For the Spanish government, the audio-visual industry is of strategic importance to its economy because of its global nature, its capacity to generate employment and its potential for modernization through digitalization. To this end, the fast-track work permit for those employed in the audio-visual sector has been introduced as a way of attracting investment.
Recent filming of productions such as HBO's Game of Thrones and Money Heist from Netflix, a platform which has set up its own headquarters in Madrid, are great examples of the kind of investment that Spain is seeking to attract.
This fast-track work permit will allow Spain to continue to be at the forefront of international audio-visual production locations
Spain is well poised in terms of infrastructure and domestic talent, but until recently there was a major problem with the amount the red tape foreign productions had to navigate to bring talent into the country and impenetrable requirements for residence and work permits for people in the audio-visual industry.
The new changes were introduced late last year but have had little publicity internationally.
Who is the audio-visual industry’s fast-track work permit aimed at?
The fast-track work permit is aimed at companies and professionals in the audio-visual sector including those focused on traditional content (fiction, TV content production, etc.), those that develop artistic activities performed in front of an audience and broadcast through mass media, and those in the multimedia and interactive digital environment, such as software development, video games (such as eSports) and transmedia content, or those that incorporate immersive experiences.
What changes does the new legislation introduce?
- Simplified procedure: online processing in 20 working days for the authorization and 10 days to get the visa.
- Workers in the audio-visual sector will no longer have to prove at least three years’ of work experience or hold a degree; nor will they have to have to have been employed previously for three months with the contracting company before making the application.
- Family groups: The possibility has now been opened up for artists or professionals in the audio-visual sector to stay in Spain with their spouses or partners, minor or adult children and dependent family members. If the professional is a minor, they will be allowed to stay in Spain with their parents or guardians.
The different routes for the new fast-track work permit
- Professionals staying for up to 90 days in any 180 day period
There will be a first route for audio-visual professionals who intend to stay in Spain for up to 90 days in any 180-day period and they will be exempt from the obligation to obtain a work authorization.
- Professionals staying for more than 90 days in any 180 day period
A second will allow workers to stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days, up to a maximum of 180 days. In these cases, audio-visual professionals may apply for a visa that enables them to stay and work in Spain for up to 180 days.
- Residence authorisation for more than 180 days
A residence authorisation has also been created as a unique permit for foreigners who intend to reside in Spain and work in the audio-visual sector for more than 180 days.
Find out more
This article was produced by Patricia Ruiz, Global Mobility expert lawyer at CECA MAGAN. Spain, a CELIA Alliance member firm.
CELIA Alliance members are identified here. Members of the CELIA Alliance are each independent law firms and do not practice law jointly with any other member of the CELIA Alliance. "CELIA Alliance" and "CELIA" are not trading names. For more information about the CELIA Alliance click here.
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