British consul urges UK nationals to be properly prepared for Brexit

  • Meetings are being held this month around Andalucía in conjunction with Brexpats and local town halls

This week has seen the start of a series of meetings at which the British consul in Andalucía, Charmaine Arbouin, aims to update UK nationals in Andalucía about Brexit and what it could mean for them.

In conjunction with the association Brexpats and local town halls, the consular team has organised meetings both on the Costa del Sol and the Costa de Almería over the coming weeks.

The main message from the consul is to urge British nationals to ensure they are properly prepared for Brexit by having all their paperwork in order.

"While the government continues to negotiate the EU exit, it is crucial that UK nationals ensure they are correctly registered as a resident here in Spain - that means both on the padrón at their local town hall and at the Oficina de Extranjeros or designated police station where they live," said Arbouin, prior to the first meeting which was held on Thursday in Marbella.

"There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Spain while the UK remains in the EU," stressed the consul. Residents remain concerned, however, about their situation after Britain has left the EU, especially if there is no deal.

Spain's prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, sent out a message of reassurance to British residents in Spain after the last cabinet meeting of the year in December.

"Their rights will be preserved whatever the scenario," he said, adding that work on a contingency plan to prepare for a no-deal Brexit was "advanced" and that the protection of citizens' rights and commercial relations were among the measures included. Sánchez promised a royal decree to this effect by the beginning of February.

The British consul said this week: "We are encouraged by the recent public comments of both Prime Minister Sanchez and Minister Borrell on the Spanish authorities' intention to protect the rights of UK nationals in Spain and look forward to further announcements providing more details in due course."

Meanwhile the consul has encouraged British residents to keep up to date via the Living in Spain guide on the UK government's website and follow Brits in Spain on social media.

"Our Living in Spain guide contains useful information on topics such as residency, healthcare and voting. We update this page as information changes," said Arbouin, who is available to answer questions from residents at the meetings.