Understandably, many UK expats are worried about their future in Spain should there be a hard Brexit. According to a proposed plan announced by Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez, the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) government will offer a new residency deal to approximately 400,000 British nationals if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place for future relations between the UK and EU member states.
Britons will have until January 2021 to apply for a Foreign Identity Card. For UK nationals with permanent residency, “the process will be nearly automatic.” For the remainder, there will be additional measures and steps in place. The government calculates approximately 400,000 people will receive new documents.
The announcement extends all advantages to Gibraltar, although it highlights that Spain will have rejection rights over the state of affairs of the Rock as a British Overseas Territory should there be a future agreement between Brussels and London.
All rulings to extend the present conditions currently in place for British citizens and British-run businesses in Spain, are made on the understanding that the UK will respond with a similar deal for Spanish residents living in Britain, and those who live in the Campo de Gibraltar (a county on the southernmost part of mainland Spain) and who cross into Gibraltar to work every day.
The announcement also emphasises the necessity of guaranteeing the entitlements of British people who work in Spain. However, the plan states that any benefits afforded to British workers in Spain are dependent on the same circumstances offered by the UK government to Spanish workers.
UK civil servants who acquired a position with the Spanish government while Britain was part of the union will keep their jobs.
With regards to trade, there are likely to be new customs regulations put in place shortly before the exit date to avoid a sudden increase in the workload if there is no deal. This would mean British products necessarily become third-country goods liable for the relevant taxes and documents.