Salaries of foreign highly qualified workers drawing greater scrutiny

19 Jul 18

SPAIN

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Spanish authorities have begun to more closely scrutinize the proffered salaries for foreign highly qualified workers applying for residence permits under the Entrepreneurs Act.

What does the change mean? Employers should no longer consider €30,000 per year the threshold salary for highly qualified workers and should anticipate rejections on the grounds that salaries in that range do not correspond to a “highly qualified” job role. Although this threshold was not official, it was generally used as a baseline.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Residence permits under the Entrepreneurs Act.
  • Who is affected: Companies recruiting and hiring highly qualified foreign employees.
  • Business impact: Employers should review their salaries in conjunction with the roles to be filled that must require high qualifications.
  • Next steps: Employers should anticipate that residence permit applications may be rejected because authorities do not view the salaries to be sufficient for a highly qualified position. Employers should consider increasing salaries for highly qualified workers to meet the minimum salary level that the government sets for EU Blue Card holders, which is 1.5 times the average salary in the company’s sector.

Background: The Entrepreneurs Act does not refer to the salary threshold. The general immigration framework, however, refers to the minimum salary threshold in relation to highly qualified workers applying for EU Blue Cards, which is 1.5 times the average salary in the company’s field.

BAL Analysis: Companies should anticipate delays in start dates and the need to adjust salaries for highly qualified foreign employees applying for their initial permits. Although using the EU Blue Card threshold does not guarantee that the salary will be acceptable, employers are encouraged to use it as a starting point and conduct a case by case assessment of other factors that are specific to the job role. BAL can assist in the assessment.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Spain. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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