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March 25, 2023

Spain may enforce labour market restrictions for Romanians

Labour Minister Sebastian Lazaroiu will travel to Brussels today, for talks on EU labour market with EC experts.

Spain will restrict its labour market for Romanian workers because of rising unemployment, RFI radio station quotes EU sources as saying, noting that the decision will be made before the end of the week, when Brussels and member states’ capitals are notified to that effect. ‘Unemployment rate in Spain is 20 per cent of the active population’, RFI Romania notes.

According to the cited source, it will therefore be a strictly protectionist measure against Romania, given the large number of Romanian workers in Spain. Data coming from the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Immigration shows that approximately 860,000 Romanian nationals were based in Spain at the end of 2010. However, the restriction will not apply to Romanians who are already legally employed in Spain, because it does not have a retroactive affect.

Yesterday, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection (MMFPS), Ioana Santa, said Spain has not sent any formal notice to the European Commission about the intended labour restriction for Romanians and that such a decision would need to be backed by some radical transformations of the labour market’, the Romanian official said.

‘Under the Treaty that we have with Spain, any decision by the Spanish officials to enforce labour market restrictions would require a through foundation of radical labour market changes. For that reason we ought to be cautious, because the discussion was not for one second about barring Romanian citizens from the Spanish labour market, but about safeguards that Romanians who seek jobs in that country have formal employment contracts,’ Ioana Santa said.
The Spanish Embassy to Bucharest also stresses the fact that the measure is just an intention and that no exact date has been established for its enforcement. The embassy also adds that such a restriction is not going to affect Romanian residents in Spain.

Labour Minister Sebastian Lazaroiu will go to Brussels today, where he will meet with European Commission experts for talks on the EU labour market. ‘There are many themes to be addressed, not just the intentions of the Spanish officials,’ Ioana Santa also said.

Romanians wanting to work in Spain from now on will have to apply for a work permit. The labour market can be closed in a sectoral manner, which means that specific sectors of activity may still be accessible to Romanians, RFI reports. Spain was among the few West-European countries that opened a large part of their labour market after Romania’s EU accession in 2007. On January 1, 2009, Spain opened its labour market for Romanians completely. As of that date, the conditions a Romanian has to meet to qualify for a position in Spain have been the same as those applicable to Spanish nationals.

The decision will be made by the Spanish Government at the end of the week, when Madrid is also expected to notify its Eu­ropean partners and the European Commission in that respect.

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