• San Fulgencio hosts a conference to discuss the effects of Brexit among British citizens
  • The Regional Secretary for the European Union and External Relations, Joan Calabuig, meets with members of the San Fulgencio Town Hall, and listens to a presentation about the concerns for future British residents.

The Mayor of San Fulgencio, José Sampere, together with the Councilor for International Relations, Darren Parmenter, met with the Regional Secretary for the European Union and External Relations, Joan Calabuig, and the Territorial Director Antonia Moreno, on Friday at the Cardenal Belluga Theatre, where they discussed the effects of Brexit for those wishing to come to live in Spain in the future.

The purpose of the meeting, which was attended by residents and a number of Resident Associations, was to explain the issues raised by the visa and residency regulations introduced in Spain, and to discuss the negative impact they could have on towns like San Fulgencio, where there is a large British expatriate resident community.

The mayor introduced the meeting, saying that, “We are a municipality that is open to residents of the European Union, as well as a to a large number of people from the United Kingdom who have chosen the area in which to live, and that is why we want to simplify, as much as possible, any procedures that need to be carried out, which have been introduced as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU ”.

The Councilor for International Relations, Darren Parmenter, said that the main problem for the British, especially for those who apply for residency after Brexit, and who are not included in the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement “are the financial requirements to be eligible for a non-lucrative visa”.

Darren Parmenter, Councillor of Foreign Residents
Darren Parmenter, Councillor of Foreign Residents

Under the new regulations, he explained that, “a very high minimum income is required that, for example, a retired couple, the most common resident profile, cannot offer in most cases.” To be able to apply for a non-lucrative visa, a retired couple must have an income of more than 2,800 euros per month, or an equivalent amount, for one year in their bank, raising it to more than 33,800 euros.

The economic conditions will be even tougher when this visa has to be renewed after one year, with the requirement that “the applicant must have double the original amount that they had in the bank at the time of the first visa application, or continue receiving the minimum monthly income required”, said Parmenter.

Both the Councilor for International Residents and the mayor have pointed out the negative consequences that these demands could have for San Fulgencio, by causing British citizens to decide to retire in other EU countries with more flexible requirements, such as France or Portugal.

Joan Calabuig, The Regional Secretary for the European Union

In the long term, the mayor estimates that this situation would affect the registration figures, since “it would significantly reduce our number of inhabitants”, in addition to also affecting the economy of the municipality, and having a negative impact on real estate sales and local businesses owned and operated by international residents from the UK.

For his part, the regional secretary for the European Union and External Relations stated that the Generalitat Valencia has been working for a long time to minimize the effects of the new situation on future British residents.

“Before leaving the United Kingdom we already started the meetings and, since then, the contacts have been continuous with the Government, the Embassy and the Consulate.”

Guaranteeing the rights of British residents in the Community and those of Valencians in the United Kingdom, maintaining commercial exchanges and guaranteeing the permanence of tourist exchanges, have been three of the priorities for the Generalitat Valenciana. In fact, next Monday the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, will meet with the British Ambassador, Hugh Elliot, in Madrid.

Calabuig explained that “as a result of the effort and responsibility of citizenship” the Valencia Community has the best figures in Spain on the incidence of Coronavirus, so it will continue to insist that the United Kingdom authorise travel, taking into account the regional and not the national figures. “We have been working for a long time to ensure that the Community is given the same consideration as the islands, and we will continue to do so,” he said.

Photos courtesy San Fulgencio Ayuntamiento