A ‘Brexit’ Could Stop Britons Living In Spain

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Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister of Spain, has warned that if Britain votes to leave the EU they could be forfeiting their rights to live in Spain and all other EU countries.

The EU is based on four freedoms of movement; goods, capital, services and persons. There have been warnings that if we voted to leave we risk not be able to re-enter that. This would mean that UK citizens would potentially no longer be able to live or work on the continent.

More than 400,000 British citizens live and work in Spain, many of whom are retired expats. Many have expressed concern on what will happen to their access to healthcare if the Britain votes to leave the EU as they rely on European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) to get free health care, as stated in EU law.

The Spanish prime minister has added his voice to the growing list of concerned European leaders. The Dutch prime minister also recently warned that if the UK voted to leave, and Brexit campaigners started a points-based immigration system, which some have said they plan to do, British citizens could face similar barriers when trying to travel or work in Europe.

The argument of some groups campaigning for the UK to leave the EU is that new rights for British citizens to live and work abroad can be negotiated after the vote, however it doesn’t look promising that they would get a good deal.

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Spanish, Portuguese and European Studies student, on her year abroad in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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