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From September this year, Spain offers new migratory opportunities to foreign nationals, not belonging to The E.U. – mainly to those following higher education programs or having completed them recently.
The implementation of the Directive 2016/801/UE has led to two new types of residence permits, the residence permit for seeking a job or to undertake a business Project and the residence permit for internships or scholarships.
The residence permit for internships covers both curricular and extracurricular internships (the studies can be conducted in Spain, under a student permit, or abroad) performed on the basis of an agreement and also a training employment contract, linked to a degree in higher education, obtained during the two years prior to the submission of the application.
It is required that the foreign national is not in Spain illegally. He/She must hold public or private medical insurance, be economically reliable and have no criminal record in the countries where he has resided during the five years prior to the submission of the application.
The deadline for resolving the application is 30 days and silent consent applies (if the authorities do not meet the deadline, the application must be understood as approved).
Once the application is approved, if the foreign national was in Spain at the moment of its submission, he would be authorised to start working. And in the case of authorisations with a validity longer than six months, he/she would need to apply for the residence card. Otherwise, he/she would need to submit a visa application and,
once approved, enter into the country during the visa validity, start working and submit the residence card application, if applicable.
From an immigration perspective, this option is quite interesting. As for the speed of the process, we must add that the labour market test is not taken into consideration to resolve the application, which makes it feasible. Also, very important, the time spent in the country under this permit will be taken into consideration to apply for the Spanish nationality because it is a residence permit and not a long term stay permit.
The residence permit for seeking a job or undertaking a business project, allows residence in Spain for a maximum period of 12 months, for the purpose of finding a job or starting a business project. This right is granted to student permit holders, having completed a higher education program and having obtained a degree of at least level 6, according to the European Qualification System.
It is required that the foreign national is not in Spain illegally. He must hold public or private medical insurance be economically reliable and have no criminal record in the countries where he has resided during the five years prior to the submission of the application.
The application must be submitted during the 60 days, prior to the expiration of the student permit or during the 90 days afterwards. The submission extends the validity of the permit until the resolution of the application.
The deadline for resolving the application is 20 working days and silent consent will apply (if the authorities do not meet the deadline, the application must be understood as approved).
Once the application is approved, the foreign national must apply for the residence card.
From an immigration perspective, this option has the advantage of being fast and allows students to remain in the country to find a job, according to the degree obtained, or to undertake a business project. In addition, the time spent in Spain under this permit would be considered to apply for the Spanish nationality, on the basis of residence grounds. It is important to highlight, however, that unless the foreign national has resided in the country for one year or a legal exception applies, when finding a job, the labour market test will be applied in order to resolve the work permit application.
Finally, it is worth highlighting the new possibility of submitting a student permit application directly in Spain, avoiding the visa application submission in the Spanish Consulate in the origin or residence country.
Foreign nationals legally staying in Spain (even as visitors) are now allowed to submit the student permit application directly in Spain in the immigration office, provided they do so at least one month before the day they should leave Spain, according to their stay/residence permit.
In the case of foreign nationals that are registered in Higher Education Programs, the Higher Education Institution is also authorized to submit the application.
The deadline for resolving the application is one month.
Once the application is approved, if the foreign national was in Spain at the time of its submission, he/she must submit the residence card application, in case the student permit has a validity longer than six months. In case the foreigner was not in Spain, when submitting the application, he/she should apply for the student visa and, once in Spain, he/she should submit the residence card application, if required.
As a conclusion, Spain currently provides very attractive options, from an immigration perspective, to foreign higher education students mainly regarding their integration into the labour market.

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