Uncertain what the future holds due to Brexit, some British citizens on the Costa del Sol have decided to forge closer links with their adoptive home.
After years of an apparent mass exodus (between 2013 and 2016 around 2,000 British residents came off the population register in Marbella), the number of those registered at the town hall (on the Padrón) has suddenly gone up. It may be only a small increase, of 48 people, but the council says it is important because this is the first time the number has risen in at least five years.
Foreign residents' associations in Marbella say Brexit is the reason many people have decided to take this step. At a meeting with British residents organised recently the British consul in Andalucía, Charmaine Arbouin, recommended that they apply for residency as soon as possible, and it is necessary to be on the 'padrón' as part of that process.
The council has also been carrying out information campaigns to encourage people to register, not least because the amount of funding from the Spanish government depends on the number of people officially registered as living in the town.
The local authority believes that around 100,000 people resident in the town are not on the population register, and of them 60 per cent are not Spanish. This week the mayor and some of the councillors went to meet British residents in Las Chapas as part of the latest campaign.
Last year Marbella's official population rose to just under 150,000, after a further 2,000 people added their names to the register. Of those, 1,887 were foreigners.
Although many residents left during the economic crisis, this is still the second largest foreign community in Marbella. The latest figures show that Moroccans top the list, with 5,075 registered at the town hall (up from 4,919 in 2017), followed by British (3,866, compared with 3,818 the previous year); Ukrainians at 2,632 (up from 2,522), Russians with 2,293 (previously 2,186) and Italians (1,952 compared with 1,886 in 2017).
These five nationalities, out of a total of 141, represent nearly 40 per cent of all foreign residents on the municipal population register in Marbella.