Spain Employment Advice

Employment in Spain


Many people come to Spain with the intention of finding employment when they arrive.
Any national of the European Union has the right to work in Spain or any other EU country, providing they have either a valid identity card, or in the case of the UK, a current passport.

The right to work is based upon compliance with each countries laws and employment regulations. In Spain, employment laws are complex and regularly broken, but working illegally on the black economy is risky and the punishments (if caught) can be steep.

UK/EEA nationals have the right to live and work in Spain without a work permit. UK/EEA nationals working in Spain have the same rights as Spanish nationals with regard to pay, working conditions, and access to housing, vocational training, social security and trade union membership. Families and immediate dependants are entitled to join them and have similar rights.

There are restrictions on employment within the civil service, when the right to work may be and usually is, limited on the grounds of public policy, health, or security.

For more information on moving to Spain contact the Spanish Embassy:

Spanish Embassy
39 Chesham Place

Tel: 0207 235 5555
Fax: 0207 235 9905

Website: Spanish embassy

Residence Permits

If you are going to reside in Spain for more than three months a residence card 'tarjeta de residencia' will be required. The local authorities issue this. You should apply for the 'tarjeta de residencia' at the local Foreign Office or at the local police station within one month of arrival.

In Spain a 'gestor' can be approached to assist in obtaining a residence permit or any other administrative problem - prices can vary considerably between gestors. 'Gestors' offices 'gestorías' are listed in 'Páginas Amarillas'.

Those entering Spain to set up their own business in some form of self-employment do not require a work permit or visa but do have to register with the local police once in Spain and apply for a residence card.

EURES (European Employment Services)

Jobcentres and Jobcentre Plus Offices in the UK have details of vacancies throughout the EEA, supplied to them through the EURES network. This is a partnership between all of the employment services in the EEA, to support free movement of workers. The EURES system facilitates the circulation of vacancies and enables access to up-to-date information on living and working conditions in each EEA Member State via a computer network.

There are over 700 specially trained advisers throughout the EEA. Their role is to promote employment mobility within Europe. They are called EURES advisers and they specialise in the practical issues surrounding employment in the EEA Member States. EURES advisers can be contacted via your local Jobcentre Plus office or from the website below.

Customers looking for employment elsewhere in Europe may register their CV's on the website's CV-Search service. Registered employers use the service to search for suitable applicants for their vacancies and are able to contact the jobseeker directly.

Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus has a network of offices throughout the UK where staff can help you find work locally, nationally and internationally. Look in a telephone directory under Jobcentre Plus or Jobcentre. Alternatively, call Jobseeker Direct on: 0845 606 0234. Jobcentre Plus vacancies (including those for work overseas) are also advertised on this website.

The Employment Service in Spain

As an EEA national you have free access to the services of the Spanish employment service, 'INEM' or 'Oficina de Empleo'. The 'Oficinas de Empleo' are run by the state 'Instituto Nacional de Empleo' (INEM website or the regional Government Employment Service. 'Oficinas de Empleo' can be found in all cities and most towns. Their addresses are listed in 'la Guía Telefónica'. Staff can assist customers in finding a job, vocational training and setting up a business.

Spanish Employment Agencies

Job applications may also be made via authorised non-profit making "Private Placement Agencies" (whose services are paid for by the user, who may only be charged for the expenses incurred).
These agencies must guarantee, within the scope of their operation, the principle of equal opportunity and may not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, age, marital status, religion, political views, trade union membership, social class or language within the Spanish state and must be non-profit making organisations.

Temporary Employment Companies in Spain are only allowed to operate for temporary work. For names and addresses look in the Yellow Pages 'Páginas Amarillas' under 'Empresas de Trabajo Temporal'. or look on the Internet at:

UK Employment Agencies

REC is a trade association of recruitment agencies and may be able to recommend an agency to help you in your search for work abroad.
They can be contacted at:

36 - 38 Mortimer Street

Tel: 0207 462 3260
Fax: 0207 255 2878

Transferring UK Sickness Benefit

If you are in receipt of Sickness Benefit in the UK, you may be able to transfer payment to another member state.
Ask at your local Jobcentre, Jobcentre Plus office or Social Security office in the UK for further information.

Further information is also given in the leaflet SA29 'Your Social Security, Insurance, Benefits and Health Care Rights in the European Economic Area'

Social Security

Your social security rights in Spain are the same as those that apply elsewhere within the EEA. When you start work in Spain, you will contribute to the Spanish social security system and consequently, gain the right to benefits.

The Spanish system of social security is administered by the 'Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS)'.
Benefits cover healthcare, sickness, pensions, unemployment and invalidity.
If you become unemployed while you are in Spain, you should contact your local 'Oficina de Empleo' or INSS office for advice about claiming benefits.

Pension Contributions

Under EEA regulations, if you work in two or more EEA countries you can combine state pension contributions paid in each state in order to qualify for a state pension. For more information contact the Centre for Non-Residents at the following address:

Centre for Non-Residents
Room BP 1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Tel: 0845 915 4811
Fax: 0845 915 7800

For further information on all benefits whilst in Spain contact your local office of the INSS or:

Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social
(Gestión y Administración de las Prestaciones Económicas del Sistema de la Seguridad Social)
Servicios Centrales
c/Padre Damián, 4-6
28036 Madrid
Tel: 00 34 91 5688300
Fax: 00 34 91 5632908, or 00 34 91 5611051, or 00 34 91 5632085


When living or working abroad, where you pay tax depends on a number of factors. The main factor is whether you are resident in the UK or not during a particular tax year.

Residence in the UK is defined as spending more than 183 days a year in the UK or visiting the UK for 91 days a year or more on average over a four-year period.

However tax is payable on UK earned income for those who are not resident in the UK.

Double taxation agreements are in force between the UK and over 100 countries across the world, including Spain, to prevent the risk of double taxation where income could be taxable in two countries. Further information is available from:

HM Revenue & Customs.
Revenue Policy International Division (Double Taxation)
100 Parliament
Tel: 0207 438 6622

For information in Spain contact:
Delegación de Hacienda en Madrid
Ministerio de Hacienda
Guzmán El Bueno 139, 3a planta 28003 Madrid
Tel: 00 34 91 582 6767 (ext. 6537)
Fax: 00 34 91 582 6577

Transferring JobSeeker's Allowance (JSA)

If you are entitled to the contributory part of JSA and have normally been claiming this for at least four weeks in the UK, you may continue to receive it for up to three months in Spain, while you actively seek work there.

You must first tell your Jobcentre Plus office or Jobcentre in the UK (where you are registered) of your intention to look for work in Spain well in advance of your departure date.
Your Jobcentre Plus office or Jobcentre will advise the DWP Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate who will determine whether conditions are satisfied and send you form E303 before you leave.
This form, which secures the payment of your unemployment benefit in Spain, should be taken to the Spanish employment service as soon as possible after your arrival in Spain.
General information on the transfer of JSA abroad is available from your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office in the form of a brochure (JSAL 22). For more details contact:

Centre for Non-Residents
Room BP 1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Tel: 0845 915 4811
Fax: 0845 915 7800