Tuesday, November 30

The Government orders the protection of foreign women victims of sexist violence whose roles depend on their aggressor from expulsion

A foreign woman who is a victim of sexist violence lives in Spain on a regular basis with a residence permit that depends on her husband. He is the holder of her permit and from him comes the income with which the citizen demonstrates that she has sufficient economic means to survive in the country. He is also her abuser, but she does not dare to take the step of reporting. It is never easy, but also in his case his papers do not allow him to work, so his permanence and maintenance on Spanish soil drink from his attacker.

Although the Immigration Law allows since 2011 the granting of temporary residence and work authorization to foreigners who are victims of gender violence in order to encourage immigrant women to report their aggressor, some interpretations of the norm only covered women whistleblowers in an irregular situation, leaving other women without protection who, as in the case described above, had papers but their documentation was not stable either. Their circumstances as foreigners also discouraged them from going to court for fear of losing their right to reside in Spain.

For this reason, the Secretariat of State for Migration has issued this Thursday, November 25, Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an instruction to address doubts about the content of the rule and ensure this type of protection to different profiles that they were being excluded from the possibility of obtaining a residence and work permit under equal conditions.

According to the guideline, which has been accessed by elDiario.es, any victim of gender violence who requests it and meets the requirements “regardless of their administrative situation in Spain” may access a temporary residence permit. The order has a retroactive effect, so it leaves the contents of all those resolutions contrary to the provisions of the new instruction “worthless”.

“Migrations has detected in the past interpretative divergences regarding what the administrative situation of the foreigner should be to be able to access the exceptional authorization,” they explain from the Secretary of State for Migration. “Until now, the interpretation that only women who are in an irregular situation had access to this exceptional authorization was being privileged. However, this interpretation was unfavorable for those foreigners who are in Spain in a regular situation, or those whose authorization could be linked in one way or another to his attacker. ”

Some of the foreign women victims of sexist violence who could not access temporary residence for exceptional reasons due to interpretations, considered erroneous by the Secretary of State for Migration, are the relatives of a student or a researcher, a person who has not yet has served three months in Spain, the relatives of people who hold authorizations for the regulations to support entrepreneurs and their internationalization or, as in the aforementioned case, a foreign citizen who is in a regular situation in Spain because she has an authorization of non-profit residence, being “the aggressor its owner or the source of income to prove the possession of sufficient economic means.”

In the instruction, the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations has included an expansion of the scope of the norm, also reaching community women. Although current regulations “expressly protect women who have a community family card (and specify that they will maintain their right of residence in cases of gender violence), it did not expressly specify in what situation European citizens were faced with a similar situation”, they maintain from the Secretary of State.

What does the Aliens Law say

If a woman without papers goes to a police station to report the violence suffered by her partner or ex-partner, the officers cannot open an expulsion procedure and, if it is open, it is automatically suspended until the resolution of the criminal procedure . Since 2011, victims of abuse have been specifically protected in the Immigration Law after a modification of the rule approved by the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Beyond the temporary suspension of the expulsion file of the victim, foreign women can request a residence and work authorization for exceptional circumstances, but provided that they have been granted a protection order or, if not, obtain a report of the Prosecutor’s Office that describes signs of sexist violence.

Until the resolution of the criminal process against her aggressor, a process that can take years, the request is not resolved definitively, but the woman can obtain a provisional permit to stay in the country. If the trial ends in a conviction, the victim obtains the temporary residence permit in Spain. If during the judicial procedure the situation of sexist violence is not determined, the expulsion of the woman will be reactivated in the case of being in an irregular situation.


Here you can listen to the last episode of our podcast ‘Un tema al día’, in which we enter a court of sexist violence. You can follow it on Podimo and other platforms.



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