written almost 50 long form articles about Valencia, Valencia Property and more over the last year and the same numbers in previous years and you can find them in these pages Here are a few of the most recent ones. Just click on the images to be taken to the articles.