Kindly click on the website of CEAR (Spanish Committee for Refugee Assistance) to see the original from which we have made the translation indicated below, which we have forwarded to our delegate Fernand JEHL, in the Council of Europe's INGO Conference committee The Rights of Persons who are Migrants of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe and we kindly ask him to send the English and French translations of this document to Daniel GUÉRY, chair of this committee so that this committee can access the work of Spanish NGOs in the defence of the rights of migrants arriving on Spanish coasts.
At the same time, we are contacting all the 23 Spanish NGOs listed so that
they can contribute directly to the above mentioned Council of Europe committee.
We would like to mention that during the 2019 biannual Conference of EN-RE in Madrid in May 2019, our delegates visited the Madrid centre of Pueblos Unidos of the Jesuit Migrants Service and that our Spanish member group Redes Cristianas has strong links with another of these NGOs, namely the Centro Pastoral San Carlos Borromeo
The reform of the Regulation on Aliens approved today by the (Spanish) Council of Ministers will benefit many children and young people who have been suffering for years the terrible consequences in their lives of a regulation that only placed insurmountable obstacles and barriers to their social inclusion in Spain.
Organisations defending the rights of migrant children and young people consider the Council of Ministers' approval today (19th October 2021) of the reform of the Regulation on Aliens, in relation to many of the articles that affect them, to be a historic step towards the inclusion of children arriving alone in Spain.
Dozens of organisations and groups specialising in children's and migrants' rights have been denouncing for years the abusive conditions of a regulation that has led to the administrative irregularity and social exclusion of thousands of adolescents and young people who, on the other hand, are recognised to be regular to all intents and purposes by the Immigration Law.
It has been many years of struggle and proposals from NGOs, together with the recommendations of the Ombudsman and the mobilisation of the young people affected in recent months, which has finally led José Luis Escrivá's Ministry to consider promoting a reform whose sole purpose is to facilitate the transition to adulthood for all children arriving alone in Spain and to contribute to their effective inclusion in Spanish society.
All the proposals put forward by the organisations stem from two aspects that have justified the need for this reform of the Regulation on Aliens: on the one hand, the long history and experience of the signatory organisations in dealing with this group, which has revealed a series of difficulties in its practical application; on the other hand, a technical and rigorous analysis of national and international regulations carried out by these organisations, which concluded that the current Regulation did not respect the international commitments signed by Spain and did not allow for effective compliance with the domestic regulatory framework, especially taking into account the primordial consideration of the best interests of minors.
With today's Reform as it was proposed in its last version in August, and while awaiting the final text to be published in the Official State Gazette, the aim is to respond to the real needs of migrant children, fundamentally in their transition to adult life, facilitating the development of their life project in Spain and ultimately favouring their lasting and effective integration into our society, taking into account their conditions of special vulnerability, due to their condition as children, their status as foreigners and their lack of adult family references in our country.
The new Regulation ensures that all minors who arrive alone in Spain and are under the protection of the Administration are duly documented, and their residence authorisations can be processed at the request of the children themselves and, in any case, the aliens' offices are obliged to do so 90 days after the entry of the minor into the Protection System. Residence permits which, in the case of minors aged 16 and over, will always be accompanied by the same work permit that is granted to young Spaniards of that age. This puts an end to the nonsense of having thousands of undocumented young boys and girls with a permit to live in Spain, but who are not allowed to work.
All residence permits will now be valid for 2 years, except for the renewal as a minor, which will be from 1 year to 3 years, and when applicable, it will be the Long-Term Residence Permit. In this way, there will no longer be cases of minors who are under guardianship and have authorisation to reside in Spain, but which expires or lapses when they reach the age of 18.
As for the conditions for renewals for those young people who are not working at the time, these will be made more flexible and the reports from entities that accredit that the young people are part of social and labour integration programmes, and that they accredit means of living through a programme developed by a public or private institution, will be taken into account. This reduces the more than €2,000 per month that until now had to be accredited as means of living, to an amount higher than the Minimum Living Income, i.e. more than €480 per month.
One of the issues most valued by the NGOs is that the reform aims to rescue thousands of young people who have been left in absolute limbo and who for years have been suffering the consequences of mismanagement by the different administrations and a regulation that prevented their integration. The organisations are convinced that this reform will promote the social and labour insertion of thousands of young people between 18 and 23 years of age, as long as they can prove that they have been under the protection of the Public System for the Protection of Minors at some point during the last 5 years, recognising the retroactive effects of this new regulation to the moment when they entered the Protection System as children.
What worries the organisations most, as it is part of the proposals that have apparently not been included in the final text, is the final fate of those young people who, although they could benefit from this reform, will not be able to do so because they have a pending case or criminal record in their recent past, even though this could be explained as a consequence of the situation of abandonment in which the Administration itself left them. Likewise, all those children who have never accessed the child protection system because they have been subjected to the age determination procedure despite having their age and identity accredited by their corresponding Embassies and Consulates are excluded from the application of the Regulation.
The signatory organisations would like to thank all the organisations, young people, entrepreneurs and other people who have joined the campaign in recent months under the slogan #ReformaReglamentoExtranjeriaYa and hope that the Government, the various political parties in the opposition and society in general will take a positive view of this reform as a measure that favours the inclusion of adolescents and young people in our country, that promotes the hiring of people whose personal circumstances force them to have to live on their own from a very young age, that makes the conditions imposed until now on both young people and the companies that want to hire them more flexible, that reduces bureaucratic procedures and long waits until they are able to find work, and that ultimately favours society as a whole.
The approval of this reform of the Aliens Regulation will allow thousands of young people to finally have one of their most basic rights guaranteed, and one of the basic tools to be able to live with dignity and autonomously in Spain.
Asociación Ex Menas Madrid
Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR)
Plataforma de Infancia
Pueblos Unidos – Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes
SOS Racismo Gipuzkoa
Voluntarios por Otro Mundo
Wasata sans frontières
CP San Carlos Borromeo
Coordinadora de Barrios
Extranjeristas en Red
Aldeas Infantiles SOS
Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado – Euskadi
COF Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres
Social Project 4.0
Coordinadora d’ONG’s Comarques Gironines i Alt Maresme
Federación de Entidades con Proyectos y Pisos Asistidos – FEPA
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)