• Non-Specialist Roles Barred from Intracompany Transferee Permit
  • November 1, 2018
  • At a Glance

    Spanish authorities have confirmed that the national Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit is now only available to specialist positions and that applicants are subject to the same criteria as specialists under the EU ICT Permit. Due to this change, employers now face restrictions from sponsoring foreign national non-specialists in Spain.

    The situation

    Spanish authorities confirmed that the national Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit will only be available to specialist positions going forward.

    A closer look

    As such, employers seeking to sponsor foreign nationals under ICT permits will now see the following restrictions:

    • Restricted sponsorship of non-specialists. Under the previous policy, employers could sponsor foreign workers in non-managerial and non-specialist roles under the national ICT Permit. The current policy restricts national ICT Permit applications to specialist roles only, which require higher salaries in line with the nature of their work and with collective bargaining agreements.
      • Impact. Employers are now severely restricted from sponsoring foreign workers for non-specialist positions. As all other visa types in Spain which use streamlined processing also require foreign nationals to be highly qualified, non-specialists will have to rely on uncommonly-used national permit options, which are much more complex and time-consuming to obtain.
    • Emphasis on local hiring. Under the new policy, employers must explain why they cannot hire a qualified local worker for the offered position, a requirement that did not exist before. At this time, authorities are not requiring specific documents or labor market tests to prove that a local worker could not take this position.
      • Impact. Employers may find it more difficult to sponsor foreign workers instead of hiring local workers.
    • New confirmation required. Under the new policy, employers are required to confirm that assigning foreign workers is a standard company practice.
      • Impact. Employers will face increased administrative burdens due to this new requirement. The immigration authorities have not specified the required documentation to corroborate this.


    A specialist under the EU ICT Permit is defined as a person with specialized knowledge essential to the host entity’s areas of activity, techniques or management. The definition also takes into account the individual’s general high level of qualification, professional experience, work or activity requiring specific technical knowledge and/or membership in an accredited profession.

    The EU ICT Directive was adopted to harmonize immigration rules for intracompany transferees in most EU countries and to facilitate the transfer of managers, specialists, and graduate trainees both into and within the region.

    Numerous EU countries (including Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Slovakia) abolished prior national ICT permit options when introducing the EU ICT Permit, with some countries retaining national ICT permit options primarily for short-term assignments (including Germany and the Netherlands).

    It is expected that as the EU ICT Permit becomes more established, more EU countries will abolish or limit the use of their equivalent national schemes.