7 important changes to long-term visas in Spain

7 Important Changes to Long-Term Visas in Spain

Spain recently revised its employment law and some of the changes affect long-term visas in Spain, particularly those for employment. The changes come into effect from 16 August and will hopefully facilitate visa applications for third-country foreigners wishing to work in Spain. 

In this article, we list the main changes and the visa applications most affected by them. 

Read our guide to long-term visas in Spain

Automatic additions to the list of difficult-to-fill occupations

One of the biggest obstacles facing employers wanting to contract third-country nationals to work for them in Spain is the requirement that priority is given to foreigners already legally in Spain or Spaniards themselves. 

This obstacle was made even more difficult to overcome by the list of difficult-to-fill occupations (known as the Catálogo de Ocupaciones de Difiícil Cobertura). While in theory, this list should have included a variety of roles, in practice, the only jobs deemed difficult to fill were in professional sports or on boats. 

The latest modification changes this situation. From mid-August 2022, jobs will automatically be added to the list in any economic sector determined by the Economic Matters Commission. This should open the doors to a much wider variety of available occupations and respond effectively to employers’ needs. 

New multi-year residence permits 

The current model of circular migration is improved under the changes from mid-August onwards. New multi-year permits will be available, allowing the holder to work for 9 months a year for 4 years. In addition, this type of permit will be available in any sector where there’s a shortage of workers. 

Unified department for immigration procedures

Spain is gradually working towards a ‘one-stop’ shop for immigration and moving away from the current provincial model. The new department, UTEX (Unidad de Tramitación de Expedientes de Extranjería), will speed up the paperwork as well as unifying all criteria throughout Spain. 

More work possibilities for students 

The modifications make it easier for students to work as well as study in Spain and aim to attract international talent. Under the new regulations, students may work and study providing that their employment is compatible with their studies and is for a maximum of 30 hours a week. 

In addition, it’s now easier to continue to work in Spain once the academic side is complete and students no longer have to have been in Spain for three years beforehand.

Find out more about student visas

Updates to ties with Spain 

Spanish immigration regulations have many aspects to do with your ties to aspects of life in Spain, known as arraigo in Spanish. They are particularly important for renewals of work and residence permits. The latest modifications make changes to these too, as follows: 

Employment ties 

While the requirements remain unchanged, there are changes to how you can prove that you have worked for the last two years. You may present any proof that shows you were employed for at least 30 hours a week for 6 months or 15 hours a week for 12 months or were self-employed on a continuous basis for at least 6 months. 

Family ties 

Third-country nationals with the following ties with a Spanish national now qualify for a 5-year work permit as an employee or self-employed: 

  • Spouse or partner. 
  • Ascendants over 65 or dependent relatives under 65.
  • Descendants under 21 or dependent relatives over 21. 

Occupational training ties 

The latest changes in long-term visas for residency in Spain also contemplate ties with Spain through occupational training. A 12-month residence permit is now available for foreigners who have lived in Spain for at least the previous two years if they commit to professional training for employment. This type of permit may be renewed for a further 12 months. 

Family reunification 

There are two changes in family reunification in Spain

  • Requirements have been introduced for Spanish nationals who wish to keep their family in Spain, an aspect excluded from previous immigration regulations. 
  • Family reunification is now simpler for foreign minors and relatives who are disabled or in a vulnerable situation in their home country. 

Employment and self-employment compatibility

If you wish to take a job and work for yourself, you no longer have to prove that both are compatible in terms of their characteristics, duration and working hours. 

Get help with long-term visas in Spain 

If you’d like to live and work in Spain and need help with your visa application, get in touch with our team. They have extensive experience in the procedures and can help you submit the right paperwork to ensure maximum chances of success.

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