Labour modifications in international mobility for entrepreneurs in Spain

Continuing from the first part of this article, this section expands on the amendments to Law 14/2013, which include several changes to international mobility, the facilitating procedures for issuing visas and residence permits for entrepreneurs, and highly qualified professionals and for transferring workers or professionals.

This Law also includes an amendment concerning the seizure of permanent residences of self-employed workers due to Social Security debts.

Entrepreneurs and business activity

  • For the Law, entrepreneurial and business activities are those that are innovative with special economic interest for Spain and with a favourable report from the competent body of the General Administration of the State.
  • The creation of jobs in Spain is particularly encouraged. The Law will also take into account the professional profile of the contractor, the business plan and its financing and benefit to the Spanish economy, the innovation or investment opportunities.
  • The Law allows the application for a one-year visa to carry out the required procedures to develop the business activity. Where it has been shown that the effective start of the business activity has begun, it will be possible to access residence status for entrepreneurs without requiring a minimum period of stay.
  • Similarly, foreigners seeking entry to Spain or holders of a residence permit or visa, seeking to initiate, develop or direct an economic activity as an entrepreneur are provided with a residence permit.
  • In addition to the general requirements, it will be necessary to fulfil the necessities for the start of the activity established in the corresponding sectoral legislation.

Highly qualified professionals

Companies that require the incorporation of professional foreign workers for the development of a work or professional relationship will be able to request a residence permit for highly qualified professionals.

Such work or professional relationship should be included in any of the following cases:

  • The executive or highly qualified personnel belongs to a company or group of companies that meets any of the following characteristics:
    • Average staff over the past three months more than 250 workers in Spain
    • The volume of annual business net turnover is more than 50 million Euros in Spain or the volume of equity or net worth is more than 43 million Euros in Spain
    • The annual average gross investment coming from abroad is no less than 1 million Euros in the three years immediately preceding the filing of the application
    • Companies with a stock investor or position value of more than 3 million Euros according to the latest figures from the Spanish Investment Register
    • In the case of small and medium companies established in Spain, membership in a sector is considered strategic.
  • These companies will be able to apply for collective processing of permits to carry out intra-group transfers of professionals.
  • Top management or highly qualified staff that form part of a business project involving and is considered to be of general interest:
    • By creating direct job positions
    • Maintaining employment
    • By creating jobs in their industry or geographical area
    • Extraordinary investment with socio-economic impact in their geographical area
    • Interest in commercial trade policy and investment in Spain
    • Relevant contribution to scientific innovation and/or technology.
  • Graduates and postgraduates from prestigious universities and business schools.

Equally, visas and residence permits will be granted to foreigners wishing to engage in training, research, development and innovation activities in public or private entities provided for in the Law.


The Law regulates visa and residence permits for foreigners specifically in the context of a labour, professional or vocational training relationship with a company or group of companies established in Spain or in another country moving to Spain.

To do this, they should conform to the following requirements:

  • The existence of a real business activity
  • Advanced degree or equivalent, or three years of professional experience
  • The existence of a prior and continuous three-month relationship with one or more of the companies in the group
  • Documentation proving the company transfer.

The seizure of permanent residence due to Social Security debt

  • To facilitate a second opportunity for self-employed workers affected by an administrative debt enforcement procedure, Law 14/2013 establishes a change consisting of the extension (from one to two years) of the period that must elapse between the notification of the first seizure proceeding and the auction, contest or any other administrative means of disposal, when affecting the self-employed worker’s permanent residence.
  • Thus, for purposes of satisfaction and collection of tax debts, and any kind of debt that is subject to the tax collection process in the field of the Spanish Social Security System, by administratively seizing real property, if the self-employed worker reliably confirms that the residence constitutes a permanent residence, the execution of the seizure will be subject to two conditions. First, that there are no other known assets of the debtor sufficiently susceptible to the immediate realization in the executive process, and second, that a minimum period of two years must pass between the notification of the first seizure proceeding and the auction, contest or any other administrative means of disposal. This period will not be interrupted nor will it be suspended, in any case, in the events of extensions of the original seizure or the cases of the registry entries.

For further information on international mobility for entrepreneurs in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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