Brits living in Spain may be forced to return to the UK within days or risk being deemed illegal immigrants thanks to Brexit.
Police in the Costas are set to deport up to 500 British expats from March 31, it has been claimed.
Anyone who has failed to apply for resident status or is rejected legal registration is required to return home by Wednesday night.
Many British citizens have previously breached the EU’s 90-day per every 180 limit placed on tourist visas and have been living unregistered under the radar, avoiding Spanish taxes.
But under the Withdrawal Agreement, anyone unregistered who doesn’t leave the country within days could be fined or banned from returning.
Spain has been rolling out a new system to register permanent foreign residents with biometric cards called TIE but due to so many requests the process is currently log-jammed.
Expat Shaun Cromber, who voted Leave in 2016, said he “didn’t realise it would come this” after his application for permanent Spanish residency was vetoed.
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“We are on our way home,” he told Global247News.
“The wife is in tears, she’s distraught if I’m honest and I’m not too happy at the prospect of returning back to the UK.
“I’ve loved living on the Costa del Sol and after five years… we applied but got rejected and so have no choice, although long term I think the Spanish will regret chucking us out of Spain.”
Anthony Cook, meanwhile, is heading back to Cardiff, telling the outlet the “Spanish dream is over for me”.
“I don’t have enough credentials to become a resident, it was so easy before, get your funds in from the UK, do a bit of cash in hand around the likes of Benidorm and bob was your uncle, but that’s all changed now,” he added.
Similarly, John Shiers has lived in Spain for two years but missed the deadline to apply for residency.
“It was naivety on my behalf,” he told ITV News.
“I didn’t put mine in until just after [the deadline]. And then it has been knocked back, shall we say.”
He is appealing the decision but if that fails, he too like thousands of others will be heading back to the UK.
An estimated 300,000 British citizens are registered as permanent residents in Spain.
But now authorities there want to see proof of earnings through either work contracts or by at least £2,000 monthly income, as well as £500 per each family member with you.