“Our members are real people with real concerns” 

The following selection of statements express, in their own words, the various issues, anxieties and concerns our members had regarding Brexit before we had left the EU.  We will be revisiting their stories in the coming months to find out the reality of Brexit for them.

Brexit Anxieties

As pensioners living in Spain, we will be forced to return to UK if our healthcare is not funded and we will suffer and cost UK more if we live in UK.


Losing my European citizenship and free movement of goods between UK and my home in Spain will severely impact on my quality of life.


My partner teaches in an international school. This is almost totally dependent on being able to recruit staff from the UK and may be unable to do so should there no longer be the same rights in terms of residing, working, pensions and healthcare that currently exist. Therefore, the future of the school and, hence, his livelihood are at grave risk.

As pensioners living in Spain, if our health care costs cannot be paid, we shall need to return to the UK to live.


Concerns of healthcare being withdrawn for pensioners and also possible removal of EHIC card which would prevent us from travelling around Europe.


We are pensioners and permanent residents who want to stay in a Union that respects human rights.


Imagine all those indignant (and perhaps a trifle potty) elderly British ex-pats being herded back to the UK. Where will you put us all?


I am terrified at the prospect that I may be trapped in a country from which I can no longer afford to emigrate to warmer climes for my remaining years.


Denying young British people the ability to study, work and live in other EU countries is narrowing their opportunities and their minds.


Healthcare for UK pensioners resident in Spain is the biggest concern, resulting in even longer waiting times in UK hospitals when we have to go back for operations.


I have close family both in England and mainland EU. I want to retain the right to live and work wherever they might be including the privileges, medical care, etc., that my all-inclusive Brit/EU passport affords me.


I have lived and worked here for 14 years – it’s my life and home – and to change rules retrospectively seems grossly unfair and against human rights under European Charter for myself and thousands of others.


Our saved-for and planned-for retirement is in tatter, meaning that a health condition much improved by a better climate will get worse.


I have recently moved to Spain to live. Concerns on healthcare, exchange rates, will we be able to stay in Spain?



I took advantage of the freedom of movement that was offered to me as an EU citizen and I do not want this right to be taken from me after living in Spain for almost 34 years.


Brexit will turn my world upside down, take away my independence, my quality of life, peace of mind, serenity and cause untold anxiety if I am forced to return to live in the UK against my will.


I am concerned that my Will may be administered under Spanish succession laws and that the UK will not agree to fund my health coverage as it currently does.


Married to a Spanish citizen, living now near Barcelona, my main concern is exchange rates since all my pension income is paid in sterling.


My concerns are not for personal issues. I feel European first and Welsh next. I believe we are stronger together. Together we stand, divided we fall.


I’m an immigrant in Spain, and never have heard racist superiority threats against me such as were said in the campaign. I want the UK in the EU so as to be a respecting nation with broad horizons, not a sad closed-doors island.


When I moved to Spain in 2009, my future was certain as I had clear residency and full healthcare. Now that certainty has been taken away from me and I fear for the future.


EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU made life-changing decisions, have homes and children in their new countries, have switched to using new languages, and consider ourselves as residents of our new home countries. To remove that is unconstitutional.


I am an EU citizen with a British passport. I have spent 12 years building my life in Spain, literally building with my hands. Against my will, I will be forced to move to the UK by people who fear foreigners and would rather believe conspiracy theories than find out the truth about the EU.


Losing the reciprocal support of Spain if that support is removed from our Spanish friends living in the UK.



My mother has Parkinsons and lives with me in Spain as a non-resident. My biggest concern is that she will have to go back to the UK and live in a care home.


Care Home
We are being disenfranchised without the right to vote on something that will impinge on my rights as a European living in Spain for 30 years.


The denial of opportunities (travel, study, work, friendships, relationships) for us all but especially for our young people – who are our future – breaks my heart.


We are pensioners living in Spain to support a sick daughter and bring up two grandchildren. If we lose our right to healthcare, we don’t know what will become of us all. We can’t go back to UK. Our whole lives are here and we don’t want to start all over again in our 70s!


Companies in Spain are starting to reject applications from British Nationals as they don’t want to get involved in work permits! How does that help me, should I need to get a new job?


On behalf of my father:

I am 93 years of age, and have lived in Spain for the past 15 years. At my time of life, who has the right to say I may lose my right to remain here, my annual pension increments and my access to (UK funded) free healthcare.


I have arthritis but have been much better since moving to Spain nine years ago. Without healthcare, I will have to return to the UK. I will not be able to afford a house. What will happen to me?


Freedom of movement, cultural heritage, a healthier old age … it’s heart-breaking to realise how much we stand to lose.


We have close family in France and in the UK. We are the guardians of a nine-year-old grandchild who has lived almost her whole life in Spain with us. Loss of free movement and its implications for her in particular are very worrying.



Desperately worried for my children in Spanish education system, my businesses, my employees (all UK citizens), home, healthcare and all our future plans now uncertain and under threat through no cause of our own.



Hardship caused to our relatives who used to visit fairly often. Visas, etc.?


There is a serious risk of my family ending up homeless in the UK, if we are forced to return and housing help will not be available because of ownership of foreign property that will be very hard to sell but we will not be allowed to inhabit.


Our lives have been put on hold without us having any say in it. Many people did not receive their voting papers in time, and many had no right to vote. How can this be right? We have a business here and the uncertainty and stress is making me ill.


Concerned about our healthcare in Spain, passports, and also those of our pets.


European citizenship affords people with certain rights and protections, as well as access to EU-wide benefits and institutions of importance and all this offers for future generations.


Very worried re health care rights, frozen pensions, EU Citizenship, property rights, tax rights, voting rights in the future.


We run a business in Spain and order many components from a UK company, which we won’t be able to do once UK leaves EU.


Our house in Spain is up for sale, can we be confident enough to buy another here after Brexit.


I am British, my father was Finnish, my mother’s family were Jewish immigrants from Poland, my partner is Scottish, my children were born in Spain. I’ve been living and working in Barcelona as a researcher for 12 years mainly on European Commission gender equality projects. To stay we will have to apply for Spanish citizenship and if we have to renounce our British citizenship my children’s choice of living in the UK will be curtailed. What will happen if I have to go back to the UK to look after sick or elderly relatives? These are just a couple of my concerns…


I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of living in Spain and travelling to and fro to the UK unhindered. I am happy to be a European and don’t want anything to change. Peace and harmony within Europe is so important.


My husband and I moved to Catalonia in December 2016 to now live our dream of 40 years. We are 70 and 75… we are now terrified of what our dream is going to turn into.



Even if we wanted to return to the UK, we couldn’t afford to financially. To be able to stay in Spain, we need our healthcare. If we had to pay for this, we would not be able to afford it and all the medication my husband needs. The bitter truth is my husband would die if we lose our access to the state health system and subsidised prescriptions.



I care about the free trade agreement. Without it my business will suffer, as it already has.


My husband and I both worked full time for over 45 years and paid full tax and NI contributions in UK, ran a business, employed staff and paid all required contributions. Why should UK pensioners abroad be penalised and discriminated against after making these contributions to our country?


I can’t afford to go back to the UK but will I be able to stay in Spain where I study and practise something that is impossible in the UK well at the standard and depth I’m am at – i.e. flamenco.


Post Brexit, pensions with annual increases and healthcare are the major concerns to my wife and I, having been retired residents in Spain for 14 very happy years.


My Italian boyfriend and I will no longer have the automatic right to live and work in each other’s home country.


Caught in no man’s land, only been on Lanzarote in our own property a year!


Scared that I may be forced to “go back” to a country where I know no one and leave everything I do know behind.


We live in Spain and the climate and the healthcare enable my husband to live fairly normally even thorough he has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Deprived of the right to vote in the Referendum, which affects my future directly, my main worry is the fall in the Pound and threat to the value of my pension, when I finally get it. (I was born in 1956 I am already being made to wait longer than expected to start receiving it.)


My son and I have lived in Spain for the last 10 years. He went back to the UK for Christmas. He was totally and utterly picked on! For living in Spain!!


Worried re my financial position. Large taxes paid into UK. Nothing asked for nor received nor wanted in return. What happens to my taxes if my pensions are frozen?


Pet Passports
The dog pet passport scheme is supervised by Defra and gives freedom of moment in Europe. Would the UK go back to the quarantine method? Lots of animal charities move abandoned or ill-treated animals back to the UK.


Terrible for all the charities working to rehome animals through Europe. I foster for one and have a dog. He travels with us: we could not leave him in quarantine or kennels.


I have lived for 35 years in Barcelona, Spain and my daughter was born here, hence she is Spanish, so if Brexit goes ahead, our family will be divided.


My grandchildren are Spanish – must I and my son leave them behind?


I have just renewed my passport so on the front it says European Union. So do we all have to replace the passports?


With the drop in property prices here, there’s no chance of buying in the UK if we come out.


After 20 years in Spain, my son and I feel like holocaust victims who have had their vote denied, our accrued European rights threatened, savings and pension values diminished through exchange rate fall and, ultimately, stand to lose our homes and business in Spain and our winter work as ski teachers in the Alps in France and Switzerland.


Uncertainty… my husband is a Spanish national and we have lived together in Spain for 10 years. Before that, we lived for 20 years in the UK. Will it be possible for us ever to return to the UK to be with family?


I worry that my two sons, who attend a Spanish school and are bilingual, would be picked on in the UK for speaking Spanish to each other.


I have free health care as an early retiree from the Valencian government. One of the conditions is that I am a national of an EU country. After Brexit, I won’t qualify?


As an OAP with ongoing medical conditions and awaiting two operations, if we lose free healthcare I’ll just have to die!


We have lived in Spain for 10 years, we own our house here, our son has gone through the local school system and my wife and I have both paid 10 years’ worth of tax and social security into the Spanish system. While we don’t think we will be thrown out of the country after Brexit, we still have no idea of what we can actually expect to happen.


After 25 years as an employee and taxpayer in Spain, and now retired, will I lose my Spanish pension as it’s dependent on years accrued as an EU citizen?


I’ve lived and worked in Spain for more than 15 years, based on EU agreements, yet was denied the right to vote in a Referendum which would strip me and my children of those rights. What is the direction for them? They are not British by upbringing nor Spanish by birth. They are teenagers who have been here all their lives who are now facing restrictions because of Brexit.


My concern is that our healthcare benefits will be taken from us. As my husband is over 70 and has diabetes, he cannot get private health insurance.


I am 67 with no pension and little money – I can’t afford to lose my medical coverage and can’t afford to move anywhere else, much less back to the UK.


As a Brit married to a Frenchman and living in France, my right to stay feels threatened and I feel forced to acquire French nationality when this should be an active choice. Furthermore, many Brits in France do not even have this right/choice and are thus even more vulnerable thanks to the removal of our rights that will result from Brexit.


My children were brought up in Spain, hold British passports and now live in UK. I have a business and home in Spain and am worried about free movement and ‘residencia’ rights after Brexit. What will it mean for my family? I also worry about pension and healthcare rights for British citizens.


My husband (a German national) lived and worked in England for 55 years, is in receipt of an English state pension, has two English sisters, our daughters are English, although one lives in France with two English daughters, feels that he will no longer be welcome in England to see his family and friends and if we needed to go back to live what would his status be?


We are living our dream retirement in Spain. Brexit threatens our financial security. Having to buy health insurance would leave us with no choice but to return to the UK.

What happens when the overstretched National Health Service and local councils receive a sudden influx of retired expats returning to the UK that require health care and housing? Already breaking this winter from our ageing population.
It would be far more cost-effective for all of us to be able to stay where we are, including the EU citizens in Britain.


I run a business here in Spain and am worried of the impact it could have as I involuntarily become a non-EU member.


If pensioners have to return to UK, will the UK pay for relocation and will accommodation and all benefits be available immediately?


I worked from 14 to 60 and paid tax and NI all my life. I retired to Spain 12 years and now, as a 74 years old widow, live off a basic UK pension. Surely I have earned the right to have a say? What will happen to me should my health deteriorate?

Brexit Worries