Labor Arraigo in Spain: Arraigo after working in the country

labor arraigo

Have you been living in Spain in an irregular situation while also working in the country? Then it is very likely that labor arraigo is your best option to legalize your situation. In this article we will explore everything you need to know about this immigration procedure.

The labor arraigo (or arraibo laboral) is a type of residence under exceptional circumstances that can be obtained by foreigners who have resided in Spain illegally for 2 years.

In other words, it is the procedure for foreigners that allows those without papers who have been in Spanish territory for 24 months to regularise their situation and obtain a regular residence permit.

Nevertheless, unlike the other two types of arraigo procedures, this one presents a particularity that makes it a little more complex.

In order to apply for a work arraigo, the foreigner must demonstrate an employment relationship of at least 6 months. In other words, during the two years that he was in Spain illegally, he must have worked for at least 183 days.

What will make this process complicated is the fact that in order to prove this employment relationship, we must “report” the employer to the Spanish authorities, either through administrative or judicial procedures.

Related laws

The specific immigration laws that regulate this procedure are specified through the Organic Law 4/2000, in Royal Decree 557/2011.

Main differences with social arraigo

While it is true that both types of arraigo require an employment contract and hence many people tend to confuse them, these are two totally different procedures.

So, what are the main differences between them?

Firstly, the years the foreigner must have lived illegally in Spain. While for the arraigo laboral that is only 2 years, for social roots you must have lived 3 years in total in the country.

On the other hand, from the job offer end, the situation is also different.

As we have already mentioned, in order to get work arraigo you must have worked in Spain, although illegally. This is not the case with social roots, whose main requirement is to have a job offer from an employer.

In other words, if you want to apply for social roots you don’t need to have worked in Spain, but you do need to consider doing so immediately thanks to the offer you have received.

Do you have any doubts? Get in touch with our immigration lawyers and receive personalized legal advice and all your doubts solved:

Consequences for your employer

Many foreigners are reluctant to initiate this procedure because of the consequences for their employer.

That is, in order to get labora arraigo, you need to inform the authorities that you are working illegally for a company.

In other words, you must report the person who gave you a job.

Of course, once the authorities know about the situation, they will impose a financial penalty on the company, which can be up to 10,000 euros.

We find here a moral problem that the foreigner must face.

However, this has a solution. If you do not want to harm the employer who has been paying you, you can always wait an extra year and apply for social roots as long as the company offers you a valid job contract.

Main requirements

Which are the requirements you must meet in order to apply for this type of arraigo?

  • Not having criminal records, either in Spain or in your country of origin, or wherever you have been living for the past 5 years.
  • Not being an EU citizen
  • Not having relatives in Spain, since that way you should opt for family arraigo instead.
  • The most important one: to demonstrate the working relationship. That is to say, that you have worked illegally for a minimum of 6 months in Spain.
  • Copy of your complete passport.
  • NIE number if you ever had it.
  • Padrón, with which you will be able to demonstrate that you have been in Spain for 2 years. If you have been less  han 2 years in the country, is it possible that soon you may be able to benefit from a new residency very similar to this type of arraigo but without those 2 years as a requirement. You can learn more about this update here.
  • Any other type of proof regarding the duration of your continued stay: such as health cards, entry stamp, etc.
  • Payment of the corresponding fee.
  • Form EX-10

How can I demonstrate the labor relationship?

As we have mentioned, in order to prove that you have worked for at least 6 months in Spain you must report your employer.

To do this, you need a resolution, with which you can go to the immigration office and apply for your regularization.

And this resolution can be obtained in two different ways: 

The administrative path

In this first case, you can prove that you have been working illegally through a labor inspection.

The competent authority here, the Spanish Social Security, will be the one carrying out the inspection.

In other words, you will have to go to the Social Security office to report the irregularity of your working relationship. You will report it by indicating how much you get paid, how many hours a week you work, etc.

It will be crucial that you state which are your usual working hours, so that when the person in charge of the inspection arrives at the office, he or she will find you working there.

This will cause the employer to be fined, and thanks to the administrative resolution or act that will be issued after the inspection, you will be able to apply for the labor arraigo.

The court process

In this second case, the document you will obtain will be a sentence from a judge stating that you have been working unofficially. 

You will opt for this route as long as you have been notified (either by email, phone or message) that the employment relationship has ended

That is, when you get fired, even if there’s no contract.

Hence, to prove that you were indeed working for the company you have two options here:

  1. Draw up a bureaufax in which you explain the entire employment relationship, the time it has lasted, salary, and duties; requiring the employer or company to send you a letter of dismissal. You will send this bureaufax to the post office (Correos) requesting acknowledgment of receipt and with the content certification (this is key). You will have 72 hours from the time you are notified of the working relationship termination to finish this process.
  2. If you have missed those 3 days, you can choose another option: claiming amounts. Here you have up to 1 year after you get fired.

In both cases, you’ll need a lawyer to formalize the process.

Working History Report

Finally, we also encounter a third and very advantageous option.

Thanks to a new instruction of the Supreme Court, it is now also possible to apply for labor arraigo if the foreigner was working in a legal situation, but then she turned illegal for whatever reason. 

In such cases, if the foreigner can prove the minimum of 6 months required through the employment history report, the procedure would be possible.

This is what happens with many red cardholders who apply for labor roots.

And what happens if I've been working for less than 6 months?

It is likely that at the time you want to apply for arraigo laboral you have worked for a total of fewer than 6 months.

What happens then? 

Good news: there is a possibility to apply anyway.

Article 127 of the Law on Foreigners states that, provided that the foreigner has collaborated with the public authorities to promote the public interest, he may formalize his arraigo no matter what.

That is to say, since you have helped the Spanish justice system by condemning and pointing out the labor irregularity that occurred in your company by employing you illegally, you may be exempted from the few days/months that you were missing to reach the necessary 6. 

Can I apply for labor arraigo as a self-employed worker?

So far we have talked about the case in which the foreigner has worked ilegally (who tout a job contract) for a company, but what happens if she has worked as a self-employed worker?

Well, after the latest update of the immigration law, now the self-employed can also apply for labor arraigo.

If you want more information, here you can access an article with all the details and specific requirements.

Application procedure step by step

Once you have all the above-mentioned documents and meet the requirements, you must go to the immigration office to formalize the application.

The administration has 90 days to respond after receiving your application.

Once you receive a positive response, you will have 1 month to go and pick up your TIE or physical residence card.

Please note that this authorization allows you to live in Spain for 1 year.

After this period, you can make a renewal. But for that it will be very important to have been contributing to social security; that is, to have been working for a company. You can access here a complete guide on how to renew your labor arraigo.

Start your arraigo laboral application here

Now that you know all the requirements, are you in the right position to apply for arraigo laboral?

Then don’t wait any longer. Our team of immigration lawyers will carry out all the legal procedures for you.

And if you still have doubts or would like to explore other ways to get the residency, we will answer all your questions in depth:

Get in touch with our lawyers and let us guide you step by step:

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