SPAIN – Changes to “Entrepreneurs Law” Include New EU Intracompany Transfer Authorisation
Effective 30 July 2015, a new law (Ley 25/2015) amending the “entrepreneur’s law” (Ley 14/2013) introduces some significant changes, especially in the investor and intracompany transfer categories.
New Intracompany Transfer Category
The new law states that there are now two categories of intracompany transfer (ICT) authorisation – new EU ICT category and the existing “national” ICT category:
- The new EU (European Union) ICT authorisation has a maximum validity of three years for directors and specialists and one year for trainees. Processing time is 20 days, according to the new law.This authorisation can also be used to work in other EU member states. For example, a non-EU national holding an EU ICT authorisation from another EU country can enter Spain after communicating with the Unidad de Grandes Empresas” (“UGE” or Special Unit of Large Companies) and can start work once they have registered in Spain.
- The existing (“national”) ICT category is still in place for applicants other than directors, specialists and trainees, or once the maximum validity of the EU ICT authorisation has been reached.
The EU intra-corporate transferees directive (2014/66/EU, adopted in May 2014) must be transposed by the EU member states into their legislation by 29 November 2016.
This directive complements three existing legal migration directives setting out the admission criteria for and the rights of highly qualified third- country workers: the EU Blue Card directive on highly qualified workers (adopted in May 2009), the Single Permit directive on third-country workers legally residing in an EU member state (adopted in December 2011) and the Seasonal Workers directive (adopted in 2014).
Changes for Investors
- Investors no longer need to obtain an investment visa to be able to apply for a residence permit, if they are already in Spain with a different legal status, but can apply for residence authorisation directly;
- An investor can now appoint a representative to submit their immigration applications in Spain, and is no longer required to appear in person;
- A six-month investment visa can now be obtained if a property purchase is in process but not yet completed;
- the new law also regulates in detail the investment required in various categories of investment fund to obtain an investment visa and/or residence status.
Companies Employing Highly Qualified Employees
The new law regulates the registration process for companies registering under corporate criteria to apply for work authorisation for highly qualified foreign nationals, and specifies the validity of the registration and how to report any changes to the UGE.
- Directors, specialists and trainees can take advantage of the EU mobility benefits of the new EU ICT authorisation;
- Companies registering to employ highly-qualified foreign nationals under corporate criteria should ensure that they report any changes correctly to UGE;
- Investors can consider entering Spain with a non-Investor status, and appointing a representative to manage their immigration applications.