THE Policia Nacional have arrested 47 people in the Marbella area over scams involving British citizens applying for Spanish residency in 2021 before a Brexit deadline.

The police said there were two separate criminal groups applying for residencies at the Malaga Immigration office.

Three of those detained ran a law firm in Malaga and two were behind a legal practice in Ceuta.

They have been charged with enabling illegal immigration and falsifying documents, while the rest of those arrested face forgery charges.

Applicants were charged an average of €1,600 per head to get the TIE residency card via the two law firms.

Payments were always made in cash which was not handed over in law firm offices.

At least three of the Brits looking to regularise their presence in Spain were known criminals who planned to ‘hide’ in Malaga province.

Investigations started in April 2021 when the Malaga Foreigners’ Office reported a large volume of residency applications sent by certain law firms which appeared to have been manipulated to include false information.

Police analysed over 200 residency applications from British citizens and discovered deceptions in 120 of them.

The scam included bogus leases, health insurance policies, bank statements and invoices that would show a British national as passing the requirements to get a residencia.

The flurry of applications was down to the Brexit deadline under the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement which meant British people living in Spain without appropriate permission, could apply for residency before the end of 2021.

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