Andorra - Working conditions

The labor force in Andorra included 30,787 salaried employees in 1998, and the unemployment rate was very close to zero. Trade unions were legalized for the first time only after 1993, and modern social institutions are still in the early phases of development. But the most significant labor-related issue recently has probably been the re-qualification for Andorran citizenship, a major challenge in a country where still only 13,000 people (20 percent of the population) are legal citizens. Citizenship issues are economically very important because the law allows non-citizens to own no more than a 33 percent share of a company, even if it is a small business. Citizenship problems generate major troubles for the enterprising immigrants forming by far the most dynamic economic group in the country. Only after residing in Andorra for 20 years are they entitled to possess full ownership of a business. A draft law aimed at reducing the required years from 20 to 10 is currently being debated. In 1995, a new, more liberal citizenship law was passed, but Andorran nationality nevertheless remains very hard to acquire. Only Andorrans can transmit it to their children, birth on Andorran soil does not confer it automatically, and dual citizenship is prohibited. Lawful permanent residents in Andorra may be naturalized only after 25 years of residency, and their children may opt for citizenship at 18 only if they have resided all of their lives in the country.

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