The outbreak of the pandemic disrupted travel and meetings. He hasn’t even been able to visit the island yet the ambassador, Hugh Elliott, appointed in September last year, who in June became an intense day of telematic meetings on tourist reactivation on his first virtual visit to the Balearic Islands, including a Mallorcan breakfast and a lunch with a lobster stew that he tasted at his residence.
Meanwhile, the British community with residence certificates has grown in the Spanish State. At the end of 2019 there were 366,498, with an increase of 2% (more than 7,000).
In the case of the Balearic Islands, the British with a valid registration certificate or residence card, as of June 30, amount to 29,532 residents (8% of the total in Spain), according to the latest report from the Ministry of Inclusion, Security Social and Migrations. The previous figures pointed to about 22,000 in the islands, about 17,000 in Mallorca. The islands are the third province with the largest British population – after Alicante and Malaga – and the first with respect to the German (32,266 with residence, concentrating 18% of the total).
“There could be up to 60,000 British people” in the archipelago, according to estimates from the closest groups, says Kate Mentink, president of the Association of Foreign Residents in the Balearic Islands. “There are many who at the last moment” they want to legalize their residence “because there is little time left”.
The British also points to a phenomenon driven by Brexit. «Many older people have preferred to return due to the uncertainty, but other younger ones, between 40 and 45 years old on average, come for the better quality of life». This is confirmed by real estate companies, moving companies, the presence of schoolchildren in public and private schools and aid organizations, says the former councilor of the Calvià city council. “The Middle Ages have changed a generation,” he maintains.
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Kate Mentink reviews all the meetings that have taken place since 2016 to inform the British community about Brexit. “They thought it wasn’t going to change anything, but it’s not true.” There are several problems when becoming non-EU. “There are people who have resided for years but have no documentation to prove it, or who lack employment contracts or financial means.” The British woman congratulates the Immigration Office for “the bilingual team” that helps her community.
Meanwhile the British Embassy continues with an extensive campaign with advertisements in social networks, newspapers, radios and podcasts to inform their citizens. In addition, it has organized online dissemination sessions that exceed 70,000 people mainly to “understand the process of applying for the TIE card”, it is indicated. The British are scattered throughout the island, but the most important communities are in Calvià, Pollença, Sóller and Palma.
The British Government finances Age in Spain to support the most vulnerable in the Balearic Islands and will continue to support them “until well into 2021,” they add from the Embassy.
Among British businessmen there is also a double concern, since Brexit is added to that of the pandemic due to temporary workers who will arrive in the 2021 tourist season, many from the nautical sector, Mentink points out. Brexit is almost a reality.