Can a change of employer be made in the residence authorization of a highly qualified professional?

The Law to Support Entrepreneurs and their Internationalization (Law 14/2013, of September 27) regulates in arts. 71 et seq. the residence authorization for highly qualified professionals, for when a company requires the incorporation in Spain of a foreign professional for the development of a highly qualified employment or professional relationship.

A question that arises recurrently is whether the qualified worker, once the permit has been obtained and the employment relationship with the company has begun, has the option of changing employers/companies during the validity of their authorization.

In this regard, Law 14/2013 does not stablish anything. However, to avoid this type of legal loopholes, the General Directorate of Migration published a series of Criteria for the application of Law 14/2013, supporting entrepreneurs and their internationalization, which briefly covers this issue.

In relation to the change of employer in the residence authorization of highly qualified professionals, the Criteria provide the following:

Criterion 4.2.2 Change of employer

In case of change of employer:

  • This circumstance must be communicated by the interested party to the Large Companies and Strategic Groups Unit (UGE-CE) in the terms established in the seventh additional provision of Law 14/2013, of September 27.
  • If the professional wishes to continue being the holder of the authorization, a new application must be submitted, granting an initial authorization with its full duration if the requirements to be considered highly qualified continue to be met.
  • Likewise, the issuance of a new initial authorization will proceed in cases of change of company when both entities belong to the same group.
  • Notwithstanding the above, if there is an absorption or merger of companies, the renewal of the residence authorization will proceed for the remaining validity period of the initial one, provided that this is proven in accordance with the provisions of article 44 of the Statute. from the workers.

Therefore, in the event of a change of employer, it will be necessary to inform the UGE-CE of this and re-request an initial authorization as a highly qualified professional for the new company, if the job profile meets the requirements required for this authorization. . If the request is approved, an initial authorization of 3 years or equal to the duration of the contract plus an additional period of three months will be granted.

The criterion also specifies that an initial will also have to be requested even when the new employer belongs to the same group of companies, unless it is an absorption or merger of companies.