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Spanish residency available to eligible youngsters

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The Supreme Court Decision Grants Residence Eligibility to Unaccompanied 18-Year-Olds with Financial Aid in Spain

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has extended Spanish residency eligibility to unaccompanied foreign minors, known as ‘menas’, who reach the age of majority and seek to prolong their stay in Spain, relying on financial aid as their means of subsistence.

The ruling ensures that aid received from both government and NGO-funded accompaniment programs can now be considered as income for these individuals.

The decision follows the High Court’s review of a case initially reported by Confidential Digital. Overturning a previous ruling by the Bilbao Court, the Supreme Court deemed the denial of a residence permit to an 18-year-old Nigerian unjust, citing the failure to account for the aid he received when assessing his income.

The defence presented evidence that the Nigerian national regularly receives financial assistance from various sources, including the Provincial Council of Bizakia, the Basque Government, and the Red Cross, covering his basic needs such as food, transportation, medical expenses, and clothing.

Confidential Digital’s report highlights that both the administrative courts in Bilbao and the Superior Court of the Basque Country initially rejected these arguments, leading to the refusal of the residence authorization request.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by these individuals transitioning from the child protection system to the labor market, the Spanish Chamber judge emphasized the importance of including public aid in calculating necessary income for subsistence and residency renewal.

Spain has witnessed a significant influx of unaccompanied minors in recent years. According to Statista, in 2022 alone, 11,417 children were registered as unaccompanied foreign minors in the country.

However, reports from Humanium suggest that many of these minors struggle to integrate into society before turning 18, often facing barriers to employment and social inclusion.

This decision marks another step towards ensuring the rights and welfare of unaccompanied minors in Spain, following previous controversies such as the illegal deportation of hundreds of children from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in May 2021, as ruled by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

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