Work in Spain: Guide to find a job in Spain

Work in Spain

Do you want to work in Spain? !! Congratulations!! If you want your future to take place in a new destination, Spain is one of the favorite countries to emigrate and find opportunities to work.

However, as in any context where we consider looking for a job in a new country , working in Spain is a process that must be guided by reliable information, as well as high preparation and prior research to avoid unpleasant surprises.

In 2020,   approximately 1.89 million foreigners were employees of the private sector in Spain and the country’s population growth was due to the increase in the population from other lands, contributing to cultural and professional diversity.

Through this article, we will cover the main points that you must take into account before working in Spain , one of the best destinations for immigrants according to different studies and official surveys.

Are you ready to know everything you must take into account before working in the Iberian country? This is the first thing you need to know:


Why work in Spain?

Despite the economic contraction in Spain, which began in 2008 and ended in 2014, which triggered historical unemployment rates, Spain continues to be a popular destination for foreigners in search of a better employment future.

Not surprisingly, this destination ends up attracting international candidates from all over the world, thanks to its warmth, official language, avenues of community ties, and business opportunities for international talent.

According to data from Statista, the foreign population residing in Spain as of January 2021 amounted to 5,375,917 million people. Of these, more than 775,000 were of Moroccan origin, thus being the largest immigrant group in the Mediterranean country.

expats in spain

This is in addition to a great quality of life, security and public health system , which can be used by locals and international residents with a social security number.


Requirements to work in Spain if you are a foreigner

Although the reasons to live and work in Spain are numerous, before getting excited, it is essential to be aware of whether you can meet the necessary requirements to work in Spain.

In general, the requirements and conditions established to work in Spain may vary depending on your nationality , the regularization route chosen to legalize your stay in the country and many other additional factors.

However, the essential requirements to work in Spain, in most cases are:

  • Foreigner Identity Number (NIE) : It is a serial that identifies you to the authorities as a non-Spanish citizen residing in Spain.
  • Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) : This physical card enables you to live and work in Spain as a resident. Among the data of the plastic, the NIE number is included.
  • Work permit : To work in Spain on a regular basis, you will need a work permit or authorization, either through a visa to work on your own or with an employer.
  • Empadronamiento : This is an important procedure and requires you to go to the town hall of the region where you live, in order to formally register as a resident in a certain area of ​​the country.
  • Social Security Number : Once you have been regularized to work in the country, you have time to register with Social Security. Although normally this procedure is in charge of your employer, there may be cases where you must do it in an office of the General Treasury of the Social Security.
  • Individual Health Card : Although it is not a priority requirement to work and live in Spain, it can be very useful to have effective access to public health services.
  • Bank account : You will need a bank account in which to receive your payroll periodically.


Jobs most in demand in Spain for foreigners 

There are different sectors in the country, each with a higher or lower demand, depending on your location, but here is a list of some of the jobs with the most demand and hiring of employees of international origin, with a strong emphasis on the area of hospitality, tourism and services :

  • tourist entertainers
  • Chefs
  • kitchen helpers
  • Waiters
  • floor waiters
  • Clerks in stores and warehouses
  • cleaning employees
  • Customer Service Staff
  • Renovation and construction staff


Salary in Spain

According to official data from the Ministry of Labor, for 2021, the minimum interprofessional salary (SMI) in Spain is 950 euros per month , regardless of the type of working day or contract.

Obviously, each sector or professional role handles a higher or lower salary range depending on their particular qualities; however, to live comfortably in the country, you should not accept less than that.


Best cities to work in Spain if you are a foreigner

Voucher! You have already decided that you are interested in working in Spain; however, the process does not end there and after that, a more important question will arise: In which Spanish city or region is it more accessible to live and work as a foreigner?

Although the answer will always be a bit relative, some fundamental points such as the cost of living and housing, along with the average job opportunities in the region, are factors that you cannot ignore.

These are some of the cities preferred by foreigners who decide to “change scenery” in Spain:


Being the capital of the country , it is not surprising that it is the largest financial center in Spain and that large companies install their headquarters in this city.

Also, job options are quite diverse, especially in the commercial and service industry.

But beware! The cost of living is higher than in some other cities in Spain, being a metropolis, so you should carefully choose an area that suits your budget and needs.



The city of Barcelona is the favorite destination for tourists, which is why the tourism sector is obviously full of job offers for both locals and foreigners.

It is important to take into account that the favorite language of Barcelona is Catalan and although it is not always a big obstacle when looking for a job, mastering this language is an undeniable plus.

In fact, with an advanced command of Spanish, Catalan and English, it is almost impossible for your job prospects not to be prosperous.

In the case of Catalan, there are programs that allow you to learn the language easily, so that you are prepared to hold any professional position in this great city.



Valencia is one of the cities with the most employment in the country and the range to apply for a position is full of possibilities.

It is a very good option if you are interested in the field of telecommunications, since the computer and technology sector has a number of constantly growing job offers.

Not to mention food service industries, agriculture and livestock, retail trade, wholesale trade, storage and activities related to transport and tourist accommodation services.

In addition, compared to other large cities in Spain, the cost of living in Valencia is profitable and manages affordable market prices.



Full of life and with a very stable economy, the city of Seville is an option with a lot of potential to fit your needs, especially if you are a fan of southern Spain .

With a high demand for employment in the service sector, hotels and restaurants are constantly searching for talent willing to serve the many tourists who visit the city.


Visas to work in Spain

We have previously said that to work in Spain, you need a work permit or visa. Next we will detail what are the types of visa that exist to open this possibility:

Visa to work in Spain as an employee

This permit authorizes, if you are over 16 years of age, to emigrate and work in Spain with an employer. As a main requirement, you need a job offer, since it will be your employer who initiates the process.

Likewise, this type of visa has a series of basic requirements that you must meet to guarantee its obtaining:

  • Not be an irregular resident in the country.
  • Have a clean criminal record in Spain and in the countries where you lived in recent years.
  • Payment of the corresponding fees.
  • Have a job offer registered with the State Public Employment Service.
  •  Submit a contract signed by you and your employer.
  • Prove that the employer is registered in the Social Security system and has the financial means to pay for your services.
  • Demonstrate the academic training and work experience required to practice your profession.

Visa to work in Spain on your own

If what you are looking for is to undertake and start your own project as a freelance or autonomous in Spain, you need this permit.

The visa to work in Spain on their own, authorizes foreign citizens, over 18 years of age, to carry out economic activities in the country, provided they meet the following requirements:

  • Not be an illegal resident in the country
  • Have a clean criminal record in Spain and in the countries where you lived in recent years
  • Meet the requirements that current legislation requires for the opening and operation of your project
  • Have verifiable professional experience to be able to carry out your business
  • Prove that you have enough money to carry out your project
  • Prove that you have extra funds to pay for your stay in Spain

This is the most friendly option with the needs of a digital nomad, for example.


Websites to find employment in Spain

The Internet is a great tool to search for work, both in Spain and in other international destinations, so here is a list of the most popular web pages to find open job opportunities for foreigners in the Iberian country:

  • Employ yourself
  • Infojobs
  • Linkedin
  • Indeed
  • RemoteJob (online employment)
  • work for the world
  • Milanuncios
  • Randstad
  • Adeco


Final words 

With this information it is clear that Spain not only has a very rich culture and an enviable quality of life, but it is also an opportunity that deserves the effort to consider among your options.

The labor regularization routes for foreigners are much more accessible, at least compared to other countries in Europe and the world, so obtaining a work visa has a series of well-defined keys and steps.

This does not mean that working in Spain is a decision that you should take lightly or that you can ignore all the negative aspects of the employment landscape unleashed by the economic crisis; however, with a well thought out plan, your goal may have a hopeful outcome.

Do you dare to take the step?


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