The new “Entrepreneur Support Act” (14/2013, of the 27th September) has already been the subject of various posts on this blog, as it has generated enormous interest in the business community. For those not familiar with this act, it aims to promote entrepreneurship as a means of economic growth and job creation.
In addition and as measure that has great interest to us, the act regulates certain cases where, for reasons of economic interest, the granting of visas and residence permits can be accelerated, in order to attract investment and talent to Spain. The measure is aimed at investors, entrepreneurs, workers who take part in intra-firm movements, highly skilled professionals and researchers, as well as to spouses and children, via an agile and fast procedure for which a single organism is responsable, and within a variable term depending on the various cases referred to. These residence permits will be valid throughout the national territory.
I. THE NEW CASES OF VISAS AND RESIDENCE PERMITS FOR INVESTORS
Without a doubt, the main novelty of this act is the introduction into Spain of the so called Golden Visa system, which already exists in various countries, as is the case of Portugal where it seems to have been easily accepted.
In Spain it is also expected to generate a high level of interest due to the large numbers of non-EU foreign nationals who consider our country one of the most convenient places to establish their residence, whether temporarily or permanently, and now, with the improvement of the economy, also as a possible destination to carry out investments.
The main novelties of the Entrepreneur Support Act in the field of residence permits for entrepreneurs and investors, son:
1. Granting of Visas for Entrepreneurs:
a) For the Purchase of Housing – The act provides for the granting of temporary residence permits to those who create employment through the establishment and implementation of business projects in our country; to those who invest through the acquisition of homes located in Spanish territory at a price higher than 500,000 euros; or who have the status of graduates in Spanish business schools.
b) For the Realization of Investments – Also, said visa is granted to those who invest initially in a quantity equal to or exceeding 2 million euros in Spanish public debt securities, or by a value equal or greater than one million euros in shares or participation certificates in Spanish companies, or deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
c) For the Realization of Business Plans: Also, the visa will be granted to those who develop business projects to be developed in Spain and which are considered and accredited as of general interest. However, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
1 ° Creation of employment.
2º Realization of an investment with a relevant socio-economic impact in the geographical area in which it is to be developed.
3º Significant contributions to scientific and/or technological innovation will be valued.
(It must also be taken into account that it will be considered that the foreign applicant has made a significant investment of capital when the investment is carried out by a legal entity domiciled in a territory that does not have the consideration of a tax haven in accordance with Spanish legislation, and the foreigner possesses, directly or indirectly, the majority of that entity´s voting rights and has the right to appoint or dismiss a majority of the members of it´s management).
2. Quantity of the Real Estate Investment:
Initially, the Government contemplated 160,000 euros as the minimum investment for access to the said residence permit. However, in the new wording of the law, the amount rises to 500.000 euros.
3. Specific Taxation for Entrepreneurs:
Among other important developments, one could highlight the regulation of a specific taxation system for entrepreneurs, which envisages different tax incentives on income tax for investment in and/or financing of companies of new creation, contemplating deductions of up to 100,000 euros and up to 10% on company tax applied to the benefits obtained and reinvested in the economic activity.
4. Simplification of Procedures for the Creation and Closing of Companies:
Also, this act will be used to try to facilitate procedures for the creation and closure of companies, which may be carried out via the internet through the Centre of Information and Network of Business Creation (CIRCE).
5. Novelties in Bankrupcy Law:
With regards to the reform of the current bankruptcy legal framework, the act also contemplates measures which aim to refinance viable companies, establishing a more appropriate procedure for channeling the bankruptcy insolvency of professionals and SMEs, creating an out-of-court procedure, directed by a commercial mediator, thereby reducing significantly the time and cost of the procedure.
II. LIMITATIONS AND AUTHORIZATIONS FOR THE CONCESSION OF RESIDENCE PERMITS BY REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
1- General Requirements for the Concession of Residence Permits:
- •The investord must not be in Spain in an irregular situation or have a criminal record in Spain or in the countries where they have resided in the past five years.
- •They must have public or private health insurance.
- •They must accredit sufficient available resources.
- •The housing which is purchased must be free of mortgages or any other debt.
Apart from the aforementioned requirements, a series of specific requirements have been established, which are explained as follows.
2- The Single Permit:
The residence authorizations foreseen in the act will be processed according to Directive 2011/98/EU, of the 13th of December 2011, which establishes a single application procedure for a single permit, which authorizes third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and which establishes a common set of rights for third-country workers legally resident in a Member State of the European Union.
Requests for the issue, modification or renewal of these unique permits will be presented by means of a single application procedure.
Decisions regarding the issue, amendment or renewal of these unique permits will be considered as a single administrative act, although independent from the procedure for issuing the corresponding visa.
3- Strategic Sectors:
The national employment situation will not be taken into account with regards to authorisations regulated in Title V: Internationalization of the Spanish Economy, Section 2: International Mobility.
Likewise, by Ministerial Order of the Ministry of the Presidency, the non-application of the national employment situation could be established for the recruitment of foreigners in sectors considered strategic. In this Ministerial Order, an annual contract quota could be agreed upon.
4- Residence in Spain with Periods of Absence from Spanish Territory:
The act contemplates an important novelty in this aspect, since, independently of the need to prove the continuity of residence in Spain for the acquisition of long-term residence permits or Spanish nationality, the renewal and continuation of the residence period can be established even when there are absences exceeding six months a year in the case of residence visas and permits for foreign investors or foreign workers of companies that, conducting business abroad, have established their base of operations in Spain.
5- Duration of the Residence Authorization for Investors:
The initial residence authorization for investors will have a duration of two years, although once this period has ended, foreign investors who are interested in residing in Spain for longer may request the renewal of the authorization for the same period of two years.