It is not only the UK that is suffering from a labour shortage. Spain too needs more workers, and last month the Security and Migration minister, Jose Luis Escriva, announced that requirements and rules for work permits will be eased.
Shortages are particularly acute in the construction and hospitality sectors but also in technology and agriculture.
In order to combat this, the Spanish government will allow 50,000 non-EU students to both study and work. On top of that, work permits will be made more easily available to people who can establish previous connections to Spain – this could be through previous residence, family connections and a minimum of two years’ work in the country, including informal work.
This move should make it easier for British people to obtain a work visa in Spain and therefore to pave the way to residency. Students will also benefit as they will be able to fund their studies by working.
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How easy is it to find work in Spain?
Until 01 January 2021 when Brexit finally became a reality, a person from the UK could legally move to Spain and work without the need for a visa. Some came through their companies, mainly in the technology field and higher-level educationalists and scientists. Others came hoping to find work but at that time unemployment was high and it wasn’t so easy to find a job that paid well.
With the new work visa, it should be easier to get better paid employment in the areas where there are labour shortages.
Speaking Spanish is extremely important, though English speakers are always wanted in the hospitality sector. Estate agencies often want English speakers, especially in areas where foreigners tend to buy property, but a knowledge of the industry is usually required.
Seasonal work is available, picking fruit and vegetables, working in vineyards and similar but it is not yet clear if the new, relaxed visa rules will allow this. Students, already studying in Spain will be able to apply for this type of work however and also in bars, hotels and cafés.
If you’re preparing to come over to Spain to look at properties, make sure you know what to look for by reading our free guide, Your Viewing Trip.
Digital nomad visas
Another recent innovation from the Spanish government is the Digital Nomad Visa. This visa is for someone who works online for a company based outside of Spain, or for themselves, and who travels around the world without having a home base.
Spain has an excellent internet network and fast connections in most towns and cities which is ideal for digital nomads. Most bars and restaurants also offer free WiFi to their customers.
For some British people, a work visa for a highly qualified professional is the best way forward. This applies to anyone staying more than 3 months. To apply, you will need to have found work in a Spanish organisation in management, in technical and specialised companies or have university degrees or qualifications from respected business schools. This visa is initially for 2 years but can be renewed.
This visa is really useful: you can move freely within the EU Schengen countries, you can move to Spain with your family (you need separate applications for them), you can use the years spent with this visa as years towards Spanish nationality and the visa application is available as soon as you arrive in Spain.
Another option is the non-lucrative visa. With this visa you can’t be employed by a Spanish company or its subsidiaries but you can find employment with any company other than a Spanish one, with all revenue originating from outside Spain. However, living and working in Spain will mean you are a resident, liable for tax in that country.
Requirements for this type of visa are straightforward.
Minimum wage in Spain
The minimum wage for full time work in Spain was increased in January 2022 to €1,167 per month. This is spread over 14 installments to take in to account the bonus months of July and December. It is expected to rise again in 2023.
Cleaners and other domestic staff are paid €10 to €15 an hour, with the higher wage more common in larger towns and cities. Legally, they should be paid half the value of 40 working hours a week, but often they are not registered, so could accept less.
Average salary in Spain
The average salary in 2022 is €27,000. An employee could enjoy 22 working days paid holiday annually plus up to 10 national holidays and several local holidays – after all, Spain is the country of fiestas!