For many retired Brits living in sunny Spain, June's EU referendum is a dark cloud on the horizon. Spain is Europe's top destination for British expats, with the southern regions of Costa del Sol and Alicante being the most popular places to live. Some figures put the number of Brits living in Spain at nearly 800,000 – many of them pensioners.

The British community in Spain tends not to integrate with the locals. According to a recent survey, one-third rarely or never meet Spanish people, apart from in shops and restaurants, and 60% do not speak Spanish well. Instead, they congregate together British restaurants and pubs, eating English breakfasts and drinking pints of bitter. Getty photojournalist David Ramos takes a look at the daily life of British expats and pensioners living in Spain.

British pensioners Spain
A retired couple looking at the sea from the promenade in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Men playing pool at a British bar in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Tourists having drinks at a British bar in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
A mobility scooter parked outside a bar in Benalmadena as British expats and tourists drink in the sunDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
People riding mobility scooters past a supermarket in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
A man wearing a Gibraltar cap looking at his wife as they walk on the promenade in FuengirolaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
British expats and tourists soaking up the sun at bars aimed at English peopleDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Prices and specials written on an English flag outside a bar in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Signs advertising English breakfasts, Irish coffees, pints of bitter and fish and chips are seen outside barsDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
A blackboard showing the schedule for broadcasts of English football matches outside a bar in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
People playing golf at a course in the Riviera del Sol residential area of MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Villas and apartment blocks in the Miraflores residential area of MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
People walking on the promenade in BenalmadenaDavid Ramos/Getty

The main worry of those who retired in Spain and live on their UK pensions is that a vote to leave the EU could lead to a reduction in their benefits. Reports released by the UK Cabinet Office warn that if Britain left the EU, expats would lose a range of rights to live, to work and to access pensions, healthcare and public services. The same reports added that British citizens abroad would not be able to assume that these rights will be guaranteed in the future.

The impending ballot has brought pressing questions for these expats about what might happen if they no longer belong to the EU. Would a so-called Brexit bring different rules for them on property ownership and taxation, or inheritance rights? Would British expats still be entitled to local welfare benefits and free public health services? Would they still be able to get automatic residence and work permits?

One immediate worry is the exchange rate. The pound has weakened as financial markets show concern over the referendum. If sterling drops to parity with the euro, it could be a disaster for pensioners used to the spending power of a strong currency.

British pensioners Spain
Members of the Royal British Legion Mijas Costa branch holding a minute of silence at the start of their weekly meetingDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
British and other European expats playing bridge at the Club Naranja in MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
British expats playing bridge at the Club NaranjaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Card holders and score pads seen during a Royal British Legion bridge gameDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Members of the Royal British Legion Mijas Costa branch catching up before playing bingo during their weekly meetingDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
A member of the Mijas Costa branch of the Royal British Legion closing the door of room where they are going to play bingo during their weekly meeting at El Club NaranjaDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Second-hand shirts hanging on display at the Age Care Association charity shop in MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Second-hand books displayed at the Royal British Legion Mijas Costa branch weekly meetingDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Members of the Royal British Legion holding a weekly meeting at El Club Naraja in MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
A sign advertising cooking and cleaning services on a wall in MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
Plaques in memory of late members of the Royal British Legion Mijas Costa branch on a bench at the Club Naranja in MijasDavid Ramos/Getty
British pensioners Spain
People walking past a supermaket in FuengirolaDavid Ramos/Getty

The pro-Brexit group in the UK who detest the EU say they are fed up with, among other things, immigrants having access to often-overstretched British public services and generous welfare benefits. They seem to forget that around 1.2 million Britons live in other EU countries, with France, Spain and Portugal being especially popular. Analysts believe the true number could be at least double that, and maybe a lot more, because many people don't register with their embassies or local authorities.

The EU referendum will be held on 23 June 2016, and only those who have lived abroad for less than 15 years will be able to vote.