Moving to Spain for Work

Moving to Spain for Work

There was a time when many young British people, and indeed those of other nationalities, would flock to the Spanish Costas at the beginning of the summer to look for seasonal work in bars and discotheques.

Employing foreigners as summer workers was beneficial for bar owners, as most young workers were prepared to work for low wages, as they were more interested in having a good time than making money. In most cases, business owners illegally employed workers without having official papers, which further saved the bar owners money on paperwork and taxes.

However, these days things are very different, says Juan Suarez from local firm Javea Estate Agents, and few business owners will risk employing somebody without having all the necessary paperwork in place. Fines for having an illegal worker are very high, and work inspectors regularly inspect all types of businesses, looking out for anyone who may be working without the necessary papers. This is also more beneficial for the worker. She will have the right to medical treatment and receive a payment of around €430 per month in the form of “la ayuda” if she completes a contract of at least six months and is unemployed during the low-season winter months.

The collapse of the Spanish property market led to many people losing their jobs, as not only were those in the construction industry affected, but it had a knock-on effect. Builders and labourers would no longer be eating in the local bars and restaurants or using other services, as they found themselves without jobs or income.

Therefore, if you come to Spain hoping to find a job in a shop or other small local business, it is likely that you will end up disappointed. For each vacancy, there are many applicants for unskilled employment, and as an outsider, you are unlikely to be picked over local people who have contacts in the town.

However, having said that, numerous people around the globe are now working virtually from home, and if you are able to offer skills online or start your own online business, Spain is a perfect location. This is due to the great weather, lower living costs than the UK or France, and the more laid-back atmosphere and slower lifestyle lends itself well to working flexible hours.

Alternatively, suppose you have a trade such as a qualified electrician, teacher, or carpenter. In that case, you will probably find your services are in demand in towns where there are large numbers of expats, who usually prefer to deal with somebody who can speak their language.

Another option is to teach English as a second language. Working in a school may require qualifications, but many parents and students like to hire a native to help practice speech and improve English skills, and simply speaking English as a first language is adequate to secure this type of work.

You should be aware that if you offer your services as a teacher or a handyman, you are required to register as a self-employed person, which means paying “autonomous” every month. This is a self-employed tax, and the best person to inform you about what you would legally be required to pay is a gestor. You would most likely need to retain the services of a gestor to help you with this sometimes-complicated paperwork that is involved in running a small business in Spain, working as a self-employed individual.