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Spain labour reforms open options for foreigners

labour reforms cause ease for foreigners in spain

As of August 2022, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved reforms on the regulation of foreigners. This means greater incorporation of foreigners into the Spanish labour market and other impactful changes to foreign workers. Giving foreigners better access to employment and self employment throughout Spain. The government believes these changes will allow the underground economy to emerge and alleviate the lack of labour in sectors vital to the economy such as, the hotel and catering industry, transport and construction. 

The reforms serve all current foreign residents in Spain; as well as, foreigners who have pending applications, and any future foreign residents. 

What the labour reform covers:

Staying in Spain is now more accessible

The reform applies regardless of the foreigners purpose in Spain. Whether for studies, training, non-work placements or voluntary work to gain access to residence permits and labour market.

  • Maximum number of hours foreigners can work as self-employed persons or as employees is raised from 20 hours per week to 30. Still maximum hours must be compatible with the initial residence permit granted.
  • Vocational training for a qualification that allows work, authorisation to stay for study purposes will be accompanied by a work permit. Enabling students to work automatically and eliminating many formalities.
  • Elimination of the previously required 3 year stay in Spain before applying for a modified work permit. The only condition will be to have finished the activity for which the initial stay was granted, in most cases this means studies.
  • A new type of arraigo called “arraigo for training” is created. This opens the possibility of regularisation through residence. for those who can prove they’ve been in Spain for 2 consecutive years and are beginning a training or studies for official or regulated qualifications. Granted for one year and is renewable for an additional year. Upon completion of studies it can be changed into a work permit.

Better access to residence and work permits for foreigners who are not legal residents

The cases of arraigo are more flexible:

Labour roots: Self-employed persons are now able to apply for this residency.

Social roots: Now authorisation requests won’t be based on time duration, but instead by the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI). This can be less than 20 hours a week in the case minors are classified as dependents. The reform also lets the foreigner show several contracts instead of just one.

Family roots: Cases of family roots extends beyond descendants of Spaniard and parents of EU minors. Now dependent ascendants and descendants are eligible.

  • The list of posts that are difficult to fill is expanded, automatically including occupations belonging to the economic sectors named by the Agreement of the Government Delegate Commission for Economic Affairs, at the proposal of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.
  • Emergency hiring is allowed without exceeding the national employment situation. If the company can prove it is experiencing difficulties in filling a specific position because it cannot find candidates, then they’re able to hire a foreign worker without considering the catalogue of difficult-to-fill positions if the urgency is duly justified
Spain work environment
Access Spain’s labour market as a foreigner under new labour reforms.

Better access to the labour market for legal residents and permanence in the country

  • The financial means for self-employed foreigners on their residence application has been reduced.
  • It will be much easier to reconcile self-employed activities without following any additional legal procedures. Whether you have a permit as an employee or as a self-employed person, once renewed you will be able to work either for a company or as a self-employed professional, no need to be compatible. This will also be the case for the residence card obtained in a family reunification. The reunified person will be able to work indistinctly in both models without any extra steps.
  • It’s easier to renew residence and work permits because the requirements are lower. 3 months of work during the year rather than 6. And proving you have been actively seeking employment will be sufficient for a successful renewal. Most notable, the renewal will be granted for four more years, instead of two for both self-employed and employed persons.

Speed up immigration procedures caused by numerous delays most Spanish offices experience

There will be improvements in administrative management by reducing burdens with the creation of the Alien Processing Unit (UTEX). Standardising the application and regulations in all territories will speed up procedures and move towards a one-stop shop approach. Plus, the reform introduces processing improvements at consular offices.

  • The process of granting and renewing family reunification will be facilitated. The financial requirements for reunification of minor children are reduced, making it easier to maintain the card if the relationship with the sponsor has dissolved. As well as maintaining the right to work for the reunified person (employed and self-employed).
  • Collective management of recruitment at source is regulated in a more accessible way, with the preparation of the annual forecast in this respect, plans for procedures.

Keep in mind, this Law has recently been published, so a regulation/Instruction must still be published to explain the application. Giving greater detail the specific cases which it will affect, the application and concession processes, specific requirements, applicable deadlines, etc. Until then, the information is quite generic with general concepts and terms.

Lexidy is here to guide you

Reforms are progressive and can open options for foreigners seeking to live in Spain, but they can be tricky to understand and take awhile for governments to adapt to. Lexidy is here to advocate for you. Always. If you think these reforms could benefit you and need help navigating the system Contact us! We have both immigration and Spanish labor law experts onboard!

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