On June 21, the Spanish government approved a draft University System Law (LOSU) to reform higher education and modernize the country’s 80+ universities. Among the measures included in the bill are two that should ease some of the bureaucratic challenges that international students in Spain face.
- Non-EU students that have been granted a student visa for Spain will no longer be required to renew their residency permit each year. Instead, the visa will be valid for the duration of their university program.
- After completing their university program non-EU students will be able to remain in Spain for up to one or two years with the right to work or undertake an internship. Since 2018, non-EU students have been able to apply for a 12-month, non-renewable ‘job search’ stay after completing their studies. However, to be granted this the students must show proof of sufficient funds to support themselves financially while searching for a job.
The new law is expected to be debated in parliament in September following the summer recess, when further changes may be made to the policy. If approved later this year, the measures are expected to come into effect in 2023.
Attracting & Retaining Talent
Government officials say the proposed new visa rules for non-EU students are designed to attract more international students and retain graduates that have been educated in Spain. According to Education Ministry data, foreign students accounted for 9.4% of all matriculations in the 2020-2021 academic year. This is comfortably below the levels in France and UK despite higher tuition fees in those countries.
Spain’s ability to attract international students will become increasingly important due to the country’s low birth rates. Officials have warned that Spanish universities could lose up to 20% of their younger students (aged 18 to 29) by 2035. The government also hopes to encourage recent graduates to stay and work in Spain rather than take their newly-acquired skills overseas.
Studying in Spain
If you’re interested in coming to study at a university in Spain, get in touch with us at Expanish to find out about our University Pathway Programs. These include immersive Spanish lessons, university entry exam preparation, and specialist assistance with the application process.
DISCLAIMER: This is an informative guide, based on available information from official government and other sources. It does not offer any rights or guarantees. Always check information and requirements with official sources.