The “buen retiro”

Even the British emigrate and choose the sun. While England announces a stop to the entry of EU migrants who do not have a job contract and new limits in their pockets, not a few Britons leave the country in search of a less expensive life. Southern Spain is among the favorite destinations.


Over 55,877 thousand registered British moved to the province of Malaga according to the 2015 data of the Spanish Statistics Institute and recently reported also by the local newspaper Sur of La Costa del Sol.

In 2013 there was a record figure: 76.932 thousand out of the 8 million inhabitants of Andalusia, the British community is the largest in the whole area. So much so that in Andalusia in particular the term Guiri has spread, indicating tourists from Northern Europe. Very often retirees or well-off British people choose to move to a milder country, according to a study by University College London taken by the Economist a few months ago, more than half of British migrants would be more than fifty years old and the general average of EU migrants is in their forties, according to the Spanish Statistics Institute.

The British generally settle in Marbella, Benahavis, Puerto Banus and in the province of Malaga. It is certainly the climate that attracts but also the costs of living much lower than in the UK. “Here we pay local taxes in a year for what we spent in England in a month,” says Stephanie Thomas, between a game and another at the golf club in La Quinta, near Benahavis, who arrived in Spain nine years ago at the time of his retirement. husband «with a pension we live well, the cost of living is much lower going out for dinner is much cheaper than in Great Britain where you can’t go out once or twice a month for dinner out, the tax for our car was 400 pounds a year, in Spain we pay 89 euros, even the rubbish in the UK has a very high cost and is not collected every day as it happens even though it pays much less in Spain ».

Foreigners represent in Benahavis at least 50% of the residents “Benahavis is the second richest municipality in Europe, between golf club and luxury properties” points out Stephanie, it is not difficult to notice around luxury cars, yachts and beautiful houses. “Also with a 20 euro per year resident card we have many services from sports to reductions for concerts and festivals, with this residence card we have the same advantages as the Spaniards who live in the area”. Stephanie Thomas also found his political commitment in Spain by running and siding with the Spanish Popular Party in the local elections in Benahavis for the past two years. The typical day flows between games of golf, and drinks at the end of the game. Integrating according to Stephanie is not so difficult “The Spaniards forgive a not quite perfect Spaniard or a wrong word, they try to understand you and meet you, not in all countries it is like this”.

Walking around the Costa del Sol, in some areas in particular, it is easier to speak in English than in Spanish and almost everything is also translated into English. In addition, there are at least four English newspapers with offices and editorial offices in Southern Spain: Euro Weekly News, Olive Press, Sur in English, Costa News. Among these, the weekly newspaper Sur in English has its own desks in Malaga within a large editorial team of the Spanish media group Covento which publishes the Spanish, English, Russian and German edition of the newspaper.

“The first great migrations occurred between the 60s and 70s mainly due to the climate and then the great boom of British migrants in the 90s, so the need was felt to create an English newspaper with local news for the community” he explains Rachel Haynes journalist from Sur. «Among the main reasons to move there is certainly the relaxed atmosphere and atmosphere of conviviality that you breathe in Spain, but also the cost of the properties especially fifteen-twenty years ago was very low and convenient, you could easily buy a beautiful house with swimming pool, many then come here to establish their business, for example services for an increasingly international community ».

Once upon a time it was mainly retired or almost retired people who moved around the age of 50-60, now the Sur journalist says that families with children and young people also emigrate to the Costa del Sol. “As British citizens you have the right to access the system of Spanish health care and you receive subsidies from the state based on how much you contribute ». The British who live abroad still don’t seem to worry much about the risk of Britain leaving Europe: “We don’t worry about the risk of leaving the EU here, we have to see if it will happen, but we don’t care much , at the moment it is certainly much easier to move between countries, but I do not think it is relevant, while a big problem, widely reported in the English press every day, is economic migrants who move to the UK to take advantage of subsidies and money that are not they receive in other countries, “says Stephanie.

On possible difficulties of free movement from one country to another in Europe Rachel Haynes comments “I believe that even with a possible exit from the EU there will be agreements for the British for which a Visa will not be necessary to go to other countries, we will not be on the same level as other non-EU countries “. “We should see the repercussions on the health system, however after fifteen years abroad, an English citizen loses the right to vote – the journalist concludes – however, a campaign is underway to allow those who live abroad to vote in the Brexit referendum, I think the thousands of UK citizens who are in another country would vote against leaving the EU “.