How can a foreigner get a job in Spain?
A large number of foreigners choose to work in Spain because of the low cost of living and comfortable working conditions. Find out more about how a foreigner can get a job in Spain and what is required
Moving to Spain for work is a great idea, because the country has a low cost of living, sunny weather and rich culture. You can also receive free medical care here, the tax system is favorable for foreigners, and most employees have the right to a month of paid vacation.
More than 3.3 million expats work in Spain, which make up almost 21% of the country's labor market. More than 2.3 million of them came from outside the EU. Most often, citizens of Morocco, Colombia, Italy, Great Britain and Venezuela receive work permits in the Kingdom of Spain.
How can a foreigner get a job in Spain? A detailed guide for expats follows.
What documents do you need to have for legal employment in Spain?
Citizens of EU and EFTA member states can come to Spain and work freely without any work permits.
Foreigners from other countries of the world need a residence visa and a valid work permit in Spain for legal employment.
Read about the available types of visas to Spain and the procedure for their registration at the link.
Types of work permit in Spain
Depending on the purpose of the stay in Spain, a foreigner must obtain the appropriate type of work permit, the most common are:
1. Standard work permit – it is quite difficult to issue it, because the document has quite high requirements:
- You can apply only in the country of origin.
- Also, before completing the documents, you need to find a Spanish company that is ready to hire you and take care of your application, that is, get an offer of employment.
However, any job offer will also not be suitable, as the vacancy must be from the so-called "list of scarce occupations". In Spain, when hiring, priority is given to legal residents and citizens of the country, so a foreigner receives a rather limited range of rights.
2. Work permit for the self-employed - can be obtained by foreigners who plan to start their own project in Spain or work independently. You must also submit a business plan that clearly describes your business idea. Unfortunately, few projects are accepted for consideration, because opening a typical business (for example, a coffee shop) is not enough. It must be a business that can create a large number of jobs and make a significant contribution to the development of the Spanish economy.
The application process for this type of permit also begins in the country of origin.
3. Permit of a highly qualified employee
You can apply for this type of permit while in Spain. The advantage is that you can come to the country on the basis of a tourist visa. The registration procedure is quite fast - only 20 days. This type of permit is intended for foreigners with higher education who will hold technical or managerial positions in a Spanish company with a salary of more than 50,000 euros per year.
Do you need to know Spanish to work in the country?
If an expat does not speak Spanish, he can find a job in an international company or in the field of tourism, real estate, become an English teacher and provide services aimed at expats.
To work in all other fields and live comfortably in the country, you need to know Spanish.
Specialists in which industries are in the highest demand in Spain?
According to the latest data, the maximum demand for specialists is currently observed in Spain:
- the merchant fleet sector, in particular, there is an acute shortage of marine engineers, ship engineers, ship waiters and stewards, ship firefighters, etc. in the country;
- professional athletes and coaches;
- business developers;
- managers for work with clients;
- IT specialists;
- data processing specialists.
Given the shortage of workers, getting one of these positions can be much easier. Also, wages are usually higher in these industries. A nice bonus is that you don't always need to speak Spanish to work in these areas.
In what positions do most foreigners work in Spain?
The main sectors where foreigners are employed are:
- service sector (46.76%),
- agriculture (38.03%),
- industry (8.08%),
- construction (7.13%).
Most often, you can meet a foreign worker in one of the following positions: company directors, bar or cafe managers, translators, foreign language teachers, family doctors/specialists, IT specialists, accountants, administrators, cooks and waiters, agronomists, fishermen, masons , plasterers, truck drivers, machine operators, etc.
The list of the best jobs in Spain for foreign citizens in 2023 can be found by following the link.
Which companies in Spain most often hire foreigners?
Spain has a number of leading companies that employ foreigners: Mapfre, Repsol, Telefonica, Acciona, Glovo, Naturgy, Sandoz, Indra, Applus and Enagas.
How to find a job in Spain?
There are many ways to find a job in Spain. Depending on the industry and specific position, you can choose one of the options or combine all of them at once.
1. EURES – EU citizens can search for jobs in Spain on the EURES (European Employment Service) website.
EURES is a network of job portals supported by the European Commission and designed to facilitate free movement within the European Economic Area. In addition to looking for a job, you can post your resume and get advice on legal and administrative issues related to working in Spain or any other EU country.
2. The Public Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) or SEPE provides information on open vacancies, training courses and job search advice. You can also search for a job on the public job portal in Spain - Empleate.
3. Job search sites:
- Specialists/professional employment: Ambient recruitment, Xpatjobs(translators), Approach People Recruitment (highly skilled workers), Talent Search People (finance, sales, IT, e-commerce), Tecnoempleo (IT and telecommunications).
4. Staffing agencies - they usually search for specialists for temporary work.
5. Social Media - Whether you're using hashtags to search for new jobs, cold-mailing HR or managers, or just looking for new job postings, LinkedIn is a great place to start. You can broaden your search by joining expat groups on Facebook.
How to apply for a job in Spain?
1. When you find a suitable job, you will need to prepare an application. We advise you to adapt your CV and cover letter to the Spanish job market - add the following information to your CV:
- Name, date of birth, address, telephone number, email address and nationality.
- Work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Languages, certificates and skills.
Some jobs in Spain require candidates to complete an application form and write a personal statement rather than sending a CV and cover letter.
2. If you are invited to an interview, it is important to know that it usually lasts 30-60 minutes. Some interviews may be accompanied by short tests or tasks to determine skills and abilities.
In case the interview is in Spanish and you feel like you need to brush up on your spoken Spanish, find a tutor to prepare.
Dress to impress. The recruiter will definitely appreciate your appearance, as well as what you wrote in your resume.
Prepare for the interview - learn more about the company you would like to work for.
Tax and social security numbers in Spain
Foreigners who plan to stay in Spain for more than 6 months must obtain a NIE - a unique number consisting of seven digits and two letters. It is issued to all foreigners who plan to apply for a long-term visa in Spain. Your NIE will appear on all documents issued in Spain.
You can apply for a personal NIE by sending the application form to the nearest Spanish embassy or consulate. This must be done before issuing a long-term visa. The embassy will need your NIE when issuing a specific visa.
Once you have received your NIE number, you can apply for your Spanish Social Security number.
In addition, upon arrival, you must register with the national tax office, Agencia Tributaria, to pay taxes.
Useful information about working in Spain
- According to new data, the average salary of workers in Spain is 1,822 euros per month.
- The average full duration of the working week is slightly more than 40 hours. Some companies still practice the long lunch break - siesta, which is famous for the Spanish working day: working hours - from 9:00 to 20:00, with lunch breaks from 14:00 to 16:00-17:00. However, in many large companies and multinational corporations, you are likely to find regular working hours and an hour lunch break.
- The trial period is usually from 2 to 6 months. The minimum notice period for terminating the contract is from 15 days, although it can be up to three months for those who have been working for many years.
- Spanish workers are entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 22 working days per year and rest during public holidays in Spain.
Igor Usyk - Head of Legal Department at Visit World
For safe relocation to Spain, obtaining refugee status and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer.
We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in Spain.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Spain;
Legal advice on immigration to Spain;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Spain;
Medical insurance all over the world.
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