Spanish Royal Decree grants Brit expats free healthcare and social security benefits

Published:  1 Mar at 6 PM
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A Spanish Royal Decree has just been issued, guaranteeing British expats’ continued healthcare access until the end of December 2020.

If Theresa May was listening, she might well have heard a massive sigh of relief issuing from the ether hovering over Spain, as tens of thousands of British expats realised they would continue to be looked after healthwise for at least 22 months, even if the UK crashes out of the EU. The decree also allows British expatriates to continue their access to Spain’s social security network with its pensions and unemployment benefits, and freedom of movement between Gibraltar and Spain is also guaranteed.

In addition, the Spanish government is putting together a plan to offer new residency visas to the around 300,000 Britons in the country in the event of a no-deal exit. As expected, the Royal Decree as a last-minute contingency plan is also dependent on the UK’s providing the same benefits to Spanish expats living and working in Britain. It’s expected British lawmakers will fall in line, especially as Spain has included the disputed Rock of Gibraltar, an ongoing cause for contention between the two countries for at least several hundred years.

The more-than-welcome decree is the Spanish government’s last action before its parliament is dissolved in order to make way for elections to be held on 28 April. Whilst it falls just short of a last-minute miracle for stressed-out, scared British expat pensioners and business owners, it’s also an indication that Spain is well aware of the economic advantages of keeping not only UK expats who’ve chosen to make the country their home from home, but also the long-term financial benefits of Spain’s popular image as a British tourism hub.
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