Between March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began in Spain, and November 2021, the number of foreigners who have registered at Marbella town hall has increased by 4,101, from 40,745 to 44, 846. This is an important figure and there are two reasons for it. One is the campaign about the Covid vaccine and the other is that more people are now working from home, says the head of the Foreigners Department, Remedios Bocanegra, when asked about how people in Marbella had responded during the health crisis.
She says the vaccine campaign was very positive. "There are a lot of foreigners here who don't have a residence permit or they have one but aren't covered by the public health service. They might have private health insurance that doesn't cover them for the vaccine," she explains.
The council's information campaign, which was carried out in the media, social media, direct messages and online meetings with the presidents of associations for the different nationalities, was aimed at these foreigners, to let them know that "if they want to have the vaccine, they have to be on the 'padrón', the population register.
Those who are registered but do not have social security can go to the health centre closest to their place of residence and fill in a form which will be entered onto the database only to give them access to the vaccine," she says.
For the first time, people from the UK head the list of new registrations, ahead of Morocco which is normally at the top. "There are 1,416 more British people on the register now," says Bocanegra. That is an interesting figure in the context of Brexit, and the councillor says she thinks it is because "being on the padrón means they can prove that they are living in the town when they apply to be officially resident".
Some people have also registered because they are working from home. Bocanegra says that after the lockdown and change of lifestyle all over the world, a lot of people are considering doing things differently. "That includes working remotely," she explains.
"Foreign estate agencies have told me that property sales have gone up considerably in the middle to high price range, and that tells us that people who can afford it are choosing Marbella because it has facilities such as schools and medical centres that suit their lifestyles, and it is only 40 minutes from the airport," she says.
The rise in the numbers of Europeans on the padrón also indicates an increase in remote working, especially among Scandinavians, as there are 80 new residents from Norway and 205 from Sweden. There are also another 254 from Italy, 188 from Germany, 152 from France, 93 from the Netherlands and 48 from Belgium, 224 Irish and 454 Russians, among others.