About Working in Spain


All foreign citizens who wish to work in Spain will need a Work Permit (Permiso de Trabajo) and a residence permit (Permiso de Residencia). If you are not an EU citizens and don't have a company registered in Spain who is willing to help you with the process it is very difficult and will take a very long time (1-2 years) to receive. We recommend all none EU citizens to contact the Spanish embassy in your country before you start making plans about moving to Spain.

For EU citizens the European laws, which guarantees freedom of movement makes it easier (but still not without hassles) to get work and residence permits. Below you can find a short description of how and where you have to go to arrange all the paper work.

First of all you need to get the necessary application forms. These are handled out at the National Police Station (Policia Nacional) where you also have to return the forms.
To apply for the residence permission, apart from filling in the application form, you need to bring 4 passport photos, your original passport including 4 copies, rental contract or title deeds and they will normally ask for proof that you can support yourself (either by showing an income or a certificate from a bank with proof of savings).
To get a work permit you need first of all to have a work contract for minimum 6 months. This situation can be a bit complicated, as you normally don't have the time to arrange all the paper work and visits to the police station when you have found a job. Apart from a work contract you need to apply for a National Insurance Number (NIE), fill in the application form and bring your full documentation (the same as when applying for the residence permit) to the national police station.

If you don't fully dominate the Spanish language we can recommend to bring someone who can help you. Although you have a complete list of what to bring be prepared to come back because there is always something missing and it is rarely that you solve official application forms on your first visit.

The Spanish Employment Market

Spain is a country, which in the last decades after entering the EU in 1984 has improved its economy and infrastructure significantly. The country still has a high unemployment rate (about 11% of the active population) but many sectors in Spain are in expansion and the need for qualified employment is increasing.

The strongest industries in Spain are the service sector and the tourist industry, but Spain also has an important agricultural sector.

Banks, telephone companies and gas and power companies are the most important international Spanish companies. Within these sectors you can find companies like Telefonica, the banks BBVA and BSCH and Repsol-YPF that have dominant positions in Europe and South America.

The service sector in Spain is located in big towns like Madrid and Barcelona where you also find a large number of international companies. You find the tourist industry throughout coastal Spain - principally in the Canary and Balearic islands and in Costa del Sol in Andalucia.

Apart from the tourist industry the many foreigners who have settled down in Spain have brought a complete industry of services like schools, shops, doctors etc. targeted to and serviced by foreigners.

When you get a job offer in Spain make sure to read the contract carefully (it might be a good idea to get it translated). Normally the first contract will be a temporary contract for a period of 3 to 6 months where after you will be offered a long-term contract if everything has gone OK.

The wages in Spain are normally lower than in other European countries but so are the living expresses. Your employer will be responsible for deducting national insurance and tax directly from your payslip. The National Insurance will be paid by both the employee and the employer (2/3 by the employer and 1/3 by the employee). If you have been paying National Insurance for more than 6 months you are entitled to unemployment support if you loose your job.

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