The number of British nationals moving to Spain and other European countries is at a 10 year high a recent study has revealed.
With three years passed since the initial Brexit referendum and less than five months until the UK officially leaves the bloc, it seems that many Brits have not given up hope of a new life in the sun.
The study which was conducted by Daniel Tetlow, Oxford in Berlin and Daniel Auer, a research fellow at the WZB’s unit Migration, Integration and Transnationalization, suggests that the love affair remains as strong as ever with thousands continuing to move to the EU before the Brexit deadline on December 31.
It’s believed that some 17,000 British nationals per year have moved to an EU country since the UK voted to leave the EU. The numbers represent a rise of over 30 per cent from around 57,000 a year between 2008 and 2015, to more than 73,000 a year between 2016 and 2018.
“OECD figures and national government statistics have shown that the number has risen continuously since 2010 with an exaggerated spike since the Brexit referendum in 2016,” the study revealed.
Daniel Auer, one of the researchers of the study, believes that the findings suggest that the uncertainty and confusion surrounding Brexit forced many to pack their bags - in both directions.
“For that reason, in our study, we use OECD data based on national immigration statistics, available until the end of 2017, so one of the challenges for our study is to better understand the effect of Brexit since then,” Auer says.
The study also revealed that the number of Brits seeking citizenship in Germany increased by 1000% in 2017 compared to 2015 with the number of Britons obtaining an EU passport increasing six-fold in 2017 compared to 2015.
Data suggests that since the Brexit referendum, 31,600 Britons have been granted German citizenship.
Daniel Tetlow, co-author of the study said that the study showed those moving to the EU were thinking about their long-term identity and that many Brits moving to the EU wanted to remain European citizens.
This could be seen in the “huge rise in citizenship and dual citizenship figures”, he said.
"For example, across the EU, there was a rise of around 500% in Brits getting EU Member State citizenship, and in Germany, the increase in the number of British citizens acquiring a German passport was as high as over 2,000% between 2015 and 2019,"
What really struck the researchers was the different range of people willing to leave the UK and settle in the European Union.
After interviewing around 46 British nationals who had elected to move to Germany, they found that their decision in most cases was made very quickly and even “impulsively” compared to those who had moved prior to the referendum.
"The time that passed between the decision to emigrate and actual emigration shortened from around 12 months to a few weeks, with people generally being more prepared to take risks," the researchers said.
Tetlow said that those they had surveyed appeared to be more willing to integrate into their new country of residence, embrace the language and embed themselves into the local culture.
January 14, 2021