ONGOING strike action by Spanish foreign office staff at embassy and consulate offices in the UK could cause delays in issuing visas.
The warning comes from workers who are now in their fourth week of industrial action to protest salary inequality and job insecurity.
“Investors and others with interests in Spain will struggle to get a Spanish visa in the upcoming weeks,” warned a statement from the union behind the strike which began on March 14.
Applications for the so-called “Golden Visa”, work visas, student visas and residence visas have all increased dramatically as a result of Brexit
Since then, anyone wanting to invest in Spain or stay for longer than 90 days needs to apply for a visa.
However, the indefinite stile has led to a dearth in appointments and significant delays in processing applications.
“Users of the Spanish Consulates are starting to suffer the consequences of this situation as there are limited appointments and significant delays in the processing applications,” warned Plex Reino Unido the group of workers behind the strike.
“In addition, NIE applications – an identification number always required when there is any financial relation with Spain – may also be affected,” they said.
In a statement from workers staging the industrial action, a spokesman explained: “We are asking the Spanish Government for pay increases and wage parity after years of wage freeze.”
“The affected workers find themselves in a position of extreme insecurity and vulnerability caused by reduced purchasing power since their last annual salary adjustment in 2008. In addition, they are facing the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, amid significant rises in inflation and National Insurance contributions, while being restricted to three of the UK’s costliest cities.
“As a result, some salaries will be illegally under the threshold of UK’s National Minimum Wage after the next adjustment, causing real difficulties for workers.”
They continued: “This situation has led to a sense of abandonment by the Spanish Authorities, which has been particularly felt by the more established members of the team. Due to this lack of salary adjustment, some senior staff now find their salaries to be lower than those who have recently joined the team – that rarely reach 25k. Under these circumstances, they cannot foresee a future at the Spanish Mission.”