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Changes in the rights of minor immigrants in Spain

January 10, 2022

On Tuesday 19th October the Government approved the modification of the rights and freedoms of unaccompanied minors and minors under guardianship in order to obtain residency and work permits in a simpler administrative process. This modification by the BOE has come into effect on the 9th November 2021, and it favors the integration of young people separated from their parents so that it is easier to gain financial independence; it is foreseen that 15,000 minors will benefit from these reforms.

The reform is based on 9 elements, all of which have been put into place to ease the process of social integration of adolescents who in the past have faced many obstacles before being legally able to stay and work in Spain. The reforms are as follows:

  • The reform of Article 196 will simplify the documenting procedures for minors- the deadline proving the impossibility of return has changed from 9 months to 3 months. This is so that if they are repatriated, the authorisation granted would be denied.
  • It will not be necessary for foreign minors of legal working age to obtain a work permit.
  • The number of authorizations to unaccompanied foreign minors will increase. The initial authorisation will be valid for 2 years, and then the renewal valid for 3 years if the person is under legal age.
  • Article 197 states that if an unaccompanied foreign minor already has a valid residence permit, it will be continued once they reach the legal age, also giving them a valid work permit.
  • For the renewal of this residence, they must have sufficient financial means that match the minimum living income unless they are supported by a public or private foster-care institution. If the young person is employed studying or training, then this will be considered; this minimum wage is to ensure that the young person is able to cover living expenses in Spain. They will also be subject to a full criminal background check.
  • This will be valid for 2 years and then will be renewed for another 2 years if the conditions expressed in 5 are met.
  • The foreign minors who reach legal age without authorisation, they will be able to access a residence and work permit with the same requirements.
  • Undocumented people between the ages of 18 and 23 will be able to access the authorizations provided for minors who reach the age of majority without documents- so that they are not condemned to social exclusion.
  • Regarding the processing of documentation, 3rd party procedures are an option if it is recognized by a notary or apud acta. Online submission of documents is also prioritized to improve the agility of the immigration offices.

Anna Klevtsova

Anna holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and is a Certified Lawyer with the Bar Association of Barcelona. With more than 20 years of legal practice in International Law, Anna specialises in business set-up, investment transactions, and immigration strategies.

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