RELOCATING TO GIBRALTAR: OVERVIEW

Gibraltar derives from Gibel Tariq – Tariq’s Mountain – which is named after Tariq Ibn Zeyad who led the eighth-century conquest of Spain by a combined force of Arabs and Berbers crossing from Africa.  Gibraltar’s unusual status was not acquired until almost 1000 years later, long after the Islamic invaders had been driven out by the Spanish, as a consequence of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht which brought to an end the War of the Spanish Succession and gave the territory to Britain.

The British interpretation of the treaty moreover holds that the territory was ceded to them indefinitely.  The presence of a foreign-owned mini-state on the Spanish mainland has been an irritant to Anglo-Spanish relations ever since.

Known affectionately as the Rock, Gibraltar’s territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) and shares a 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) land border with Spain.  The shoreline measures 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. There are two coasts of Gibraltar: the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay; and the Westside, where the vast majority of the population lives. Gibraltar has no administrative divisions but is divided into seven major residential areas.

Gibraltar’s terrain consists of the 426-metre (1,398 ft) high Rock of Gibraltar, made of Jurassic limestone, and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are still operated by the military and closed to the general public.  From rock touring, to sailing, diving, fishing and bird watching, visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the diverse range of attractions on offer in Gibraltar.  Located at the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, where Europe meets Africa, visitors are also assured of breath-taking scenery, wildlife and architecture, that captures the unique flavour of this Mediterranean city.  As a VAT-free jurisdiction, Gibraltar’s popularity with visitors is further enhanced by its value added shopping experience in famed Main Street.

WHY RELOCATE TO GIBRALTAR / SOUTHERN SPAIN?

Working in Gibraltar is an excellent career choice.  Especially as the economy is strong and the job market has picked up dramatically in 2014.  The Gibraltar tax system is more attractive for many companies and individuals than mainland UK and as a consequence, an increasing number of professional organisations in certain sectors have moved to Gibraltar.
Probably the best example of this being the on-line gaming industry, however there are many opportunities within the Insurance, financial, IT, Legal and banking sectors for qualified and experienced candidates.   Gibraltar currently has a skills shortage within the Insurance industry, so if you have a skillset that is key to Gibraltar, this is definitely the right move for you.

Whether you choose to live in Gibraltar itself, or one of the nearby Spanish coastal towns, relocation to this area is an excellent choice for those wanting a fantastic lifestyle change.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Excellent careers for English speaking professionals, with little or no compromise on salaries compared to the UK
  • Lower income tax
  • Low cost of renting and buying accommodation in Spain compared to the UK (also many homes have private or shared pools)
  • Approximately 300 days of sunshine per year
  • Glorious beaches stretched across the Costa del Sol and Cadiz
  • Cosmopolitan Marbella and Puerto Banus nearby
  • Weekend skiing in Sierra Nevada
  • Relaxed, sociable and enjoyable way of life
  • Huge variety of restaurants, quality fresh food and wine
  • Easily accessible to the rest of Europe with regular and low cost flights from Malaga and Gibraltar
  • Duty Free Alcohol and Tobacco in Gibraltar
Climate

Gibraltar has an average of 300 days sunshine a year and the climate is Mediterranean. A warm, dry summer, alternating with a mild wet winter, the sub-tropical sun of North Africa is tempered by gentle sea breezes in summer and temperatures can rise well above 35°C in August, the hottest month of the year. In January, daytime temperatures are usually around 16°C to 18°C and it is quite possible to top up a tan.

Rainfall is mostly limited to the winter months. Snow and frost is extremely rare in Gibraltar. Annual rainfall averages 899 millimetres, however year to year fluctuations are high. A climatic phenomenon very typical of the Rock is the famous Levanter cloud. This is a dense cloud cover that forms on the top of the Rock when humid easterly winds are deflected upwards along the sheer face of its eastern side.

Healthcare

The Gibraltar Health Authority operates a group practice medical scheme whereby contributors to the social security system receive free health benefits. Should you become a contributor, all your medical needs will be met either on the Rock itself, or by outside providers, which are arranged by the GHA.

Cost of Living

Gibraltar is not a part of the customs union and therefore has duty free shopping and does not charge VAT. Cigarettes, alcohol, gas and perfumes are only some items which are bought by people from over the border,  because of the low prices.  Despite the tax benefits, the cost of living can be compared the UK. Water and electricity charges are higher than costs elsewhere, and property prices are much higher than those in neighbouring Spain.

WHERE TO LIVE

Some people are lucky enough to secure a job in Gibraltar before they commit to relocating.  Many companies also offer a relocation package with free short term accommodation for the right candidate.  If you are making your own arrangements, it is advisable to consider your living location carefully.  By living in Spain and working in Gibraltar you can get the best of both worlds! Of course there is a small commute, but this allows you to experience the culture, food and language of Spain and enjoy the low housing costs whilst working in the vibrant business community of Gibraltar. Below we have estimated the cost of two bedroom apartments in each of the areas to give a rough guide of living costs.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar has much in common with its next door neighbour Southern Spain.  It also has a fascinating history of its own, as well as special climatic conditions, its own particular geography, and of course a unique culture. The fact that Gibraltar is a self-governing British Crown Dependency makes it a popular choice. However, living in Gibraltar can be expensive, with an average 2 bedroom flat costing between £1,250 and £2,500 per month to rent.

La Linea

La Linea is just over the border from Gibraltar and is a convenient choice for relocation due to being within 10-20 minutes walking distance to the central areas of Gibraltar. This commercial/industrial district is packed with culture, local shops, schools, parks, hospitals and other amenities, whilst still being accessible to the more cosmopolitan and picturesque towns further along the coast. Typically the cost of accommodation is lower than in Gibraltar but slightly higher than the more popular Spanish towns due to its brilliant location and no need for its residents to own a car. A typical two bedroom flat would cost between 650€ and 950€ per month.

Santa Margarita

Santa Margarita is an ideal place to live with a family.  The largest residential development in the area, this is a quiet and friendly urbanisation.  The properties are typically Mediterranean in style, with spacious gardens and magnificent views of the Straits of Gibraltar.  Surrounded by green areas and maintained carefully, Gibraltar is a simple 10 minutes drive or perhaps a vigorous 20 minutes walk, however the bus does run frequently to the border if you feel the need. From €600 – €950 per month, but you will mostly find houses rather than apartments in this area.

Alcaidesa

Alcaidesa is located on the Costa del Sol location, just 15 minutes from Gibraltar airport and close to Sotogrande.  Surrounded by two national parks, it is well connected by highway and motorway nd is less than an hour from Malaga airport.  Currently there are a few bards and restaurants, a supermarket, and a Links Golf Course in Alcaidesa.  New property is being built there all the time. From 700€ to 950€ per month

Sotogrande

Sotogrande is a very exclusive and beautiful area favoured by top executives and the rich and famous.  Because of this, the rents are also high in this area and a two bedroom apartment can cost 900€ to 2000€ per month (including shared pool). However, you have stunning sports facilities, golf courses, polo fields and a famous marina on your doorstep ,so it’s a popular choice if your salary allows it. Sotogrande is just a 15 minute commute from Gibraltar.

Manilva

Manilva is 30 minute drive to the east of Gibraltar.  A surprisingly under-developed and picturesque part of the Costa del Sol, you can choose from living in the pretty white village of Manilva, the fishing port of Sabinillas or the lively marina of Duquesa with lots of places to eat, drink and enjoy yourself. By living in a more traditional Spanish area you will only pay between 350€ and 600€ per month to rent a two bedroom apartment and this will usually include a shared swimming pool, so it can make your salary stretch a lot further.

Estepona

Estepona is a pretty seaside town of with its fantastic wide beaches and Spanish small town character. There are lots of amenities, bars, cafes and restaurants, serving great Spanish food at reasonable prices as well as swanky beach bars and big supermarkets selling international brands. Estepona is a great choice for families with children as it is a very family friendly place. This is a 40 minute commute from Gibraltar and rents for a 2 bedroom apartment range from 450–800€ per month and will usually include a shared pool.

Please note when planning your commute into Gibraltar every day, remember to account for the Queues at the border. In rush hour, crossing the border to your place of work by car can add anything from 20 minutes to 5 hours to your commute, depending on the politics at the time.  This can be greatly reduced by parking in La Linea and either taking the bus, walking, riding a moped or bicycle. Some companies offer flexible working hours which many people take advantage of to avoid the rush hour traffic. You can park in La Linea easily for €1 per day, and there are a range of free and paid parking facilities in Gibraltar.

There are lots of other options for accommodation including private villas, houses, townhouses and duplex apartments.  Many people choose to share with friends or new colleagues, or rent a room which can be an ideal cost saving option in the first 6 months of relocation. Flat Shares are advertised in local Gibraltar and Spanish newspapers, websites, and on many company intranet sites. There are also budget hotels / B&B´s in La Linea which can offer temporary accommodation from approximately £25 per night.

Geography

Gibraltar is a large promontory of Jurassic limestone, situated in the western entrance to the Mediterranean. The rock is 5km (3 miles) long and the highest point is 426m (1,400ft) above sea level. An internal self-governing British Crown Colony, Gibraltar has given its name to the Bay and the Straits, which it overlooks. Spain is to the north and west, and Morocco is 26km (16 miles) to the south.

Currency

While Gibraltar produces its own notes and coins, the monetary unit of Gibraltar is actually UK Sterling. Sterling currency notes issued by the Bank of England are therefore legal tender and in circulation in Gibraltar, alongside the local note issues.

Residence & Work Permits

Only Gibraltarians and EU Nationals are allowed to live and work in Gibraltar without a residence permit.. Non-EU citizens will find it difficult to obtain a residency permit in Gibraltar, as they must first produce a work contract, and that can only be issued if the employer can prove that no Gibraltarian or EU National is able or willing to do the job.

Personal Income Taxation Levels

Individuals are charged to tax on their taxable income which is arrived at by deducting personal and other allowances from the assessable income at the following rates:

Individuals with gross assessable income not exceeding £25,000:

  • the first £10,000 of assessable income – 6%
  • the next £7,000 – 20%
  • balance – 28%

Individuals with gross assessable income exceeding £25,000:

  • the first £17,000 of assessable income – 16%
  • the next £8,000 – 19%
  • the next £15,000 – 25%
  • the next £65,000 – 28%
  • the next £395,000 – 25%
GETTING THERE

Flying

Gibraltar is easily accessible by air through both Gibraltar Airport and Malaga Airport which is approximately 1.5 hours away. British Airways operate daily flights into Gibraltar from London and Gatwick, Monarch fly to London Luton, Birmingham and Manchester. Malaga is one of Spain’s busiest airports and there are flight’s including low fare airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

Driving

Travelling by car is a realistic option, with ferries to Santander and Bilbao, the stunning drive down through Spain takes approximately 12 hours. If you choose to bring your car over, it is the law to register the car with Spanish number plates within 6 months. If you are buying a car in Spain then you will first need to get an NIE