Being a migrant in search of a regular job is not an easy task in any country in the world. Bureaucratic processes, barriers in the form of language and cultural habits, distrust on the part of employers... all of these are reasons that make finding a legal job as a foreigner a real odyssey. And Spain is no exception.
Or, perhaps, it was not until August 15, 2022. Because the entry into force on that date of the reform of the Regulation of the Law on Foreigners carried out by the Spanish Government has, in a way, smoothed out the obstacles for irregular immigrants towards a legal job. And, therefore, towards the regularization of their situation in Spanish territory.
In this article we explain the most important points of this reform, led by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration of José Luis Escrivá.
Rooting by training
The most outstanding and innovative figure provided by this reform of the Immigration Law is that of the "arraigo por formación": a way of regularizing the situation of foreign emigrants, while at the same time filling job positions that are in short demand in Spain.
Any migrant who has been in Spain for more than two years may benefit from this measure. With it, they will be able to access a residence permit, valid for a period of one year, in exchange for obtaining job training. The profession in question will always be at the choice of the beneficiary, but he/she will receive more facilities in those sectors where the Spanish economy is experiencing a greater demand for labor. In addition, the occupational training provided by the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) will also be valid.
Thus, this new figure of "arraigo" for training joins the three previous cases that were raised in terms of "arraigo" in the Immigration Law (we will explain below the modifications that these ways have also undergone):
- Labor roots. This route has undergone certain changes, or rather, the interpretation of the previous regulations has been clarified in a more detailed manner, based on the rulings that have been obtained in relation to this figure, which allows those persons in an irregular situation who have been working in a regular situation for a period of six months in the last two years to apply for residency. In this sense, the reform of the Spanish Government will also promote the fight against the submerged economy through the figure of the confidant, for which six months of irregular work must be accredited, but it will entail the denunciation of the employer for work that has been carried out without registration in social security.
- Family roots. This allows those who are father, mother or guardian of a minor of Spanish nationality to obtain a residence permit; the children of a father/mother who have been Spaniards of origin; also spouses or common-law partners; descendants under 21 and over 21 who are dependents; and finally, the figure desired for the case in which the requirements to access a residence card as a European family member are not met, the family roots, which will be given to the parents of Spaniards. These will have to prove economic dependency only if they are under 65 years old. And they will obtain a residence authorization of five years of duration.
- And that of social roots, on which certain modifications have also been made. Now, the assessment of the contract presented to apply for a residence will no longer be assessed by its duration, but by its adequacy to the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI). In addition, such contract may be less than the minimum of 20 hours in the case of having minors in charge.
Another of the main beneficiaries of this reform of the Immigration Law will be foreign students who wish to combine their academic performance with their work. From now on, any student pursuing higher education studies will also be able to work, on a regular basis, up to a maximum of 30 hours per week. The excellent news is that this possibility of working, which can be either employed or self-employed, will be automatic as soon as the student obtains the authorization of stay for studies.
Not only that, but once they have finished their bachelor's, master's or doctoral studies, the student visa recipients will be able to stay for another year without having to request an extension of their stay to look for a job, by means of the residence permit for job search, which was already in the regulations.
The Spanish government's objective is twofold: to attract talent trained in its educational system and, at the same time, to facilitate its internationalization.
Recruitment at origin
The changes in the Immigration Law will also affect the hiring of workers in their countries of origin, whose requirements will be made more flexible.
As for the usual figure in the Spanish economy of seasonal workers, they will be able to access a four-year authorization to work for up to nine months per year. Their only obligation will be to return to their countries of origin in between. If they comply with the stipulations, they will then be able to apply for a two-year renewable permit for residence and work.
In addition, recruitment at origin will also be extended to the Catalog of Difficult-to-Cover Occupations, a list that will be more closely monitored from now on.
Finally, this new version of the Immigration Law will facilitate the regrouping of foreign families in Spain. Thus, family members arriving in Spanish territory will receive a work authorization for self-employment and employment, something that did not occur until now.
The requirements for family regrouping will also be made more flexible as far as they affect minors, people with disabilities, or those situations of vulnerability are concerned.
This is the first time in years that the public debate on immigration issues is not about borders. In addition, the amendments streamline the requirements for self-employed workers from third countries. Undoubtedly, the rooting for training, the possibility for foreign university students to look for a job for up to 30 hours, the relaxation of the requirements for hiring in origin and family regrouping are the main novelties of the new Immigration Law.