Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 30/11/20


Asylum seekers are legally entitled to start working 6 months after their application for asylum is officially accepted, while their application is being examined.

Once the first 6-month period is over, applicants may request the renewal of their “red card” (tarjeta roja), in which it will appear that they are authorised to work in Spain with the term of validity of the document that has been issued.[1] There are no other criteria or requirements for them to obtain a work permit, which is valid for any labour sector.

Due to this, and to facilitate their social and labour insertion, reception centres for asylum seekers organise vocational and host language training.

In addition, the 3 main NGOs that manage asylum reception centres – Accem, the Spanish Red Cross and CEAR – have created the Ariadna Network within the 4 CAR managed by DGIAH. The Ariadna Network consists of a comprehensive plan of actions that are intended to meet the specific needs in terms of labour integration presented by asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection.

Labour integration supportive schemes offered to hosted asylum seekers include services like personalised guidance interviews, pre-employment training, occupational training, active job seeking support.

However, asylum seekers face many obstacles to accessing the Spanish labour market in practice. Many of them do not speak Spanish at the time they receive the red card. In addition to that, the recognition of their qualifications is a long, complicated and often expensive procedure. Last but not least, they face discrimination due to their nationality or religion.[2]


[1] Article 32 Asylum Act; Article 13 Asylum Regulation.

[2]  CEAR, ‘Informe 2019: La personas refugiadas en España y Europa’, June 2019, 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