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A Foot in Two Campos

Thoughts from a brand new home-owner in the Axarquía region of Málaga. I hope there might be some information and experiences of use to other new purchasers, plus the occasional line to provoke thought or discussion.

180 - Settled?
Thursday, September 5, 2019 @ 1:36 PM

There was a nurse on my flight home to Málaga.  A Spanish nurse, working in a GP surgery in Dorset.  British husband, dual-nationality totally bilingual daughter.  We’d been chatting in the queue about the newish Ryanair rules requiring us to jam our handbags INSIDE our cabin bags, just for passing through the gate before boarding.  ¡Qué pena!  What a pain.  She was flying to Spain for just a couple of days, to collect her daughter from the Spanish grandparents in Granada province to bring her back for the new school term.


Inevitably THAT subject came up.  The other Spanish nurse at her surgery had already packed up and left the UK.  She hadn’t wanted to go through the palaver of applying for Settled Status because she’d been out of the UK for a year recently when her abuela(grandmother) had been ill, and she already knew that would cause hiccups in her application.  This woman, Almudena, had put her application in but had not heard the outcome yet.  She was a bit worried, as she’d applied quite early (the Settled Status application system was piloted first in the NHS before being rolled out) so she thought there might be a problem.  Without it she was worried she wouldn’t be able to travel in November.  I’d read similar concerns on the Facebook forum for Spanish people in the UK.  I have no idea whether their concerns were justified or not – but when you have those uncertainties, you daren’t make plans.


The young woman in front of us turned to listen.  Her t-shirt bore a feminist slogan in Spanish.  She joined in the conversation, almost spitting her answer.  “No voy a pedirlo”, she said, her upper lip curling slightly.  “I’m not going to apply.  It’s not fair.  I went there to work, cleaning up their grandmothers so they don’t have to.  If they don’t want me there then I’ll leave.  I can work anywhere.”


“I thought the same” said Almudena.  “I was furious.  I made my life there, I had the right.  Just because their stupid country made a stupid decision, why should they turn MY life upside down?”  The presence of the feisty one had brought out more of Almudena’s frustration.  Talking just to me she had only had positives to say about Britain.  She had called it “home”.  But the anger had been there, simmering very close to the surface.  Now it was “their stupid country”.  I didn’t object.  How could I?


The young care-worker said she might go to Italy next as someone from her village was already working there, and she’d like to add Italian to her impressive list of languages.  Though other EU countries don’t go out actively trying to recruit nurses and care-workers in Spain.  Only the UK does that.  Ironic, really.  The Home Office refuses Settled Status on some technicality for a nurse with 25 years of experience in the NHS (having been educated and trained at Spain’s expense), and at the same time the NHS advertises in the Spanish nursing press and general newspapers to encourage more, to replace those who are exiting.  Meanwhile, the Spanish health service welcomes the returners with open arms.  They now speak perfect English (useful for dealing with British patients in Spanish hospitals who don’t have the language) and they have worked in a variety of settings in the UK with a wide range of nationalities.  Excellent attributes!  But, sadly, attributes which are not valued in the UK, in our rush to either actively eject these workers or simply ramp up the Hostile Environment so they leave of their own accord.


We filed on board.  After an acquaintance of a mere half hour, Almudena hugged me and wished me a good flight and a good continued life in Spain.  I wished her luck with her Settled Status and reminded her to join the Facebook group for Spaniards facing Brexit.  A couple of hours later we landed in Málaga and I headed home to Colmenar.  Yes I still do keep “a foot in two campos”, and I love my visits to Dorset to see my lovely friends.  But I am settled in Spain.  I feel as though my “status” is that of “settled”.   My adopted country is being kinder to me than my birth country is to Almudena and countless like her.  I shall go back in October for the big protest march.  I’ll march for Almudena too, and for all the nurses, care-workers, shop staff, plumbers, mothers, partners, neighbours and friends who don’t want to leave, don’t want to be pushed out, don’t want to feel so UN-settled.





©  Tamara  Essex  2019                                       

Like 5


moonbeam said:
Friday, September 6, 2019 @ 7:09 PM

An interesting read and the feelings of these people very well expressed.

Sadly, this chaos is also affecting people here who feel "invisible" in the present negotiations. It´s not just about pensions and healthcare, it is already affecting a lot of British workers here. Everybody I know has heard of somebody who has already been affected by this uncertainity. British applicants are not getting jobs they thought would be certain, or getting passed over for promotion, or not getting contracts renewed. I myself know of 3 people who at the last minute have not had their contracts renewed for September. Two teachers, who do not stand a chance now of getting other employment for the coming academic year which is already under way, and one office worker. Their positions have been filled by 2 Irish citizens and one Dutch. Employers fear future complicated paperwork problems. These are not just numbers - these are lives being turned upside down. Other British workers have been called in for uncomfortable interviews with their employers who have explained that if they cannot get a work visa granted post Brexit then they will have to be let go. These people are frantically worried by the intention of Britain to have a minimum salary requirement of 30,000 pounds for work visas, as the Spanish government have said in that case they will require a mimum salary of 35,000€ here, and most ordinary workers in hotels/callcentres/teaching/offices/banks/shops/restaurants etc do not earn this sum. Neither can a lot of autonomous workers provide proof of earnings of this sum.

All so worrying for so many people in so many ways.

altor10 said:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 10:58 AM

It is an absolute shambles. I am British living in the UK, married to a Spaniard - we have lived in both countries. It doesn't just effect Brits in Spain and Europeans in the UK - my husband was out of work for 9 months as his industry is not investing. I feel British and as am patriotic as the next person but am deeply ashamed and embarrassed as to how many of our politicians and indeed citizens are spitting out such decisive and vitriolic nonsense. I don't blame the girl on the plane at all - why should she work in the UK when it is treating its legal residents so shoddily.
As a result of the tens of thousand of nursing vacancies, my local hospital is currently on a recruitment drive for nurses in India and needing to provide English classes where required so they are safe to practice - no doubt that'll be all wrong too.
I am extremely grateful for people who come and work in our country and add richness and diversity to our society; we are richer for it. For Almudena and the countless others like her, I for one, am very sorry.

robertt8696 said:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 1:42 PM

altor 10, you say the NHS is looking for staff in India that are not EU citizens, but then the EU citizens will be from outside the UK too after we leave the European Union. So why then should we be restricting entrants from the EU?
All that is happening is the UK government is attempting to sort out what rights they are going to give to long standing EU residents who ALREADY live her. Isnt that understandable?

altor10 said:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 3:04 PM

I don’t think we should be restricting entrants from the EU at all, and I have no issue with long standing EU residents having their rights secured - of course they should and there obviously needs to be a process. It is the tone and way in which members of our society who have lived here for years and contributed are now being treated which I take issue with - much of which is unpleasant and unnecessary.

rob_j1 said:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 4:12 PM

I read during the week that a woman who came here (UK) from Italy when she was 2, and lived here for 55 years, married a Brit, had kids here, ran businesses, etc etc etc, was just denied settled status.

55 years.

This blows my mind.

And I'll paint my colours to the mast. I'm an immigrant myself, and a remainer. Along with my wife, and out kids, who were both born here.

After seeing how many people have been treated (along with the chef who headed up the 2012 Olympics, etc), I've decided I wont apply. I dont see why, when I came to the UK under a set of rules, and turned my life upside down to come here. After following the rules as they were at the time, we're faced with what? Being thrown out? For the heinous crime of what, exactly?

And it is a sorrowful tale, because we too have contributed so much to the exchequer, but also putting our time / skill into places like the NHS to build the nation.

So, with heavy heart, we've sold our property and are awaiting completion. The kids don't understand why they will be leaving their school, and their friends. They also are involved in clubs, and my eldest daughter is a ranked tennis player in the British LTA system. We will probably move to our house being built in Spain.

Don't even get me started on the benefits scroungers who contribute nothing, and take from the system, who are apparently prized before immigrants, some of whom have postgraduate degrees (I have an MBA from a highly regarded university).

And all that effort in the UK for nought, apparently. Why? Why are we so hated?

morgan52 said:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 @ 9:02 PM

This is an absolute disgrace, my two children are English teachers and my husband is a cross border worker in Gibraltar. Some family and friends of mine think brexit has nothing to do with me and although we were denied a vote (15 year rule) they think this is right and it's our fault for moving abroad. They don't give a flying f... that my family were exercising our rights as EU citizens and just say we should get Spanish citizenship or laugh and say we will have to go back. The way the EU citizens in the UK have been treated is appalling, my mother in law was a wonderful Dutch lady, I'm glad she is not around to witness the hostile environment now growing like a cancer. I hope to be returning to the UK for next peoples vote march in October and like Tamara I will be marching for all disenfranchised EU citizens. We have to stand together and put an end to this shambles

Dave11 said:
Monday, September 9, 2019 @ 2:32 PM

Brexit - totally crazy in every way... Madness!!!!!!

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