‘Expats’ or ‘Immigrants’ in Spain? Whatever, the anger and uncertainty shows no signs of abating

“When Brexit first happened, I think I was in total disbelief. Not only did the Brexit vote win but my entire family, my parents, aunts, cousins voted Leave,” explained Gemma Middleton, a 43 year-old filmmaker who moved to Spain seven years ago from Bristol.

“Yes, I took it personally,” she told the Local from her home in Cheste, a town some 30km from Valenica in eastern Spain.

“It made me realize that if my own family hadn’t thought twice about what it would mean for me then there was no chance that anyone else, especially the British government, would.”

Feeling powerless to do anything about it, she decided to collect the “forgotten voices of the British immigrant community in Spain”.

“I don’t like the term expat,” insisted Middleton. “I think by calling ourselves expats it somehow marks us out as different to immigrants. But we are not different. We are nodifferent from the three million immigrants from EU nations currently residing in the UK.”

Since the Brexit vote Middleton has been travelling around Spain with film director Samuel Sebastian gathering interviews with those who have strong views about Brexit.

“It’s been very interesting and even though Article 50 hasn’t been invoked yet, the effects are already huge. We’ve interviewed people who are moving back to the UK because the exchange rate post-Brexit means their pensions are no longer enough to live on.

“There is a director of a language academy who just won’t hire Brits if they have lived here for under five years in case they can’t get residency and have to move back,” she said.

 A trailer for the documentary shows just how powerless some expats are feeling.

Expats or immigrants in Spain: Is there a difference?