Mediterranean migration

  • Created by: em42
  • Created on: 05-05-15 19:42

UK emigrants

  • UK nationals increasingly emigrate south, towards sunshine & warmer temperatures.
  • Around 750 000 Britons live permanently in Spain, & 200 000 in France.
  • Total emigration reached 400 000 in 2008; approximately 1/2 half of these emigrants were British (the rest were returning returning immigrants).
  • These 'sunseekers' are very differnet from the A8 migrants.
  • Most of them (60%) are economically inactive.
  • Many are retired & some own businesses such as hotels.
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Pull & Push factors


  • Housing, & the cost of living, is generally cheaper than in the UK.
  • As a growing tourist destination, the Med has many new business opportunities.
  • Better weather is guaranteed - hot summers & mild winters.
  • Lifestyle may be more relaxed, with a 'holiday atmosphere'.


  • A perception of rising crime, declining respect & a sense that the UK has 'gone to the dogs'.
  • High taxation & spiralling house prices.
  • Lack of space, congestion & low environmental quality.
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Developments for easier emigration

Some developments have made the process of emigration easier since the 1980s:

  • Spain joined the EU in 1986.
  • The Schengen Agreement & the 1992 Maastricht Treaty (which created the Eurozone) have made moving to another EU country much easier.
  • Low-cost airlines provide easy & cheap access.
  • Companies employing English-speaking lawyers & estate agents can sort out legal issues & paperwork.
  • The internet allows easy communication with family members, friends & business interests back in the UK.
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'Sunseekers' Criticism

  • They have not integrated with local communities & culture.
  • This has intensified over time as English bars, doctors, schools, sports clubs etc. have set up, so there is even less need for emigrants to integrate with their Spanish or French hosts.
  • There are extreme cases, such as San Fulgencio on the Costa Blanca: of its 10 000 population, 8 000 are foreign (1/2 of which are British).
  • The area was in the news as British & German expats set up their own political party & stood in local elections, winning 21% of the vote & 3 local council seats.
  • This type of migration has slowed since 2008.
  • Sunseekers, especially pensioners, are sensitive to the value of the UK pound.
  • As this has fallen, so have their incomes.
  • Some have returned to the UK.
  • Others feel trapped abroad as the value of their homes has fallen, making it hard to sell up & return to the UK.
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Source country (UK) - Costs


  • Social:
    • Family breakup, as grandparents move away; loss of potential childcare.
  • Economic:
    • Loss of a highly experienced workforce, especially if they retire early.
    • The 'grey pound' is spent overseas.
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Source country (UK) - Benefits


  • Social:
    • In part, emigration balances increased immigration, reducing net migration rates.
  • Economic:
    • Fewer older people to take care of; some health & care problems are effectively exported.
  • Environmental:
    • Relives pressure for new homes, & therefore to build on greenfield sites.
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Host country (e.g. Spain) - Costs

  • Costs:
    • Social:
      • Emigrant 'ghettos' are created, with little social & cultural integration. Resentment may grow as immigrants seek to enter local politics. House prices exceed the buying power of local people.
    • Economic:
      • Some benfits & healthcare costs are borne by the host country.
    • Environmental:
      • Large-scale villa development has ruined much of the coastal landscape & degraded biodiversity. Water supply systems are strained in semi-arid areas. Localised pollution has risen, & flood risk rises as urban development occurs.
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Host country (e.g. Spain) - Benefits


  • Economic:
    • Increased spending in the local economy; some retirees are highly affluent. Job creation in construction, retail, legal & health services. Areas which were largely unproductive scrubland become valuable land to build on.
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