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