Residence permits for audiovisual production professionals in the Canary Islands

CECA MAGAN Abogados Experts in Residence permits in for professionals from audiovisual sector in the Canary Islands
13 Jun 2023

Table of contents

The Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands has recently witnessed a progressive increase in the interest of film production companies in filming and audiovisual productions of all kinds, whatever their scale. 

Moreover, the reason for this focus on the Spanish islands, which have also been successful in attracting international production companies of late, is no secret. The attractiveness of the Canary Islands for this sector is centred on two aspects: 

  • a) On the one hand, its paradisiacal landscapes that serve as natural scenery for many recordings, or even the vast expanses of land where film sets can be set up; 
  • b) On the other hand, and infinitely more practical, the great tax advantages enjoyed by those who decide to establish their production there are the definitive bait.

This is where visas and permits for audiovisual production professionals become particularly important, i.e. the legal specialities in the field of migration in terms of the regime applicable to this type of qualified workers in this sector whose intention is to reside and work in Spain.

1. What tax deductions are there for audiovisual production in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands' tax regulations have traditionally differed from those of the rest of mainland Spain. In fact with the aim of encouraging the economic and social development of the archipelago, the Canary Islands currently have the Canary Islands Economic and Fiscal Regime (REF) in force, which offers significant tax advantages for its beneficiaries.

Among many other fields, those investing in the audiovisual sector - in film productions, but also in audiovisual series and live performances of performing arts and music - are favoured by this scheme, which gives them access to an attractive tax deduction. 

In the Canary Islands, it amounts to 50% (or even 54% in some cases) on the first million euros invested, and 45% from that amount onwards, whereas, by comparison, in the rest of the Spanish mainland the corresponding deductions are currently set at 30% and 25% respectively.

On the other hand, within the REF, there is a special tax regime known as the ZEC (Canary Islands Special Zone), which grants companies that avail themselves of this regime - in addition to the previous deduction - the benefit of access to a reduced Corporate Income Tax (IS) rate of only 4%.

2. Who can benefit from these tax advantages?

In order to benefit from the advantages described above, we must be dealing with an audiovisual production that has the Canary Islands Certificate  for Audiovisual Production. This may include feature films, but also audiovisual series of fiction, animation or documentaries that meet the appropriate requirements.

Considering these fiscal and economic advantages, the attractiveness of the Canary Islands for audiovisual professionals is assured. And, consequently, the effect of attracting local and national professionals, as well as those from the international audiovisual sector, to develop their productions. 

3. What are audiovisual permits?

The Residence Authorisations for Professionals in the Audiovisual Sector arise to encourage and facilitate the hiring and residence in Spain of foreign workers in this sector. 

They are aimed at companies and professionals working in a wide range of audiovisual activities, from the production of traditional television content to the most current production scene, linked above all to the digital and interactive environment, i.e. software development, video game production, eSports, etc..

It will be a year and a half since Order CM/1238/2021 of 12 November was passed. This legislative innovation responded to a specific need of society, creating a specific residence permit for these qualified positions (in short, all sound directors, camera operators, production directors, etc.), who currently have their own way of residing and working on their audiovisual productions in Spanish territory, which is notoriously simplified and streamlined.

Main advantages of these permits

In the same way as other permits for qualified positions that are regulated in the well-known migration law 14/2013, these authorisations have a reduced resolution period, as the bodies in charge of granting or denying the applications must do so within a maximum of 20 working days. 

In addition, they allow access to simplified family reunification, in contrast to the usual processes of the general regime, which tend to be longer and more demanding in this respect.

Finally, in the event that a residence permit is not required, if the audiovisual production worker were to reside in Spain for a period of less than 180 days, current legislation allows for the processing of a visa - instead of a residence permit - for that period, which will be resolved within a maximum period of 10 days.

For more information on the particular needs of obtaining residency for audiovisual production companies in the Canary Islands, please contact our specialised lawyers here.

Patricia Ruiz

Lawyer in Labor Department and expert in International Mobility

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