The current war conflict between Ukraine and Russia is generating a large number of movements and initiatives by all European countries. In the case of Spain, a series of immigration measures have started to crystallize as a result of the situation, and in this article we analyze the latest update.
How is the conflict between Russia and Ukraine affecting and how will it affect immigration in Spain? How will citizens of both countries be affected in their procedures and legal situation?
Let’s take a look.
The most remarkable point in the measures taken by the government is the regularization of Ukrainian citizens, something that is included in the Council Directive 2001/55/EC (an EU measure).
More specifically, all Ukrainian nationals who are displaced by the war, will be able to legally live, work (either self-employed or employed), and study legally in Spain for one year through a residence permit under international protection; which may be renewed for up to 3 more years.
And all this without the need to apply for asylum; although it will be the asylum office who will manage the applications.
This process has been established in record time, and allows these foreigners to obtain this residence very quickly (in less than 24 hours).
To whom would these measures apply? Basically to the following groups:
- Persons who were displaced from Ukraine from February 24, 2022, onwards due to Russia’s military invasion
- Ukrainian nationals who were staying in Spain before February 24, 2022, who, as a result of the armed conflict, are unable to return to Ukraine
- Ukrainian nationals who were in an irregular situation in Spain before February 24, 2022, and who, as a consequence of the armed conflict, cannot return to Ukraine
Other facilitating measures for Ukrainian citizens
Through a television interview, Spanish President Pedro Sanchez announced that a series of key measures would be initiated to help and protect the more than 100,000 Ukrainians currently living in Spain.
The aim of these measures is to enable them to work and live legally in the country, thus guaranteeing them access to work, education, and social policies.
Although we do not yet have the specific details, as we will have to wait for the publication of an instruction detailing all the conditions in this regard, how would this initiative be translated?
We can infer 3 key points, albeit speculatively at present.
Granting Ukrainians under a legal status who can’t currently work the capacity to do it
From the words of Pedro Sanchez we can also draw another conclusion.
If his aim is to guarantee access to work to Ukrainians living in Spain, this could also positively affect those who are not in an irregular situation, but under a stay status (such as those with student visas) or those who are holders of a residence permit that does not allow them to work (such as the non-profit residency or non-lucrative visa).
These groups could also be granted the ability to work in the country given the current war situation between Ukraine and Russia.
Faster application resolutions
Undoubtedly, it is a paralyzing situation to find yourself waiting for your immigration’s resolution.
Thus, it is possible that these new measures will also put the focus on resolving as quickly as possible all applications for residency submitted by Ukrainian citizens, in order for them to obtain their legal status immediately.
This would allow them, among other things, to start working as soon as possible (to generate an income that would be very useful for their families in the midst of the war conflict), or to move across the European Union to go wherever they are needed.
Although in the first section we mentioned a possible regularization for Ukrainians in Spain who are in an irregular situation, we would have to see what would happen with all those who enter and cross the Spanish borders from now on.
In principle, they would not benefit from this regularization, but they could be granted refugee status.
Measures affecting Russian citizens
Via the same TV interview in which legal measures were announced to help Ukrainians in Spain, the Spanish President also announced that Spain has nothing against the Russian people.
However, there are many economic sanctions that many countries in the world are imposing on Russia, especially the countries of the European Union.
Thus, we also find certain penalizing measures when it comes to immigration regulations affecting Russian citizens.
Visa issuance to Russian nationals partially suspended
The partial suspension of visas for Russian nationals is one of these immigration sanctions adopted by the European Union.
This measure, for the time being, does not affect the entire Russian population, but just those who are somehow related to the government, such as members of parliament, diplomats, official delegations, or representatives of business organizations.
Limitation on the issuance of golden visas
One of the most common ways used by many Russians to obtain residency in Spain is through investment.
By investing a minimum of €500,000 in real estate, many Russian nationals have obtained since 2013 their residence in Spain through what is known as golden visa.
Well, the issuance of this visa has been limited for now, becoming another important sanction that would affect the ability of free movement through the European Union to the Russian population.