How to bring non-EU world-class talent to Spain? Secrets of the fast track.

And there she is! Your company has been looking all over for a new specialist and you finally found the perfect person: she has the studies, the professional experience, the language skills and is a perfect fit for your team…and as it turns out, she is non-European national and living outside of the EU.

So how do you go about getting your new specialist a residency and work permit so that she can come to Spain and start working for you?

Fortunately, hiring highly qualified professionals for such a position is in most cases possible through a relatively quick and easy procedure, put in place specifically to bring in this type of workers to Spain. That said, in order to make the process as smooth as possible, you will need to analyze the profile of your company as well as that of your employee, to find the best way forward.

First of all, any of the procedures we will mention are designed for highly qualified workers: This means that the worker must hold a university degree or have an equivalent work experience relevant to the position offered of at least 5 years.

And let’s not forget about the position: we also need to prove that the position in itself is of such relevance that it needs to be covered by a highly qualified worker. And let us be frank about it – the salary is an essential element. It must be according to the relevance of the position (tasks corresponding to a highly qualified worker), which means that the basic net salary has to be between 35.000 and 42.000 euros annually.

Secondly, to be allowed to bring in highly qualified workers though this privileged procedure you need to comply with a second condition which relates largely to the characteristics of your company.


Option1: Large Dimension Companies

The first ones allowed to apply through the specific channel for highly qualified workers are companies of a large dimension. This means fulfilling one of the following conditions:

  • At least 250 workers employed in Spain.
  • An annual turnover of at least 50 million euros.
  • At least 43 million worth of patrimony in Spain.
  • Average foreign investment of at least 1 million euros for the three previous years.


Option 2: Companies strategic for the Spanish economy

If you are a small or middle- size company, you still have a chance, because you may be considered a strategic company for the Spanish economy. This may be so for various reasons:

  • Operating in a strategic sector (alternative energy sources and high-tech are usually considered activities that Spain is keen on having in Spain)
  • Creating job opportunities: if you are planning on hiring locally you may be able to prove that your company is strategic due to the creation of jobs in Spain)
  • Benefitting a certain region: if your overall project can be proven to strengthen a certain region and its production, this may also be a reason for Spain to consider your company strategic for the economy.

The decision on whether your company is strategic to the effects of applying through this channel will be decided by the Ministry of economy based on the documents you supply. In this case, they will issue a report certifying that you comply with this requirement and can bring in highly qualified workers.


Option 3: Graduates from especially prestigeous universities

Companies of any dimension and activity can process residency and work permits for highly qualified workers when the worker to be employed has graduated from an especially prestigious university.

There is no official list of especially prestigious universities but is advisable to be able to prove that the university is objectively highly prestigious, using f. ex international university rankings or other data available.

Do you comply with the above?

Congratulations! You should be able bring in and hire your worker from abroad in around 1-2 months.

If your worker or company does not fit in any of the profiles described above, do not despair! There are still other options. Do visit our article on Corporate strategy: When to hire locally and when to import non-EU talent (while surviving the immigration bureaucracy)? Here [link to the article BC9]. You will find there the specific steps and processing times for both the permit described above as well those of other options.

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