labor shortages: Spain to grant more work visas to tackle labor shortages

Spain plans to ease work permit rules for foreigners, its Minister of Social Security and Migration announced on Friday, to address labor shortages in sectors such as tourism and construction that threaten its economic recovery.

The government intends to grant more temporary visas for sectors that need workers, Jose Luis Escriva told reporters.

“We are evaluating different aspects of immigration law and where it can be improved (…) in order to address bottlenecks in the Spanish labor market,” he said.

Labor shortages have been reported in the tourism, agriculture, construction and technology sectors.

The government plans to allow around 50,000 non-EU students to combine study and work.

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It will also facilitate access to work permits by allowing those who can show a previous connection to Spain through family, residence or at least two years of work, even if it was informal. .

A reform bill lists the most urgent vacancies as being for telemarketers, sales representatives, delivery vehicle drivers and software developers.

Spain’s tourism industry has seen a strong rebound, but businesses are struggling to find workers willing to serve tables and clean hotel rooms, which the government has called a Europe-wide problem .

S&P’s monthly survey of purchasing managers on Friday showed that, despite stronger demand in May, companies were unable to grow as quickly as expected due to difficulties in finding workers. The report highlighted potential wage inflation as a result.

There are fears that the staff shortage could also hamper Spain’s ability to carry out European Union-funded pandemic recovery projects.

Spain’s economy has been the hardest hit in the eurozone by the pandemic, contracting 11% in 2020.

Although unemployment is still high by European standards, at 13.65%, the pandemic encouraged more workers to enter the formal economy as formal contracts were needed to collect furlough pay.

As a result, formal employment has reached an all-time high.

Spain already has migration programs with countries like Morocco, Ecuador and Colombia and is open to extending temporary work visas to other Central American countries. A new pilot program with Honduras started earlier this year, sources told Reuters.

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