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Migration Case Studies: Mediterranean

Updated on January 11, 2013

U.K migration to Spain

Over the last twenty years pensioners increasingly migrate to the Mediterranean especially Spain, dubbed 'Sun Seekers'.

There are many reasons this has increased including:

  • Spain joining the E.U in 1986, meaning that there is now an open border policy.
  • Low cost airlines such as easy-jet make access not only cheaper but easier.
  • Increased connectivity, the internet allows easy communication with friends and family through sites like Facebook and Skype.

But why migrate in the first place?

There are a variety of push and pull factors fuelling the migration to Spain.
Push Factors are reasons to leave a place, the negatives including the English weather, the idea the U.K has 'gone to the dogs' and the lifestyle.
Pull Factors are reasons to go to a place, the positives these include the better weather, cheaper living costs, better lifestyle with a 'holiday atmosphere' and expatiate communities already set up there.

Obviously migrating is not as simple as this Lee's Push - Pull migration Model gives a better idea of the process of migration.

What are the impacts on the source country? (U.K)


  • Family breakup, loss of grandparents and potential childminders.
  • Loss of highly experienced workforce.
  • The grey pound is spend overseas.


  • Care expenses are paid for by the host country.
  • Relives pressure on housing, no need to build on greenfield sites.
  • Emigration partly balanced immigration reducing net migration rates.

Impacts on host country (Spain)


  • Migrant 'ghettos' are created with little social and cultural integration in San Fulgencio the migrants set up their own political party and won 21% of the vote and three local council seats. This can create social tensions with the 'native population'.
  • House prices are driven up by 'sun seekers' to high for resident population.
  • Health care costs
  • Infrastructure such as water supply can become strained.


  • Spending of the 'grey pound' can rejuvenate local economy.
  • Jobs are created in construction, retail and services.
  • Areas that previously had no value become valuable building sites.


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