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Working in Spain

Eastbourne Summer CampMany travelers who come to Spain for a week often end up staying for a year instead. With gorgeous sunshine, good food and so much to offer for a newcomer, Spain makes an excellent place to live in. But just like any other country, relocating here often means getting a job beforehand, dealing with paper work and overcoming several other hurdles.

Types of Temporary Work in Spain

Let’s start with finding a temporary job in Spain. There are few industries in Spain that welcome foreigners: mainly hospitality, services and education. Majority of foreigners land teaching jobs rather easily, although a number of them also try their luck in hotels, bars and restaurants. Another popular option is working as an au-pair. Several agencies in the U.S. and Canada arrange for you to work in Spain as an au-pair and you will receive a small stipend each month. It is rather common for European families to hire an au-pair to stay with them and basically spend time and speak to the children in her native language.  If teaching is not your cup of tea, you might like to make use of your language abilities as translation work is also quite a popular choice. For temporary work, check out any English magazine in Spain – such as InMadrid and Granada Insider – for bulletins and advertisements.

General Requirements

For EU citizens, you will not need a work permit, and the high demand for European-language speakers will put you an advantage. On the other hand, non-EU citizens will find it rather difficult to get employers who are willing to apply a permit for you. Try to obtain some working experience at home before trying your luck in Spain. Also, being able to speak Spanish is mandatory so be sure to brush up your Spanish language skills before moving to Spain. To increase your chances of employment in Spain, you might like to do a course in a Spanish University or even take a Masters.

Teaching English in Spain

The easiest way for foreigners to get temporary work in Spain is teaching. Native English speakers will find that the English teaching positions are high in demand, and institutes or private companies are willing to apply for a work permit for you while some even turn a blind eye to legality issues. However, you can always take on private classes on your own, without working with a school or institute. Evidently, schools or institutes pay better (rates are usually €15-25 per hour), but if you are still unable to find such teaching jobs after a few months, then it might be best to put up adverts online or in the classifieds and search for private students.
To better secure a teaching position in Spain, it’s best to obtain TOEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification or get some teaching experience in your home country before leaving. But of course, due to the high demand for English teachers, some companies disregard experience or qualifications as long as you are a native English speaker.
Best places to find a teaching job are online: check out or Many adverts are placed on a daily basis on these websites, looking for English teachers. Alternatively, you can also visit any Irish pub for adverts or look through English magazines in Spain.

Professional Work in Spain

If you’re looking to relocate permanently to Spain and focus on your career, you might like to look for a job in your field of expertise. Such jobs usually take a longer period to find, so it’s best to start sending your CVs and cover letters while back at home. Linkedin is a great way to connect with potential employers online. You can start doing some research and reading up about other professonals’ experiences on websites such as

How easy is it to find a job in Spain?

With the economy crisis hitting Spain so hard, the job market is not looking as bright as it used to a decade ago. Nonetheless, temporary work is always in demand, especially for English teachers. Keep sending out CVs and don’t give up hope. Try to meet people once you arrive in Spain – nothing works better than contacts and word of mouth. Give yourself three months at most to find a job, if you still don’t find anything by then, it might be wise to rethink your strategy – take up a course or try looking for jobs in another field.
Photo by Nellie Huang.