You must read this! The Spanish immigration law update has already been rolled out and with it a lot of important changes that will benefit any foreigner in the Spanish territory.

Thanks to this reform, it is now much easier to obtain a residence and work permit, the figures of the arraigo have been immensely modified, and advantages are created for foreign students; among many others.

In this article, we discuss in detail the most important aspects of this reform of the immigration regulations. Do not miss it, as we will see all the new measures!

About the New Spanish Immigration Law in Spain


After considering the current situation of the Spanish labor market, the government has finally decided to modify the immigration regulations in the country and create a legal body that is more adapted to the current situation. 

Up to this day, obtaining a work permit in Spain has been a very complicated task. Plus, a large number of job positions that are crucial to the country’s economy are very difficult to fill and require hiring foreign workers. 

To mitigate these two situations, a series of measures (highly beneficial as we will now see) have been approved, and will benefit all groups of foreigners in the country wishing to move to Spain.

Generally speaking, this reform focuses on three main points:

  • Firstly, to ease the process of obtaining a work permit for non-EU foreigners, both as employees and self-employed (also promoting self-employment). 
  • Secondly, to ease the process of obtaining work permits that are compatible with the student residency permits as well as the process of modifying the student residency permit to a work permit. 
  • And, finally, to create new residency options for foreigners in an irregular situation so that they can receive training and begin to occupy technical jobs that require more personnel



All major updates and changes on the reform of the Spanish immigration law


What measures exactly have been already implemented with this immigration law reform? What changes are we going to be able to experience?

Here is a summary of everything you must consider, so that you can start benefiting from these changes TODAY!


The catalog of occupations that are difficult to fill has been expanded


A large number of new foreign workers will now be able to come to Spain. How?

Before the reform, the shortage occupation list was very limited and did not correspond to the needs of the current labor market.

This meant that it was only possible to obtain an initial work permit as an employee if the job position was included in this list (something that rarely happened) or through a complicated certificate demonstrating the insufficiency of job seekers for the concrete position.

However, with this new reform, the professions within the catalog have been (and will continue to be) expanded, and hence finding a valid offer will be much easier.

With the new system, this catalog will be updated every 3 months, and this update will be done by geographical area according to the specific needs of each Autonomous Community or region.

This means that there will be broader options for those interested in coming to live and work in Spain. And, of course, hiring in the home country will be much more flexible and most importantly: a real option.


Reduction of deadlines for hiring foreigners in their country of origin


The possibility of obtaining a work permit will be much faster thanks to a significant reduction in time limits.  

Any company that needs to fill a vacancy (which is not included in the shortage occupation list) that cannot hire anyone who is in the national territory, will be able to hire foreigners from their country of origin more easily.

This is so because from now on, in order for a job offer to prove its insufficiency of applicants, it will only have to be published for 8 days in the Empléate portal and if after this period no workers are found, the public employment service will issue the certificate of insufficiency within 3 days.

Obviously, this certificate will be obtained after issuing a report with all the details of the selection process. Those will have to include, for example, how many vacancies were posted, applicants obtained, and why has the company not hired any of them.

After these 3 days, the application for an official residence and work permit may be submitted to the foreigners’ office.


changes immigration law


Work residency card renewals will be for 4 years (instead of 2)


This could be undoubtedly one of the most important and advantageous measures of the whole immigration reform.

Now foreigners will have it very easy to stay in Spain in the long term.

Until now, the process was as follows: you got your temporary card for 1 year, renewed for 2 more years, renewed again for 2 extra years, and then you could obtain the long-term residency.

Now this changes radically, and when it comes to working residencies, after the first 1-year card, the renewal will be for 4 years; making the foreigner’s life in the country much easier and eliminating an important bureaucratic burden.

But that is not all.

In addition, renewals will now be much easier, with less demanding requirements.

The new regulation will avoid situations of supervening irregularity, making the renewal assumptions much more flexible.

Just by having worked 3 months (instead of 6) and having actively sought employment (with registration in the SEPE), it will be possible to renew your initial residence and work authorization.


Greater facilities for obtaining a self-employed work permit


While so far we have seen two measures that directly benefit foreign employees, the government also intends to help self-employed workers in obtaining their work permit.

Thus, the aim is to reduce the current requirements that any foreigner must meet in order to apply for a permit to carry out their economic activity as independent professionals in Spain.

More importantly, the financial means that the foreigner must present in the application to demonstrate that the project will have sufficient financial backing have been reduced.

In addition to this, additional self-employment figures have begun to be contemplated, which are very relevant in today’s economy, such as people with online stores or who offer consulting services via the Internet.


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Foreigners on student visas will be able to work longer hours


Up until now, foreigners on student visas were only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while completing their studies or training.

With the new reform of the law on foreigners, this range has now increased from 20 to 30 hours per week, which will benefit the student community by enabling them to generate income more easily while studying.

This means that students will be able to work anywhere in Spain as long as this does not prevent them from continuing their studies.


Students will be able to work automatically with their student visas


Until now, if you had your student visa and wanted to work, the company that hired you had to initiate an immigration process so that you could get a work permit.

This has changed. From now on, students will be able to work as employees or self-employed directly with their student visa, without having to go through any extra steps.

And this will be the case as long as the foreigner is studying:

  • Higher education
  • Regulated training for employment
  • Training aimed at obtaining a certificate of professionalism or technical aptitude
  • A professional qualification that is required for access to a specific occupation

And, if none of the above is fulfilled but your study plan characteristics but it includes the need for an internship, you won’t need a work permit either and will be able to start it directly.


Spanish immigration law reform

No more 3 years required to change from student visa to work permit


Another way that the government is trying to encourage the hiring of foreign workers and to offer greater facilities for obtaining a work permit is by speeding up the modification of student visas to residence and work permits.

Currently, in order to be able to modify the student visa to a regular residence and work permit, the student must have spent at least 3 years with his or her visa for studies.

In most cases, the studies have much shorter durations, and it further complicated the foreigner’s plans since they had to renew their visa over and over again until they could fulfill this requirement.

However, with the adoption of the new law, this 3-year time limit has been removed along with the geographical limitation.

You will now be able to switch from a student visa to a work permit automatically once you complete your studies, no matter how long they last.


Greater facilities in the family reunification process (reduction of necessary means)


From now on, reuniting your family members and bringing them with you to Spain will be much easier.

And this is especially true for those with lower incomes.

The economic requirements to carry out this procedure have been reduced, being now less demanding.

For example, we find the case of minor children. From now on, if you earn 1000€ per month (equivalent to the minimum wage in Spain) you will be able to regroup all your children, regardless of how many of them you want to start the process with.

And, if you do not reach that salary, you will have to prove 110% of the Minimum Vital Income (which would be 702€ in total) to be able to regroup one child, and an additional 64€ for each child you also want to bring with you.


Major changes in labor arraigo


Arraigo laboral has undergone important changes.

First of all, it will be relegated only to those foreigners who have worked legally in the past but who are currently in an irregular situation at the time of the application.

So, what will happen to those foreigners who have worked irregularly?

These cases will have to apply for a new, different figure, called a permit for exceptional circumstances in collaboration with the labor authorities.

The requirement of needing to be continuously in Spain for a minimum period of two years is maintained, with continuous stay being understood as absences of no more than 90 days in the last two years.

In addition, the required 2 years in Spain are maintained, but with the difference that now you must prove that you have worked 30 hours per week during 6 months, or 15 hours per week in the computation of a year.

This makes it more flexible and accepts part-time work situations too.

And, finally, the figure of the self-employed worker is incorporated into the labor arraigo too. That is to say, the person who has been self-employed for at least 6 months will also be able to apply for this residence authorization.


Main modifications to the requirements for social arraigo


A crucial modification makes it now much easier to access and obtain the arraigo social.

Until now, it was necessary to find a one-year contract to apply for this residency.

With the entry of this reform, this will no longer be necessary, since any contract that guarantees a minimum salary and duration will be valid.

In other words, a 3-month contract, for example, would be sufficient.

More specifically, in the case of a single contract, the applicant must simply prove (at the time of application) that the salary to be received is at least the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI).

If, on the other hand, the applicant applies for social roots with more than one contract (i.e., several part-time offers), which is entirely possible, it will be important to ensure that the sum of the working hours is not less than 30 hours in the global computation and that the total amount to be received is, again, at least the SMI.

Or, conversely, the contract could have a minimum duration of 20 hours if you have minor children.

Within its requirements, and as an important novelty, the criminal record may have a maximum validity of 6 months.

On the other hand, with regard to the social roots for self-employment (as self-employed), less documentation must be provided:

  • The business plan
  • The necessary economic means to make the project investments required 
  • And the sufficient economic means to live in Spain


Arraigo familiar will replace the community card in many cases


Another big change!

All relatives of Spanish citizens will now fall under the general regime, as their authorizations will bemade through the arraigo familiar, and not through the family member of an EU citizen card.

This includes the partner, spouse, descendants, and ascendants; as well as parents of Spanish children.

In the latter case, they would get their card as long as they cohabit jointly with the minor, or do not cohabit but are up to date with their parental obligations without cohabiting with the minor.

As for the ascendants of Spaniards, we also have very good news, as they will have it much easier.

There is a clear difference between two cases: those over 65 years of age who do not live with their dependents will be able to obtain their residence directly, and ascendants under 65 years of age will have to prove that they live with their dependents in order to formalize their family arraigo.

In addition, the possibility of caregivers of disabled persons who live with the disabled person’s family also being able to obtain this residence is incorporated.



New arraigo for training or studies


On the other hand, a new type of residence for exceptional circumstances has been created: the “arraigo para la formación” or arraigo for training.

This 1-year permit (renewable for an extra 12 months) will be granted to all foreigners who have been living in Spain continuously as an irregular resident for at least 2 years, and who decide to enroll in training or studies that will lead them to obtain an official or regulated qualification.

To obtain it, it will be necessary to commit to this training, but it cannot be just any type of study.

Basically, it must be within the list of permitted training, it cannot be online and it must last a maximum of 18 months.

In addition, you must start once you apply for this arraigo, within 6 months after submitting the application. Once this permit has been obtained, there is a 3-month margin to provide proof of registration.

After completing their studies, they could then switch to a work permit if they are able to find a job that offers a salary of minimum wage. It is important to note that the modification must be requested within the validity of the card, and will be granted for a period of 2 years.


The need to apply for compatibility or new employment or self-employed work permit after renewal is eliminated


Foreigners who have obtained an employed work permit and who want to become self-employed must make a modification or apply for compatibility if they want to have the possibility of enjoying both at the same time.

In other words, a complete and often tedious process to move from one regime to another.

The procedure to switch from one regime to another is often tedious and difficult and vice versa (those who want to switch from self-employment to employment also have to go through a specific procedure).

The new regulation removes this need, as once you renew your work permit for the first time, you can switch to employment or self-employment without having to go through any additional legal procedures.


Renewal of the family reunification card is now much more advantageous


Another of the most important measures that will benefit holders of a family reunification card has to do with its renewal.

Once the family reunification card is renewed, from now on the duration of this renewal will be equivalent to the duration of the card held by the main cardholder, even if the couple has dissolved or divorced.

For example, if the holder has a long-term residency, the reunited partner would also get a long-term residency upon renewal.

But that is not all.

In addition to this beneficial extension, this renewed card will allow for both employment and self-employment activities.


The new way to apply for your visa


This measure will save you a lot of time.

From now on, you will be able to formalize your visa application online at the Spanish consulate located in your country of origin.

This change is undoubtedly very advantageous since we avoid the need to 1. make an appointment (something that could take a long time), and 2. travel and go to the consulate to make the visa submission.


Creation of the “Unidad de Tramitación de Expedientes de Extranjería”


Before the entry of this revolutionary reform, many foreigners suffered long delays in the resolution of their cases.

Resolutions that should take, at most, 3 months, were delayed up to 8 or 10.

In order to mitigate this problem, the Unit for the Processing of Immigration Applications has been created, with the aim of speeding up these files and providing support to the most overloaded immigration offices.

This Unit will begin to operate at the beginning of 2023, so it will be fully possible to achieve much faster responses after then.


When does the new Immigration Law come into force?


Good news!

After much waiting (since these are undoubtedly revolutionary measures) this modification of the immigration law in Spain came into force on August the 16th, 2022.

As we mentioned in this blog, all those measures were published in the BOE on July the 27th, and they came into force 20 days after their publication.

Thus, many foreigners are already benefiting from all these novelties and big updates.

If you have any doubts or would like our expert team of lawyers to advise you step by step so that you can too, do not hesitate to contact us.


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