Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 21/04/22


Access to the labour market for refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection is not limited by law or by any other measure in such as a labour market test or restricted access to certain sectors. It is fully accessible under equal conditions to nationals.

As mentioned in the chapter on Reception Conditions, during the first phase of reception, asylum applicants are provided with financial support for requesting the recognition of their studies or professional qualifications when this is feasible.  This financial support is welcomed as recognition process usually undertakes important expenses for the legalisation and the translation of the documentation. Unfortunately, financial support is often not sufficient for guaranteeing full coverage to recognition related expenses. In the following two phases, beneficiaries of international protection are required to be more financially self-sufficient, providing financial help for punctual support, as self-sufficiency is hardly achievable in reality.

Nonetheless, as mentioned in the section on Reception Conditions: Access to the Labour Market, all persons within the 18-month long process are provided with individualised schemes to support their training, qualification recognition etc. After they complete the 3-phase process, beneficiaries can still access labour integration and orientation services provided by NGOs addressed to the migrant population in general. These generalised services are funded by the Ministry of Inclusion and co-financed by EU funds, and also include personalised schemes, employment orientation, vocational trainings, support in drafting CV, etc.

Even when they are granted with refugee or subsidiary protection status, in the practice many beneficiaries face obstacles entering the labour market due to language, qualifications, and discrimination-based obstacles. This situation is made worse by the fact that the Spanish economy went through a long economic crisis, which led the country to high levels of unemployment, affecting both migrants and Spanish citizens. In addition, many companies lack of information on labour laws and permits on their applicability in the cases of asylum seekers and refugees, which in turn hinders their access to the job market.[1]

In April 2021 a group of Syrian refugee journalists created the bilingual digital media Baynana (in Spanish and in Arabic) with the support of the Foundation por Causa.[2] The NGO CEAR and the Casa Árabe (a centre promoting Arabic culture, art and language) launched in Madrid the initiative ‘Acoge un Plato Catering’ during the summer of 2021. It aims at promoting Arabic gastronomy, as well as social and labour inclusion for refugees in Spain.[3]

The recognition of diplomas and degrees in Spain has always been a challenge for migrants and refugees due to bureaucratic burdens, with waiting times ranging from 9 months to 2 years. In March 2021, the Ministry of Universities announced the intention to adopt a new procedure for the recognition of diplomas, that aims at reducing the length of the procedure and expedite it.[4] A proposal for a Royal Decree modifying the previous legislation has been launched on October 2021.[5]




[1] Newtral, ‘La falta de información dificulta el acceso al mercado de trabajo a los solicitantes de asilo y protección internacional’, 13 January 2022, available at:

[2] Baynana, available at:

[3] CEAR, ‘Acoge un Plato inaugura restaurante en la terraza de la Casa Árabe de Madrid’, 24 June 2021, available at:

[4] El País, ‘Miles de inmigrantes podrán homologar su título universitario en seis meses para ejercer en España’, 24 March 2021, available at:

[5] El Economista, ‘Universidades abre en audiencia pública el Real Decreto de homologaciones de títulos’, 13 October 2021, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation