SPAIN: “EU ICT” Directive Initiated

“Third country nationals”, or nationals of non-member states of the EU, have been offered a degree of increased flexibility when looking to work in EU member states. In May 2014, the European Council approved a directive enforcing on participating EU member states (excluding the UK) an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) scheme. Reading the primary legislation it is evident that the Council has intended to tread the thin line between continuing to maintain preference to the internal labour markets of EU member states as enshrined in the EU”s Act of Accession, and encouraging mutual investment and diplomatic improvements between member states and nations across the globe.

This balancing act has manifested itself in a directive that may prove useful for global business but with some important caveats. The key parts of the EU directive are sketched out below:

  • Intended for Managers, Specialists and Trainees.

  • Managers and specialists must be able to demonstrate a minimum of three months experience in the sponsor company, although member states may extend this minimum threshold up twelve months according to their own preference.

  • Trainees must be able to show a minimum of three to six months experience at the given firm, also dependent on the EU country”s preference.

  • Transferees may not stay in the member state under this grant of leave beyond three years. Trainees may not stay beyond one year.

  • Member states must be able to demonstrate at least reciprocal immigration arrangements and liberties with any given participating third party country.

  • Transferees will not be entitled to the same social security benefits conferred on nationals

  • The new scheme does not necessarily replace or constrict pre-existing and EU compliant national schemes.

  • Holders will be generally able to take advantage of “short term mobility” in other participating states, permitting them to work for under 90 days in every 180 days per EU state.

  • Those seeking to engage in Long Term Mobility will likely require a mobility permit from the “Second Member State” (other participating EU country).  This may vary from state to state.

This is only a brief cross section of the considerations that member states will have to take into account when formulating their version of the scheme over the coming years. The Council set a two and a half  year limit on implementation of the scheme in 2014, however only Spain has to this point taken up the directive.

Spain EU ICT Implementation (or Traslado Intraempresarial ICT UE)

This first implementation, it must be made clear, does not replace Spain”s pre-existing ICT scheme if one is not eligible for the EU scheme. This will be particularly pertinent for those who do not fall under directors, specialists or trainees.

Key facts

  • Processing time of 20 days

  • Once ICTs are available in other EU states they will be accepted in Spain

  • Three months of experience required with participating company

  • A “cooling off period” of 6 months will be enforced for ex-transferees

  • Applications can be made in Spain whilst a visitor within the 90 day Schengen stay parameter

  • Applicants with ICTs from other member states seeking Short Term Mobility will be accepted without notification

  • Applicants with ICTs from other member states seeking Long Term Mobility will require a permit from the from the Dirección General de Inmigración

Over the coming year, this scheme is legally bound to spread across Europe. However, there is a considerable range of flexibility for member states to adapt the methods with which they intend to implement the directive. Therefore, if you are interested in increasing your company”s global mobility, do seek the appropriate immigration advice first.

If you require advice on this or any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Contact Newland Chase