Now that the transition period has ended and the United Kingdom has left the European Union it will more difficult for UK citizens to obtain a work permit here in Spain.
Although the Post Brexit Agreement guarantees the rights of the 250,000 British residents in Spain and that of the 184,000 Spanish people living in the United Kingdom. Spaniards (Health, taxes …) although the bureaucratic procedures are a bit more complicated, A further issue for people cruising the English Channel is the validation of diplomas, obtaining a residence permit, a visa or the disappearance of the Erasmus + Program, which represents new barriers for professionals and students.
In any case, before making the decision to come to live and / or work in Spain, the UK citizens must appraise themselves as to the new conditions because there are still many aspects to be developed and negotiated in the post-Brexit world.
It is also relevant that just over 50,000 British residents in Spain have already requested the exchange of their green NIE for a Spanish TIE residence card and they have until June 30 2021 if they can prove that they were in Spain prior to June 31 December 2020.
Visa and points system
The first relevant difference is that as of January 1, 2021, Britons who want to stay in Spanish territory (and the rest of the European Union) for a period of more than 90 days must obtain a visa. In this sense, English tourists will be able to circulate freely once the covid19 crisis ends.
So, what avenues are left for the British who want to settle in Spain after January 1, 2021? In Spain, there are more than 20 types of residence and work permits.
Those who have an EU citizen as a partner have it easier, but the rest can choose three specific routes:
a) the so-called “Golden Visa” program for those who, since 2013, have or plan to acquire properties in Spain over 500,000 euros will be able to access a residence and work permit;
b) Those entrepreneurs who want to start their business project in Spain thus obtaining residency proving an investment and the creation of jobs
c) and, in the case of retired people, the “non-profit visa” or “retirement” with which they can live without restrictions in Spain, although the beneficiary will be strictly prohibited from working.
Other cases are those of those people who have a highly qualified job offer, associated with new technology, university graduates, management positions in large companies, etc, and with a salary of more than 40,000 euros per year. Therefore, this would not be the way to apply for work and residence permits for jobs such as waitresses or secretaries as these types of jobs are not considered highly qualified, preference is given to residents of Spain. Thus, from now on, if you want to hire a British person, you must first prove that, in Spain, there is no resident person who meets the conditions of the job you offer.
Regarding the issue of entrepreneurs and businessmen, it must be borne in mind that “the Government is free to evaluate each project” and decide on the work and residence permit. For it to have guarantees of success, it must be a program which is in the interests of Spain, either because of the jobs it is going to create, the investment, or that it attracts talent to the country, etc …
In this sense, citizens of the United Kingdom are in the same boat as citizens of Canada or the United States, compared to our community partners such as Germany or France who are free to reside in Spain without further requirements.
Professionals such as architects, doctors, nurses or engineers who previously could practice directly in Spanish (or community) territory without prior procedures will now have to undergo a validation of their studies to be able to practice their profession here.
Nor will British students be able to benefit from the Erasmus program, however those who were already studying before December 31, 2020 can continue participating in the program until the end date.
In any case, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already announced that he will launch his own version: the “Turing Program”, although there are still many unknowns.
If you need a visa or help with purchasing a property or business in Spain I have 30 years of legal experience. Myself and my team can help online and in person. We have native English speaking lawyers.
Marisa Moreno Senior Lawyer and Consul for Denmark