The Spanish government has realized that the world has changed. That there is no time to lose. In this new post-pandemic reality, in which residence permits and citizenships have become invaluable assets for individuals and states, Spain has taken its first step. From now on, the requirements to enter the country as a foreign audiovisual professional have been considerably lowered.
The objective of the measure is twofold. On the one hand, it seeks to adapt to the times to come. On the other hand, to turn the country into a center of world audiovisual productions. A direction that President Pedro Sánchez had already announced during his visit to the USA last July, when he stated that he would seek to make Spain "the Hollywood of Europe". Now, these aspirations have become law.
The final approval of this new Order PCM/1238/2021 on migratory matters took place last November 12, 2021. It was there that the instructions determining "the procedure for the entry and stay of third-country nationals working in the audiovisual sector" were made official. A new regulation will reduce the bureaucratic procedures that the professionals of this sector have to face in order to stay for work in Spain.
As is well known, the audiovisual sector has been immersed in an unprecedented revolution since before COVID-19. Platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, HBOMax, Peacock, Quibi and Apple have completely transformed the audiovisual consumption model. But not only that.
According to the Olsberg-SPI5 report, the sum of investments made in 2019 by these types of companies accounted for $177 billion, generating 14 million jobs worldwide. Moreover, this growth is expected to increase in the coming years. And all this will have an expansive effect in fields that at first may seem far away. This would include, for example, tourism, where the impact of audiovisual productions is increasingly noticeable -just look at the case of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe — Vizcaya (Game of Thrones).
With this in mind, the Spanish government drew up the "Digital Spain 2025" plan (ED2015), in which the main focus was to improve Spain's attractiveness as a European audiovisual platform. The objective was to increase audiovisual production in Spain by 30% by 2025.
Spain has a good starting position, both in terms of infrastructure and national talent, but until recently it had to face a flaw: the bureaucratic processes for the entry of talent from the hand of foreign productions. This is what has been tried to change with the legal modifications of November 12, 2021.
This new legislation promoted by the government will be open to all foreign artists, technicians and professionals who are going to carry out activities in the audiovisual sector, artistic activities in front of the public or for the recording of any kind for broadcasting by different mass media.
Its most important features are the following:
- It will no longer be required to prove work experience of at least three years or to present a degree; nor will it be required to have a previous work relationship of three months with the contracting company.
- The deadlines for resolving requests have been shortened: between 10 and 20 days for the State to issue a response.
- There will be a first path for audiovisual professionals who will stay in Spain for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. They will be exempt from the obligation to obtain a work authorization.
- A second route will be that which allows them to stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days, up to a maximum of 180, In these cases, foreigners may obtain a visa that will be sufficient for them to stay and work in Spain for the duration of their stay.
- A residence permit has also been developed as a single permit for foreigners who will reside and work in the audiovisual sector for more than 180 days.
- In addition, in all these cases, artists or professionals may stay in Spain with their spouses or partners, minor or adult children and dependent family members. Or, if the professional is a minor, they will be allowed to stay in Spain with their parents or guardians.
In short, this process puts Spain at the forefront of international audiovisual production, a sector that is undoubtedly booming. And as we have been warning in recent times, it does so through one of the assets that can bring most benefits to individuals and states: migration and its regulation.
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