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Question:  What do I need to know about working in Spain?

Answer:  Many people come over to Spain looking for work without doing a little research into the options available. For people looking for seasonal work in bars and restaurants in a tourist area there is a good chance that you would be successful. For those living in areas where the mix of tourists and local Spanish is more even the job seek all of sudden takes on a daunting feel. 


Expats will find that it is nearly impossible to find work in hotels, shops, supermarkets and banks no matter what their qualifications maybe. Even bars can be a problem if you cannot speak the local language due to the amount of Spanish custom the bar may have. 

This can be a real problem for home owners who have relocated to Spain with the view of picking up local jobs only to be disappointed.Many are then forced to return home to work and putting their permanent move on hold, or they start-up a business themselves. This can often be high risk as you are entering an economy you know little about.  This said there are many people who have found work by becoming employed by an expat that may have started their own successful business and are in need of some extra staff. 

Others are more fortunate and have found work in the lucrative real estate industry as reps for some of the leading agents. If you plan on getting involved in work of this nature, some experience in the area and an ability to speak or to pick up the Spanish language quickly would be a great advantage. 

Learning the language will open up so many options for you so taking private lessons or attending night schools is something definitely worth considering. 

Tax is around the same percentage as back home and you will have the benefits of paying your national insurance and pension contributions so you can get free health care allowances for you and your children.  

With a low cost of living you may find that the salaries in Spain are lower than back home. As long as you are aware of the employment options available in Spain before you arrive, you will be able to make financial plans to allow for a period of time without any sustainable income. 

There is still a lot of employment in the black economy with many vacancies such as bar and restaurant work paying cash in hand. The problem with this type of work (other than being illegal) is that you have no protection. If the restaurant is not busy, the owner may send you home and you do not get paid. You only get paid what you work. 

Contract work is much better. You have to pay tax and national insurance but if you are planning on staying for the long haul then this is no problem because you are paying into a pension. You also receive discounted healthcare for you and all of your family. Contract work also means 20-30 days paid holiday leave per annum along with sickness pay. Contract work has many benefits as opposed to working in the black economy.  

Question:  What do I need to know about Self-employment in Spain?


Answer:  If you are one of the many who came to Spain looking for casual work and been disappointed with the options available then you may have turned your attention to starting your own business. 

Many expats have been very successful at doing this and have simply transferred a business that may have been flourishing in their home country. Many tradesmen find the relocation quite easy and find that word of mouth in the local urbanisations and bars is the best form of free publicity to get them started. 

While you will find that many businesses will be registered and take advantage of healthcare and pension benefits you will also find just as many that find casual work in the black economy.They provide work to the local expat community in exchange for cash. Will pay no national insurance, have no pension and will provide no guarantee for their work. 

The Spanish government just like any other does not take kindly to the black economy and is currently taking steps to try and ensure that more business become registered and pay their taxes accordingly. 

If you are starting a small business in Spain, it is better to be self-employed as opposed to starting up a Company. If you are earning large profits this would be quite different because you would probably pay more taxes on your self-employed income than you would as a Company. 

You must keep records of your business to cover expenses, income and capital and these can be found at the local tax office. Accountants will provide a monthly service for your business to ensure you stay within the law and they charge around 50 € per month for this. It is worth having an English speaking Spanish accountant who is there to provide advice for your business at all times. 

The Spanish seem to focus more on the National Insurance monthly payments than the tax and you may find this when you come to pay tax on your business.