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2022 GUIDE: New Spanish Reform to the Immigration Regulation

Oct 28, 2022 | Immigration Spain, Spanish Nationality, Working Visas

Context to the Reforma Reglamento Extranjería 2022 

Being in an irregular or illegal status in Spain has become a common situation for thousands of foreigners every year. According to the newspaper El Confidencial, by 2020 it was estimated that there were between 390,000 and 470,000 foreigners undocumented in Spain. A huge number. 

This is due to various reasons, including delays and failures within the Spanish immigration system and a lack of Immigration officials. In a context in which most European countries are experiencing a phenomenon of staff shortages in different economic sectors, looking for people to fill available positions has become the number 1 priority for the government.

Given the situation, the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration passed on August of 2022, the Immigration Regulation Reform or the Reforma Reglamento ExtranjerÍa 2022, which aims to solve important deficiencies inside the immigration system, so that thousands of foreigners that are currently living and working “under the radar”, can finally begin their regularization.

With this new bill, getting a residency and work authorization to work for yourself or for others has become easier than ever! But not only do the new changes touch the job market. Processes like family reunification, the creation of an online visa application and residency renewals were also modified and improved. 

In this blog entry, we will unravel the twists and turns involving the new Reform to the Immigration Regulation, keep on reading to find out how the new add-ons affect your status. 

Main Updates Included in the Immigration Regulation Reform

Extension of the right to work for foreign students

The facilities created for international students are phenomenal. All the measures were created so that they too can become part of the labour market quicker and without so many hitches. Here are the changes:

  • The income obtained will not be limited.

Prior to the reform, working students could not receive a salary that would represent their main livelihood, nor would this salary be taken into account as a reason to request an extension of stay.

The latest change brings flexibility to this point and as of now, the economic benefits obtained from the work activity will not be limited, which opens students up to receive higher wages.

  • Changes in the maximum of hours that can be worked per week. 

Before the reform, students were authorized to work for themselves and for others, however, they were forced to formalize a written contract and were only allowed to work part-time.

This too has now changed. From now on, international students are allowed to work up to a maximum of 30 hours per week as long as the work activity is compatible with the completion of their studies. 

  • No geographic limitations.

The last interesting point added to the international student policy, is that they will now be able to work without geographical limitations.

This may open the door to allowing them to work remotely. We are still waiting for further instructions from the Ministry of Inclusion to determine the regulations on this.

Requesting Family Reunification will be easier

The most beneficial changes in this reform come for those interested in requesting family reunification. Keep on reading to find out why!

  • Decrease in income required to make the reunification.

From now on, the age, physical development of the regrouped, and relationship with the reunifier will be assessed to request a reunification. In addition, the minimum income required will be reduced, something that benefits those with lower incomes.

The new amounts to justify in all cases are as follows:

  1. If you earn the minimum interprofessional salary, which currently sits at 1,000 euros, you will be allowed to regroup all of your children.
  2. In the event that this amount is not reached, family reunification will be granted to minors if the reunifier accredits financial means from a stable source of income equal to or greater than the minimum interprofessional salary.
  3. In case of not reaching the minimum amount, for a family unit of two members, one of them being a minor, 110% of the amount of the guaranteed income of the Minimum Vital Income will be required on an annual basis and, for each minor of additional age, an additional 10% will be required with the maximum limit of 150% of said income.
  • New benefits when renewing the family reunification residency.

When a regrouped family member renews their residence card, from now on, its duration will be extended up to the reunifier’s residency authorization, even in cases where it is a couple that has dissolved their relationship or gotten a divorce.

In addition, the regrouped will be authorized to work for themselves or for someone else, good for them!

Modifications to the Labor Rooting (Arraigo Laboral)

The novelties of the Labor Rooting include 4 new policies created inside the Royal Decree 629/2022, which state the following:

  1. The labour rooting may be granted to any foreigner who proves to have lived in Spain continuously for a minimum period of 2 years and who is in an irregular situation at the time of the request. In addition, the policy of not having a criminal record is maintained as well as the requirement to prove the existence of labour relations whose duration is not less than 6 months.
  1. The second novelty is that it is only admissible to apply for labour rooting if you’ve been on a legal status of residency but not of work.
  1. The third novelty, and the most interesting, is that self-employment for at least 6 continuous months will be taken into consideration.
  2. And the fourth novelty indicates the types of evidence admitted to justify the employment relationship: Employment contracts of less than 30 hours per week in a period of 6 months or 15 hours per week in a period of 12 months are admitted. Any other means of evidence will also continue to be admitted, as has been the case since STS 452/2021.

Rooting by Training (Arraigo por la Formación)

This is quite a novelty. The Rooting by Training is a newly created rooting which seeks to regularize immigrants who have resided in Spain for at least 2 years in an irregular situation, through the completion of education courses or training.

This arraigo is divided into 2 parts, first a residence that will be granted and then a work permit. Continue reading to find out how it works.

First part of Rooting by Training: Residence

Residency through Rooting by Training will be granted for a period of 12 months to those foreigners who prove they’ve had a continuous stay in Spain for a minimum period of 2 years.

During the 12-month residency permit,  the foreigner must get trained and acquire a skill that will be useful for working. 

All applicants must cumulatively meet the following requirements:

a) Lack of a criminal record in Spain and in their country of origin or in the country or countries in which they have resided during the last 5 years.

b) Commit to carrying out any of the following studies:

  • Regulated training for employment or to obtain a certificate of professionalism.
  • Training that leads to obtaining certification of technical aptitude or professional qualification necessary for the exercise of a specific occupation.
  • Training promoted by the SEPE and oriented to the performance of occupations included in the Catalog of Occupations.
  • Permanent training of universities.
  • Courses to expand or update skills.
  • Other teachings of permanent formation.

c) Enroll in one of the courses and provide proof of enrollment within a period of 3 months from the moment you get notified of the granted residence permit.

Failure to do so will lead to a termination of said authorization. In cases where enrollment is subject to specific enrollment periods, proof of enrollment must be sent to the Immigration Office within a maximum period of 3 months from the end of said period.

This residence authorization may be extended only once for another period of 12 months in cases where the training lasts more than 1 year or its duration exceeds the validity of the first authorization granted.

Second part of the rooting by training: Work Permit

Once the training has been completed, and during the validity of the residence permit, the interested party must submit the application for a residence and work permit to the Immigration Office together with a work contract signed by an employer that guarantees at least the minimum interprofessional salary.

Family Rooting (Arraigo Familiar)

The Family Rooting or Arraigo Familiar is an authorization to reside in Spain, of a temporary nature and given on exceptional circumstances to foreign citizens who are in Spain and are either:

  • The father or mother of a Spanish or community citizen.
  • Children of a father or mother who had originally been Spanish. 

Under this regime, residence authorization is granted for 5 years, which enables you to work as an employee or be self-employed.

With the Reform to the Immigration Regulation, the assumptions for requesting family roots are expanded, allowing the regularization of:

  • Both foreigners who live with the minor and those who do not live together (ideal for parents who do not have custody of the minor after a separation or divorce): In this case, in which they do not live with the minor, it must be proven that the foreign citizen is up to date with its parent-child obligations, that is, he/she pays child support or complies with the agreed visits.
  • Spouse or “pareja de hecho” of a Spanish citizen: The Spanish community family card (Tarjeta de Familiar de Ciudadano) process will now be processed as Family Arraigo. The requirements, process, benefits and rights will stay the same, this just implies a name change. 
  • Guardian of a minor Spanish citizen: Before, this possibility was only possible as a father or mother.
  • The possibility of requesting family roots is maintained for sons and daughters of a father or mother who were originally Spanish.
  • Ascendants over 65 years of age and descendants under 21 years of age: You will no longer have to prove dependency on the Spanish citizen. By only proving the relationship you hold, you may benefit from this residence permit.
  • Ascendants under 65 years of age and descendants over 21 years of age: They must continue to prove that they are in charge of the Spanish citizen.

In these last two points, we can see a significant change in the procedure of family roots. Since it is not mentioned that sufficient economic means must be demonstrated for the maintenance of the person requesting residence, we can assume this requirement has been eliminated. 

Social Rooting (Arraigo Social)

The changes to Social Roots or Arraigo Social revolve around the types of contracts you must have and the financial means you must demonstrate to request this figure. Also, in this case, greater facilities were created to access and maintain roots.

Social roots can be presented for the following 3 reasons:

Work contract:

  • It no longer has to be an employment contract for a minimum of 1 year.
  • The minimum working hours is 30 hours per week.
  • If the applicant has dependents in charge, they may submit a contract of 20 hours per week.
  • If the applicant requires support measures for the exercise of their legal capacity, they may submit a contract of 20 hours per week.
  • In the agricultural industry, more than 2 contracts are allowed.
  • Various contracts are admitted in the development of activities of different occupations and different employers.

Self-employed (in this sense there is no change):

  • Own economic means: it goes from having to prove 400% of the IPREM to 100% of the annual IMV.


  • A minimum work season of 6 months and 30 working hours per week.

Temporary Residence Authorization Due to Exceptional Circumstances of Collaboration with Public Authorities, Reasons of National Security or Public Interest (Article 127 of the Regulation)

The General Directorate of Migration may grant a collaboration authorization with the competent labour administration to those who prove to the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate, by any means of proof, that they are working in an irregular situation for a minimum period of 6 months in the last year, and that they meet the requirements of article 64.2. of this regulation, with the exception of section a). This authorization will have a duration of one year and will enable you to work as an employee or self-employed. The request may be submitted by the interested person or by the labour authority.

The possibility of a residence is added to people who prove to the Labor inspectorate that they have worked irregularly for 6 months in the last year. It is a kind of labour settlement for people who work in an irregular situation, but have to demonstrate collaboration with the Labor Inspectorate.

Extension of the Occupations Catalog and Hiring at Origin

Occupations Catalog

Before the Reform, there was the possibility that foreigners were hired from their countries of origin when there was a shortage of personnel for certain specific roles in Spain. These roles had to be included in the Occupations Catalog with Difficult Coverage or the employer had to request a certificate from SEPE that demonstrated the insufficiency of job seekers for the concrete position.

This was very difficult to do in practice since the Catalog of Occupations was a very short list of unfilled positions, and the SEPE put up many obstacles to grant the employer the certificate of insufficient job seekers.

With the new reform, it was agreed that the SEPE will elaborate every 3 months, a new Catalog of occupations for each province or territorial demarcation, in order to periodically expand the list of vacancies.

Hiring at Origin and Certificate of Insufficient Job Seekers

The improvement of hiring at origin seeks to expand and facilitate the process of hiring temporary foreigners. Foreign workers will continue to be hired by obtaining the insufficient job seekers certificate, with the difference that now the term for requesting the certificate is shortened to 8 days.

In addition, one of the obstacles that the SEPE interposed in this process was eliminated, which was to validate if any Spanish citizen met the requirements for the vacancy. This means that to obtain the certificate, the announcement of the vacancy must only have 8 days of publication within the Employment portal, and if after that time there has not been a recruited worker, the certificate will be issued in 3 days.

At Carbray we are somewhat sceptical about this measure, despite the fact that they have shortened the delivery time for the certificate, it is still difficult to obtain it due to other obstacles that the SEPE puts in place.

In addition, it was included in the reform, a 4-year work authorization that will allow these foreign workers hired from their origin place, to be employed for 9 months each year. If the workers return to their countries at the end of the season, they will be rewarded with a residence and work authorization for 2 years, extendable, with which they will be able to live and work in Spain as an employee and on their own.

Temporary Residence and Self-Employment

This point comes with 2 important changes that promote greater facilities to access self-employment. The new policies are:

  • The requirement for foreigners to have sufficient economic resources for their maintenance and lodging is eliminated.
  • The possibility of self-employment is added as a form of job creation.

All other points remain as they were previously.

Renewal of the Residence and Self-Employment Authorization

This novelty will extend the residence and self-employment renewal terms to 4 years instead of 2, which cuts off the pain of having to go through the renewal process in short spans of time.

  • Additionally, getting a renewal will become much more flexible thanks to the elimination of situations of supervening irregularity. 
  • Another incredible new benefit is that you will now just have to work 3 months instead of 6 and have actively sought employment (with registration in the SEPE), in order to renew your initial residence and work authorization.
  • The last novelty on this point is that self-employment renewal will allow you to work as an employee as well.

Creation of the Unit for the Processing of Immigration Applications –

Unidad de Tramitación de Expedientes de Extranjería

Before the entry of this revolutionary reform, many foreigners suffered long delays in the resolution of their cases. Resolutions that should take, at most, 3 months, were delayed up to 8 or 10 months.

In order to mitigate this problem, the Unit for the Processing of Immigration Applications has been created, with the aim of speeding up these files and providing support to the most overloaded immigration offices.

This Unit will begin to operate at the beginning of 2023, so it will be fully possible to achieve much faster responses after then.

Online Application for Spanish Visas Created

A new digital path that will allow you to apply online for your visa has been created. This measure comes in super handy and will save you a lot of time.

From now on, you will be able to formalize your visa application online at the Spanish consulate located in your country of origin.

This measure will avoid the need of having to make an appointment at the Consulate (something that could take a long time), and mobilizing there.

To get help with your immigration process and speed-up your request, contact our team of experts by clicking here.