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Residency permits For Members

Will I lose my job in Spain if my residency card or work visa have expired?

The Local Spain
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Will I lose my job in Spain if my residency card or work visa have expired?
There's a difference between your work visa running out and your residency card expiring when it comes to the possibility of losing your job in Spain. Photo: Artem Podrez/Pexels

Having valid residency documents is a prerequisite for working in Spain, so do you risk losing your job if your card or work visa has expired?

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Although you do need to have valid residency rights as a non-EU national in order to be able to legally work in Spain, an expired residency document shouldn't mean you will lose your job.

Renewing your residency document, whether it be a TIE, short-term or long-term residency, or an EU community card, is a personal responsibility. It's something you need to keep track of, know when it's due for new renewal, as well as making and attending the appointment and so on.

READ ALSO: What happens if I don't renew my TIE residency card in Spain

Many employers may remind you that your residency is up for renewal if they have those details on record.

However, say neither of you realise and you one day you notice that your residency document has expired. Can you be sacked if your residency status is no longer valid?

The answer is no, your employer cannot sack you simply because your residency card has expired.

Though some companies do illegally dismiss their staff without residency documents, according to Spanish law this is not allowed.

Article 36.5 of Organic Law 4/2000, which legislates with regards to rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain, as well as their social integration, clearly states that:

"The lack of residency and work authorisation, without prejudice to the employer's responsibilities to which it gives rise, including those of social security, shall not invalidate the employment contract with respect to the rights of the foreign worker."

In fact, there have been several examples of legal cases like this where the sacking was ruled an unfair dismissal, notably a foreign cleaner who was dismissed when her residence permit expired and eventually had her case taken all the way to the Spanish Supreme Court in 2016.

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What about a work visa?

In the case of shorter term work visas, the rules are different.

The temporary residency and work authorisation periods for those on work visas are for fixed-time periods, and the rules are regulated by different legislation.

Article 97 of this law defines short-term work permits and visas given to employees as for seasonal activities, works or services, or professional training and internships.

In short, unlike expired residency documents, which still guarantee your rights to work in Spain but are not tied directly to a specific job, when a work visa runs out, the job contract would be terminated. 

According to the law, these authorisations for "temporary residence and fixed-term employment" are always valid for "the duration of the employment contract or, in the event that the contract, due to its nature, does not establish a duration, with the foreseen duration of the activity, duly accredited."

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