Will we have a massive regularization of foreigners under an irregular situation in Spain this year 2023?
There are many sources that have already informed about the popular initiative that has reached the Congress for its vote.
And in this article, you are about to discover all its details, as well as the possible deadlines by which this regularization could come into force, its current status, and its possible requirements.
So if you are already in Spain without a valid residence permit, this is of great interest to you, so make sure to keep reading!
A popular initiative for mass regularization reaches Congress
During the past weeks, there have been many rumors and news about a big movement that seeks the regularization of more than 500,000 foreigners who are currently in Spain without a valid residence permit or visa (that is, under an irregular situation).
What during 2022 led a Senegalese citizen who has been living in Spain for more than 20 years to start collecting signatures has now become a law proposal that has reached the Congress of Deputies for its voting.
This is because the Spanish regulation allows the opening of a popular legislative initiative that the government must debate as long as the population achieves more than half a million signatures (which has been fulfilled).
As we have mentioned, this proposal has the main purpose of achieving a massive regularization of foreigners. That is to say, to allow many of those who are in Spanish territory in an irregular situation to obtain their residence and work permit directly.
What is the purpose behind it and for what reasons could the government want to approve it?
Well, as the leaders of this proposal point out, there are currently many foreigners in the country who could contribute to the Spanish economy and taxation if they were recognized the right to work legally, in addition to being able to eliminate an important part of the submerged economy that would become a direct contribution to the system through taxes.
Currently in Spain there are an estimated 350,000 to 500,000 foreigners in an irregular situation, 66% of whom are of working age. This regularization could mean an increase in the country’s revenue of more than €3,000 per person per year thanks to this group of the population starting to work legally after regularization.
Who may benefit from this regularization?
While this proposal may sound like a great idea to many foreigners, we must clearly understand who may benefit from it if finally approved.
For a massive regularization, even though its name may indicate that it is aimed at the largest possible number of people, usually has important limitations.
Thus, it is said that only those foreigners who are in an irregular situation and who were already in Spain before November the 1st of 2021 will be able to benefit from it.
In addition, and based on previous regularizations, it is likely that some additional requirements could also be demanded, especially related to past labor relationships.
So, will the regularization of foreigners in an irregular situation happen?
We do not know yet. For now, the popular initiative has obtained enough signatures to be voted in Congress. But that does not mean that we are going to have a massive regularization. We still have to wait for the voting to take place to know what will happen with the proposal, as well as a later evaluation in the Senate.
What we can do, however, is to look at precedents.
In 2000 and 2005, mass regularization processes took place that allowed a large number of foreigners to obtain legal residence in Spain, and with similar purposes (guaranteeing labor contributions and participating in the country’s economic growth).
In other words, it is not something new in Spain and can be repeated; although the imminent elections and the possible change of government means that the current moment is perhaps not the most propitious for approval.
Therefore, although it is a possibility, nothing is certain yet, and we must wait for this vote to take place (we will be updating you through this article and on our social media) to understand what will finally happen and whether we will have massive regularization or not.
If the process were to go ahead, it would surely do so by the end of 2023; as there are still other popular initiatives pending vote, and it is estimated that it would not be until then when it could reach the plenary.
At that time it would be intended to amend the Organic Law 4/2000, of January the 11th, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration; giving the government a total of 6 months (after its approval) to implement a procedure for the execution of this regularization plan.
Thus, although with the recent reform of the immigration regulations in August 2022 many of the figures of “arraigo” were made more flexible (especially that of family and social arraigo), this regularization would be great news for the foreign community under an irregular situation.
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