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A Guide to Working Abroad in Spain

Although Spain was hit particularly hard by the recent economic crisis, its economy is slowly regaining strength in many sectors, opening the door for foreign nationals to fill in a variety of different forms of employment. Working abroad in Spain is a fantastic opportunity to embrace the beauty of the Spanish culture, while gaining an even deeper understanding of Spanish society by joining its work force. If it has been a dream of yours to live in Spain, then supporting yourself by finding a job in Spain may not be as hard as you think.


Most expats choose to look for work in Spain in one of the major cities, where jobs are most readily available for international workers. Madrid and Barcelona are by far the two largest cities in the country, and also happen to offer the largest number of jobs in Spain.

Madrid is the country’s capital, and is also the third largest city in the European Union. It is not only a major center of Spanish culture, but also a highly influential force in the global economy and a host to many prestigious international organizations. If you want to to work abroad in Spain in a place where a lot of important things are happening every day, then Madrid is the place for you.

Barcelona offers a more laid-back feel to working in Spain, although it is also considered to be a major global city. One of the most popular travel destinations in the world, because of its distinct art, architecture, and pristine setting on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona additionally serves as a major center of commerce and industry, making it a promising location for jobs in Spain in all lines of work.

Valencia and Seville are two more popular cities for jobs in Spain, each offering a unique regional taste of Spanish culture. Your options for jobs abroad in Spain are not limited to these four major cities by any means, but they remain the primary hubs of activity in Spain where you are likely to find the most job opportunities.

Jobs Abroad in Spain

The competition for high-paying jobs abroad in Spain is fierce, as you will be standing toe-to-toe against many highly qualified Spanish graduates (the country’s unemployment rate is quite high right now). You will have the best luck landing a job in Spain if you are fluent in Spanish and carry with you adequate experience and skills that are applicable to the position you are applying for.

The easiest type of work for foreign nationals to land in Spain are in temporary positions, such as teaching English, au pairing, or working within the tourism industry. If you are bilingual, in both Spanish and English, then you will stand out above the rest for openings in any of the latter jobs in Spain. There are many work abroad programs in Spain which work closely with Spanish organizations and businesses to help foreigners obtain temporary employment, allowing them to work in Spain for up to one or two years.

If you want to apply for a more long-term job in Spain, your best luck will be in the service industry or in information technology (two fields that have withstood the recession and continue to thrive).

Typically, all individuals applying for jobs in Spain will want to present their CV and cover letter written in Spanish, and also make sure the employer is willing to help foreign employees through the process of obtaining a visa and work permit.

Salary & Costs

Spain is one of the more affordable countries work in Western Europe, but the gap is narrowing as its economy continues to recover. Basic costs of living, such as food and entertainment, are a bit cheaper when compared to neighboring countries, although real estate can be quite expensive (especially in the major cities).

Your salary will obviously depend on the line of work you enter into, but on the whole you shouldn’t expect to make too much money working in Spain. If you are entering into a temporary job in Spain, such as the ones discussed above, you will likely earn a basic salary which is enough to get by. However, the amount you save up while working in Spain all depends on your spending habits!

Accommodation & Visas

Housing in Spain’s major cities can be quite expensive, so foreign workers should consider starting out by renting a single room in an apartment. If you are making enough money to afford your own place, housing is usually more affordable the further you move from the city center. Many people also choose to live in suburban neighborhoods and commute (some Spanish cities have better public transportation than others, making this a viable option in some places over others).

If you are a resident of the European Union, then you will not have to apply for a visa to work abroad in Spain. Workers coming from most other countries, however, will have to obtain a visa in order to stay in the country for longer than three months. The visa you need will vary depending on your job in Spain and home country. You can check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to learn more information from your local Spanish consulate.

Benefits & Challenges

International Work Experience. Many opportunities to work abroad in Spain are simply temporary employment, but any international work experience and professional networking can take you a long way in your future career. All employers love it when applicants have work experience in a diverse, global environment, especially one that is bilingual.

Embrace Spanish Culture. Spain is world-renowned for its beauty and cultural richness; from flamenco to tapas to bullfighting, you will experience it all while working abroad in Spain. Spain is a diverse and historically fascinating country.

Have an Adventure. As if it needs to be said, working abroad in Spain will be the adventure of a lifetime. You will meet people from all over the world, travel across the country, and create memories that will stay with you forever.

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A Guide To
Working Abroad in Spain


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