The main measure in immigration matters of the Ministry of Inclusion , Social Security and Migration is in a drawer until further notice. The royal decree to facilitate the roles of young people who emigrate alone – both when they are minors and when they reach the age of majority – should go to the Council of Ministers on August 24, but it has fallen from the agenda and there is still no new date to retrieve it.
Migrations has not given explanations about the delay of a measure that it had to approve as soon as possible. He only affirms that he trusts that he will succeed, although he does not know when to specify. Sources familiar with the negotiation point out, on the other hand, that Interior is weighing on the initiative.
The measure, which involves modifying the Immigration Regulations, aims to remove some of the barriers that hinder the integration of young immigrants into the world of work. Minors who arrive alone in Spain, in a boat or on the underside of a truck, are not considered irregular and must be welcomed, protected and documented by law, but there are many obstacles that in practice prevent them from having their papers in order and it is very difficult for them to work.
The demands multiply when they turn 18 years old and only a few privileged ones manage to have a residence and work permit. One of the requirements for ex-ward youth to renew their permits at age 19 is that they demonstrate their own monthly income of more than 2,000 euros. Even when they meet the conditions, the authorization granted is on a non-profit basis – like those usually granted to expatriate couples – and does not allow them to work.
To transform that permit and apply for a job, they need a company, with no debts to Social Security or the Treasury, to offer them a one-year full-time employment contract. More than 8,000 minors and another 8,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 23, who are already in Spain, would benefit from the measure.
The initiative seemed on track. The text, which was opened for public consultation in April, had already been discussed by the different ministries involved, the Council of State had studied it urgently and the required modifications had been included. Monday was on the agenda of the commission of secretaries and undersecretaries of state that prepares the issues that will be raised to the next Council of Ministers on August 24. “Nothing seemed to indicate that it was not going to get ahead,” indicate sources who have followed the process. But it didn’t come out.
The reasons given by the spokespersons for the three ministries most involved in the reform (Migrations, Interior and Foreign Affairs) do not explain its postponement. Migrations only says that it is waiting for its measure to be included in the agenda of the Council of Ministers; Interior argues that the Presidency wants a global opinion of Foreign Affairs on the whole of the reform; Exteriors affirms that it shares “some of the concerns expressed by Interior regarding the impact of the reform”, but assures that it “maintains a constructive stance.”
In this sense, they add, they have already transmitted “drafting proposals” and remain “open to negotiating the text.” In the Ministry of the Presidency, whose head, Félix Bolaños, chairs the preparatory commission for the Councils of Ministers, They are not aware of the request for that opinion to Foreign to which Interior refers. They do maintain that they are still “working” on the Regulation and “polishing it”. They assure that it will be taken to the Council of Ministers “as soon as the work is completed.”
Other sources familiar with the negotiations, however, unofficially affirm that Interior alleged “reasons of opportunity” to remove it from the agenda. That is, political reasons. According to the same sources, it is the only ministry that raised reluctance for the initiative to reach the next Council of Ministers.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska’s department had already objected to this measure . Interior considers that eliminating part of the bureaucratic obstacles so that minors and young foreigners who migrate alone can legally reside and work in Spain will have a knock-on effect.
He did not provide data, but this was expressed on July 16 when the text was officially debated between ministries for the last time. Interior, according to sources familiar with that meeting, maintained that the reform would impact its policy to combat irregular immigration, that it would disturb European partners and that it would be an incentive for the mafias and for “millions” of young people.
Since that meeting, the text, which passed through the Council of State, has undergone some modifications. In general, the changes do not alter the meaning of the new norm, but they do satisfy some of the demands made by Interior and Exterior. One of them, for example, extends the deadlines to start processing the papers of minors and goes from the 15 days that the first version proposed to three months (currently they were nine months and they were not being complied with). None of the sources consulted confirms whether there will be new alterations to the text.
The social organizations that work with minors have been claiming this reform for years and launched a campaign weeks ago to urge the Government to approve it. The autonomous communities, responsible for the guardianship of children, have also been in favor of change.