The Diputación, the provincial authority for Malaga, is to launch a public information campaign to encourage more of the foreign residents in the province, including the Costa del Sol, to join their local municipal 'padrón'.
The padrón, the town hall census of who is living in an area, is a legal requirement if people spend a lot of time in Spain and brings certain advantages. But many expatriates don't get around to going to their town hall to register.
The campaign will be aimed especially at British residents in the province, estimated to be more than 50,000 people, ahead of a possible exit from the European Union early next year.
The initiative was announced by Francisco Salado, president of the Diputación, after a meeting with the new British Ambassador, Hugh Elliott, and the Malaga-based British Consul for Andalucía, Charmaine Arbouin on Thursday.
Tourism and trade
As well as the effects of Brexit on UK residents, the meeting also addressed both the possible impact on the some three million Britons that visit the area every year on holiday and the effect on trade between the UK and Malaga province, estimated at some 200 million euros a year.
Salado highlighted the success of Marbella council's recent initiative to encourage foreign residents to 'empadronarse' and join the town hall census, (see page 2). He explained that the padrón is used by central government to calculate how much money it gives to a municipality to support basic services such as policing, waste collection and public transport. In addition, the sooner the register is joined, residents who might need support in the future can access more council social services.
Salado also highlighted in the meeting the "excellent relationship" between Spain and the UK. Hugh Elliott thanked the Diputación for the campaign, saying it was important for people "to have their paperwork in order" ahead of Brexit. The ambassador also added that he expected tourism from Britain to be largely unaffected after Brexit as visitors "are welcomed so well".