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Working in Spain - Finding Work through the Job Centre

All EEA (European Economic Area, that is the EU Member States plus Norway & Iceland) nationals have the right to live and work in Spain without a work permit. EEA nationals working in Spain will have the same rights as Spanish nationals with regard to pay, working conditions, access to housing, vocational training, social security and trade union membership. Families and immediate dependants are entitled to join them and have similar rights.

Switzerland has signed agreements with the EEA countries regarding freedom of movement of its nationals within the EEA. For further information contact the Spanish Embassy.

Spanish Embassy
39 Chesham Place

Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7 235 55 55
Fax: 00 44(0) 20 7 259 53 92


EURES (European Employment Services) Network

As a member of the EEA, Jobcentre Plus offices and Jobcentre in the UK have details of vacancies throughout the EU, 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 more than 500 specially trained advisers throughout the EEA who administer the EURES system. They are called EURESadvisers and they specialise in the practical issues surrounding employment in the Member States. EURESadvisers can be contacted via local Jobcentre Plus offices. In Spain, they can be contacted via Oficinas de Empleo (see below, `Jobcentres' for more information).

Vacancies on the EURES system can be found on the EURES website. The address is:

The search criteria can be refined to specific professions and regions within countries.

Jobcentre Plus

The Spanish equivalent of a UK Jobcentre Plus office or Jobcentre is an 'Oficina de Empleo' and EEA nationals are free to use its services.

'Oficinas de Empleo' are run by the state 'Instituto Nacional de Empleo' (INEM website or the regional Government Employment Service.

Staff can assist customers in finding a job, vocational training and setting up a business.

Oficinas de Empleo can be found in all cities and most towns. Their addresses are listed in la Guía Telefónica.

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:

00 44 (0) 845 606 0234.

Jobcentre vacancies (including those for work overseas) are also advertised on the Internet. The website address is:
Jobseekers looking for employment in certain occupational areas may register their CVs on EURES CV database. Registered employers can use the service to search for suitable applicants for their vacancies and contact the jobseeker directly. The following occupations are currently eligible for this service.

Hotel & Catering
Health Care
Airports/Air Travel
Information Technology

To access the EURES CV database log onto:

NB. Information is received from employers in good faith but has no legal status.


Working in Spain - Finding Work Through Agencies and the Press

Private agencies

The state-run INEM and the regional Employment Offices are not the only employment and recruitment agencies allowed to operate in Spain for permanent work. 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 equality of 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 Agencies

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'. Large public reference libraries in the UK may well hold copies of 'Páginas Amarillas' or look on the internet at

Some UK employment agencies, which deal with work abroad, are registered with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). REC is a trade association of recruitment agencies and therefore may be in a position to recommend an agency to help you in your search for work. If you write to REC outlining the type of employment you are looking for, they may be able to provide you with a list of suitable agencies that are licensed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

You can contact them at:

36 - 38 Mortimer Street

Tel: 0800 320588 (jobseekers' freephone).

There may be a small administration fee to you for this service.

The following agency may be of use if you have particular skills or qualifications:

UK International House
66 Chiltern Street

Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7 224 6688

The Press

The major newspapers in Spain include 'El País', 'ABC', 'El Mundo', 'Diario 16', 'La Vanguardia' 'El Periódico' and 'La Razón'. Sunday editions have the largest recruitment sections though there are vacancies advertised every day. El País has a website at and El Mundo has a website at

All regional newspapers also have vacancy sections.

English language newspapers such as 'Lookout', or 'The Sur in English' ( website: which circulate in on the Costa del Sol, advertise vacancies.

Vacancies sometimes appear in the UK press, but these are usually with UK-based companies. International newspapers such as the 'International Herald Tribune' carry advertisements for management, technical and professional staff.

To place a personal advertisement in the local or national press you should contact the newspaper publishers directly.

Professional journals and magazines available in the UK may also be a useful source of jobs, especially if the journal is world-renowned. 'Benns Media', a directory listing all UK trade magazines and journals, is available in public reference libraries. A list of Spanish newspapers is available from the Spanish Embassy.

Professional Associations and Unions

Another source of contacts could be the professional association or union that you may belong to. Such organisations may well have contacts with counterparts in Spain who could provide information useful to your job search. Consult 'Trade Associations and Professional Bodies of the UK' at your local reference library.

Chambers of Commerce

Chambers of Commerce ('Cámaras Oficiales de Comercio e Industria') both in this country and in Spain may be a useful source of company information. For further information contact:

The Spanish Chamber of Commerce
5 Cavendish Square

Tel: +44 (0)20 7 637 9061

Consejo Superior de las Cámaras Oficiales de Comercio Industría
y Navegación
C/Velázquez 157
E-28002 Madrid

Tel: +34 91 590 6900
Fax: +34 91 590 6908



Seasonal and Casual Work

Information about seasonal and casual work can be found in an ever-increasing range of books that cover working abroad. These are available in many bookshops and reference libraries.

Working in Spain - Unemployment and Social Security

Your social security rights in Spain under the EEA agreement are the same as those that apply elsewhere within the EU. When you start work in Spain, you will contribute to the Spanish social security system and in doing so, 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 who will give you advice about claiming benefits.

Transferring Job Seeker'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 jobcentre as soon as possible after your arrival in Spain. General information on the transfer of JSA abroad is available from your local DWP office or in the form of a brochure (JSAL 22). Further information can be obtained from the DWP (Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate) at the address below:

Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA

Tel: 00 44 (0)191 218 7777


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 Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate of the DWP at the address given above.

The EEA has published a guide entitled "Social Security for Migrant Workers", which is available from the Pensions and Overseas Benefits Directorate of the DWP at the address given above or on the Web at

Accidents at work

Cover and compensation for accidents at work is the responsibility of the employer.

The Spanish Social Security system does not include a separate scheme for accidents at work and occupational diseases. Instead, one of the usual benefits is paid, but often in improved terms.

Accidents suffered on the way to or from the place of work are also regarded as accidents at work. If you need further information, you should contact your union or local INSS office.

Further information

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: +34 91 5688300
Fax: +34 91 5632908, 91 5611051, 91 5632085

Working in Spain - Employment Issues

REMEMBER that United Kingdom employment protection legislation does not extend to work wholly or mainly outside the UK. The terms and conditions of employment are a matter of agreement between yourself and the employer.


If you intend to work in Spain, you must obtain documentation from your employer in Spain, in writing before you leave the UK. If you are offered a contract, always check carefully the terms and conditions of employment (including disciplinary procedures and performance conditions). Make sure you fully understand what is written in the contract before signing it. The employer may be able to provide you with a copy in English, otherwise you may need to seek help with translation. Check the method and frequency of your pay. Also ask about relocation expenses and accommodation arrangements and whether will get help with costs and what conditions apply. You are likely to be paid directly into a bank so find out what documentation is needed to open an account as soon as possible - your UK bank may be able to help.


There is a minimum wage which is fixed annually by the Spanish government. There are also collective agreements for many sectors. A peculiar aspect of Spanish pay practice is the distributing of one, two or even three extra payrolls every year - one at Christmas and one in summer. These are known as 'pagas extraordinarias'.

A labour contract may be made for an indefinite term or for a given term. In the latter case, its duration depends on the type of contract and on what is stipulated on the matter in the contract itself. Otherwise, a contract is presumed to have been made for an indefinite term and for working full time, except where there is evidence to the contrary.

The normal working week is 40 hours. Overtime cannot be forced and cannot exceed 80 hours per year. It must by law be paid at a rate of not less than 100% of normal hourly rates.

Annual leave entitlement is 30 days including the intervening Saturdays and Sundays. There are also 12 days' obligatory national public holidays plus two days' regional public holiday.

There are statutory rights to paid leave for marriage (15 days) and maternity (16 weeks).

All businesses with 50 or more employees are required to have some form of workforce representation.

A more northern European one-hour lunch and earlier finish in many of the larger cities are now replacing the traditional 'jornada partida' (2 or 3 hour lunch followed by a late finish).

Dismissal and Termination of Contract

You should check this matter out with your employer before you sign any contract. Further information concerning statutory rights can be checked out with any Oficina de Empleo.


You should contact a Spanish Consulate office in the UK or any Oficina de Empleo if you are in Spain to check whether there are any regulations concerning setting up as a self-employed worker in Spain. If visiting the Oficina de Empleo ask for Enterprise Creation Support Service, SACE: Servicio de Apoyo a la Creación de Empresas. Chambers of Commerce should also be able to advise:

Consejo Superior de las Cámaras Oficiales de Comercio Industria y Navegación
C/Velázquez, 157
E-28002 Madrid

Tel: (00 34) 91 590 69 00
Fax: (00 34) 91 590 69 08

Self-employed workers, after applying for an NIE number (identification number for foreigners) at the local police station, should register for Economic Activity Tax at the local tax office and register at the social security office under the Régimen Especial de Autónomos.

You may be exempted from paying Spanish social security contributions for up to 12 months providing you continue to pay UK national insurance contributions and hold the exemption certificate E101. This certificate is issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (International Services). Contact them at the address given in section 4.


Advice on individual rights can be obtained from any 'Oficina de Empleo', Trade Union or Sociolabor Information Office:

Oficina de Información Sociolaboral
Subdirección de Información Administrativa
Agustín de Bethancourt. 11
20071 Madrid

tel: +34 91 533 62 78

Working in Spain - Immigration and Registration Documents

A full UK/EU passport is essential to work in Spain.

British nationals are free to enter Spain for up to three months to look for work or set up in business. Even if you are visiting Spain to look for work, you may be asked to prove that you have adequate means for the duration of your stay and that the cost of your return journey is secured.

Residence Permits

If you are going to reside in Spain for more then 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 1 month of arrival.

A profession peculiar to Spain is that of a 'gestor'. Such a person can be approached to carry out all the time-consuming legwork of obtaining a residence permit (or any other administrative problem for that matter). Gestors' offices ('gestorías') are listed in 'Páginas Amarillas'. Prices vary considerably between gestors so it is worth shopping around.

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.

For further information contact the Ministry of Interior on tel: 900 150 000 (toll free) from within Spain, or, if calling from abroad, on tel: + 34 (0) 91 537 24 23.

Registration with the British Consulate

You should also register your arrival and current address in Spain with your nearest British Consulate office as soon as you arrive.

Self Employment

The form E101, issued by the Department for Work and Pensions - International Services (address given below), provides exemption from paying Spanish national insurance contributions. The employer may ask you for the form E101 before contracts are signed. However an E101 is only issued when you have provided details to the DWP of the employer and starting date of the contract.

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