Rules around foreign labour will be relaxed. Archive image. SUR
Minister for migration allows more foreigners to work in Spain under new workplace training rules

Minister for migration allows more foreigners to work in Spain under new workplace training rules

The hours of training they must do in order to enter the Spanish labour market will be reduced, and courses will become easier to access

Lucía Palacios


Thursday, 18 May 2023, 21:59

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Foreign workers in Spain will no longer need to undertake the minimum 200 hours of training in order to enter the workforce under a new government scheme.

Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, will relax the requirements for immigrants living in the country illegally and grant them work permits so long as they undertake training courses, which can be taken on weekends and even online.

Up until now a minimum of 200 hours of training has been required to enter the labour market, an amount that the ministry deemed excessive as it involves six hours a day, and few people can devote that amount of time. It also had to be classroom-based, which made access an issue.

Escrivá's department has been battling with the Ministry of Labour and trade unions for months for their approval to bring in foreigners from other countries to fill the current labour shortage in construction, which needs about half-a-million workers.

But his proposal to include about 30 professions in the construction bracket was refused by Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz, arguing that there are almost three million unemployed workers who could fill those positions.

But Escrivá does not need Díaz's approval to modify the requirements for foreign workers' access to a training-based employment contract. He has already prepared an instruction that will be published shortly to make the work permit more flexible and already has the backing of the Minister of Labour, and the UGT as of Wednesday 17 May.

Inspired by the German model, it grants a residence permit for a period of 12 months to foreigners who have been living in Spain for a minimum of two years if they agree to undertake training courses. This authorisation may be extended for another 12 months if the course lasts more than one year. At the end of the training, if they have a contract, they receive a work permit for another two years.

"After six months, the organisations have let us know that unfortunately there are people, especially women, who find it very difficult to do such long courses in person. I think that the first instruction was too rigid," Escrivá said on Wednesday, who also pointed out that 22,000 requests have been received and 12,000 have been granted, but only 30% are women.

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