Spanish government will give temporary residence to illegal immigrants who study vocational training

Image of a student studying. Credit: GaudiLab/

Illegal immigrants who sign up to study vocational training will be given temporary residence papers by the Spanish government.


As reported today, Friday, February 17, by, the Spanish government will give a temporary residence permit to foreigners in an irregular situation who wish to enrol in vocational training studies.

The aim is to open up this training modality to “the entire population” and “make the system more flexible” in order to improve employability and respond to the needs of companies for certain jobs that are not currently filled, as is done in Germany with what is known as “tolerated stay”.

To gain access to these papers, immigrants will be required to have been living in Spain and to have been here continuously for the last two years.

This is one of the new features of the draft Royal Decree on the Regulation of Vocational Training, which develops the Vocational Training Law that was approved this time last year.

The text also allows, among other things, the accreditation of prior competencies to facilitate access to the labour market and emphasises the training of groups with difficulties in professional integration. These include those over 16 years of age who work without qualifications or people at risk of social exclusion.

In Article 39, Pilar Alegría’s Ministry contemplates that: “vocational training offers will give the option of the temporary residence permit for exceptional circumstances” contemplated in Royal Decree 629/2022.

This modifies the Regulation of the Law on Foreigners (Reglamento de la Ley de Extranjeria). The regulation authorises people to live in Spain for one year and allows them to work if they collaborate with the authorities or “when there are reasons of public interest”.

In order to do so, they must meet certain conditions, such as accrediting “by any means of proof” that they have been working in an irregular situation for a minimum of six months in the last year. They must also lack a criminal record or not be listed as rejectable in their country of origin.

The Royal Decree on the Regulation of Vocational Training adds the requirements: “Citizens of non-EU countries who, being in Spain, have been staying continuously for two years, will obtain authorisation for enrolment in and completion of a training course of the degrees of the vocational training system”.

It continues: “The residence permit will be subject, in all cases, to the completion of the corresponding training and the presentation of a work contract”.

Sources at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training clarified that immigrants: “will have a residence permit for the duration of the training and will then have to present a work contract”.

They explain that this article is intended not so much for intermediate or higher vocational training courses, which require the ESO or Bachillerato qualifications and last up to 2,000 hours spread over two years.

It is intended more for “specific training courses that open the doors to employability”. They referred to shorter courses of between 600 and 800 hours, leading to a certificate of professionalism.

“There is a major labour shortage in many productive sectors and this is a way to qualify the population”, they pointed out. It was noted that the text has yet to be submitted for consultation with the educational community and can yet be modified.

It is not specified in the decree, but the same sources assured that a minimum level of Spanish and “specific qualities” will be required to gain access to the training.

For the first time, second-chance schools, which train young people between the ages of 16 and 29 without qualifications or employment, will be included in the vocational training system.

Agreements may be authorised between these centres and secondary schools for the total or partial referral of students who, at the age of 15, are at risk of dropping out of school early.

These schools will be able to offer certificates of competence, as well as vocational and basic-level training cycles. They will also be allowed to make the offer more flexible up to double its initial duration.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]