The Costa del Sol is a unique region in Spain with a very high number of foreigners living and working here, many of them without the level of Spanish required to deal with bureaucracy. Thankfully, the Town Halls are adapting to our needs and providing dedicated offices and council officials to deal with the issues faced by foreign residents and help us cut through the red tape.
Most areas have services for foreigners, so check out your council website, or visit the council offices and ask. The word to look out for is “extranjeros” which means foreigners. Below are some of the offices we know are working hard for the foreign residents.
One of the most active offices and in fact the very first of its kind in Spain is the Mijas Foreigners’ Department, which is located in La Cala de Mijas. It is open from Monday to Friday 10.00-14.00 and they speak seven languages to be able to help as many foreign residents as possible in their own language. They also put on trips to the local area and informative talks on different issues which are relevant to foreign residents. Unfortunately their website isn’t great, so pop in and ask.
Marbella has had a great foreigners’ office for a while now and a real champion in the form of the Councillor for Foreigners and Tourism Jose Luis Hernandez, who supports initiatives by the foreign population and is very aware of their needs. It was reported in April that there are plans afoot to improve these services by creating a new office in Edificio España in the area known as La Patera which will deal with all issues to do with foreign residents. This is due to open after the summer, so watch this space.
Estepona has also recently launched a foreigners’ department, as we reported last month, and the group arranged a forum with the Mayor in May to improve the dialogue and allow the foreign residents to have a strong voice within the community. However they don’t seem to have a website, so look out for news online and in the local press, particularly The Resident.
Further along the coast the Manilva Foreign Residents department is very active arranging trips and events such as a regular coffee morning as well as offering information and support in residents’ own languages. Also in San Roque, they have a packed calendar of events and tours and a really helpful multi-lingual councillor offering assistance and information to break through the red tape in English, Spanish, German and Italian.
If you’re renting long term on the Costa del Sol these services are perfect when you first arrive and can guide you through the process of registering and establishing your life here. If you need any advice on what to do when you first move here, we’d be happy to help so please just ask!