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01 November 2021

Spain: New regulation for unaccompanied foreign minors

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The Council of Ministers of the Spanish Government approved a reform of its Foreigners' Regulation that will make it easier for foreign minors and young people under guardianship to obtain residence and work permits. Until now, these youngsters have faced a mountain of bureaucratic obstacles that push many of them towards irregularity and exclusion once they reach the age of majority (legal adult age).

The new regulation seeks to "simplify administrative procedures, and prevent them from reaching the age of majority without documentation". In this sense, the aim is to "respect and preserve the public investment that has been made in their training, integration and fostering by the autonomous communities" when they were minors, "facilitating the incorporation of these people into the labour market, simplifying the entire administrative burden".

The reform aims to reduce the deadlines for obtaining residency, reduce the economic requirements, help individuals to access the labour market and increase the length of validity of their residency permits. The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration calculates that the reform will benefit, in a short period of time, 8 000 migrant minors who arrived in Spain alone and around 7 000 young people between the ages of 18 and 23 who could benefit from the new regulations retroactively.

The process of drafting this Royal Decree has involved the participation of individuals, third sector organisations and autonomous communities, and highlights inclusion. Organisations specialising in the rights of migrant children and young people consider the reform of the Foreigners' Regulations to be "a historic step towards the inclusion of children arriving alone in Spain".

These regulatory changes have been demanded by young migrants, NGOs and the Ombudsman for years. "Dozens of organisations and groups have been denouncing for years the abusive conditions of a regulation that has led to the administrative irregularity and social exclusion of thousands of adolescents and young people who the Law on Foreigners, on the other hand, recognises as regular for all purposes", details a statement signed by some thirty organisations, including the Raíces Foundation, Save the Children, Unicef, Asociación Ex Menas Madrid and Coordinadora de Barrios.


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Migration CIDOB
Country Coordinator

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