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Work visa for Spain

Work visa for Spain

As of today, the Spanish economy is characterized by two substantial trends: the intensive growth of key figures (the post-crisis recovery is now fully under way) and continued high unemployment indexes among the local population (especially when considering young people, for whom the unemployment index reaches 40%). However, it is worth mentioning that open positions in the sectors of high technologies, IT, and consulting are vacant because of a real shortage of qualified specialists in these fields, as many prefer immigrating to countries with even more favorable labor market climates. It is quite possible that the economic situation will continue to change for the better, and the Spanish economy will fully recover in a period of years; in turn, the labor market will become stabilized.

As the above-mentioned data demonstrate, high unemployment rates among the Spanish population can complicate the process of job searching and work visa application for Spain significantly. These factors considered, the truest recipe for success consists of the following elements: high professionalism, proven experience in the area of specialization, and demand for specialists in one’s field in the insufficiently competitive and relatively inflexible structure of the Spanish labor market.

Work visa for Spain: what is the purpose and who is eligible?

Obtaining a visa to work in Spain is a problem primarily for non-EU citizens. According to the Spanish migration legislation, citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland do not confront any limitations when conducting any kind of professional activity in the territory of the Spain. All other countries are subject to the rigidly regulated procedure of labor legalization that is linked to attaining work authorization and the accompanying work visa. One should remember that the work visa for Spain not only presupposes official employment in a resident company, but it is also necessary for the following workers:

  • Those who are planning to go to Spain as a seasonal worker. In this case, in addition to the completion of the standard documents, it is necessary to confirm the availability of (rented) housing, present a financial affidavit form that demonstrates coverage of the travel costs and stay expenses, and provide proof that upon completion of the contract the employee will return to his or her country of origin.
  • Freelancers and persons engaged in the development of their own businesses are obliged to obtain work authorization issued based on governmental review of the business plan, required licenses, and financial guarantees the applicant has presented. In this situation, rather than issue a work visa for Spain, the governmental authorities normally grant a residence permit with work authorization.

Those who go to Spain through an Au Pair program (and live with a host family) and students who study in Spanish universities should not be worried about how to acquire a work visa for Spain. Students studying in Spain can work with a student’s card up to 20 hours per week, provided that their work does not impede the main immigration purpose - studying. The members of an immigrant’s family with work authorization and a work visa for Spain need to apply for a long-term visa (residence permit) with the purpose of family reunification. When obtained, this residence permit allows them to conduct professional activity in the territory of Spain.

How to get a work visa for Spain

How to get a work visa for Spain

The first and the most important condition for acquiring a work visa for Spain is to search for a job BEFORE submitting the documents for a work visa. In general, the whole process, from searching for a job in Spain to moving to the country, is as follows:

  • Step #1 – Conduct a job search according to your experience and educational background; pass the initial screening and interview. An employer needs to prove that you are the most suitable candidate for the position among applicants who are Spanish citizens (this detail is logical, considering the high unemployment rates among citizens). Afterward, an employer must confirm that you have successfully passed the selection process. At this point, the employer begins the process of work authorization and application for a work visa for Spain.
  • Step #2 – Acquire work authorization. Your employer deals with this step without your participation. In other words, he or she needs to submit an application on your behalf to the local office of the Ministry of Labor of Spain (the location depends on the province where you are planning to work). Upon acceptance of this form, you should receive the returned application, bearing the seal of the Ministry of Labor and an ID number. Afterward, when applying for a work visa for Spain, you will need to submit the above-mentioned papers together with other major documents to the consulate. From this moment on, governmental authorities start the process of the official work authorization and preparation of your work visa for Spain.

Nuances you should know:

  • The work visa for Spain is issued for 1 year and can be extended;
  • Researchers, scientists, and other highly-qualified specialists with proven achievements in their fields do not need work authorizations (applicants of this type are eligible for the EU Blue Card);
  • Upon arrival to Spain as a work visa holder, within 30 days one must submit the required documents for a foreigner’s ID number (NIE) and register with the social security fund.
  • The job must be a full-time position with a job contract for 10 month or longer.

Required documents when applying for a work visa for Spain

applying for a work visa for Spain

Below is a list of the standard documents required when applying for a visa to work in Spain:

  • Official application that bears the employer’s signature and seal (EX-1 form);
  • Three passport photos of the applicant (passport format);
  • Passport original and photocopies of all its pages (the passport must be valid for the duration of the job contract);
  • Official job offer, signed and sealed by the employer (EX-5 form);
  • Proof that demonstrates a company meets its fiscal obligations fully and pays the required social contributions to its workers (ТС – 1, ТС- 2 forms);
  • Official affirmation declaring that the vacancy in question has been placed on the local labor exchange and the best candidate for this position was not found in the territory of Spain or the EU;
  • Document describing the company’s activity and explaining why the non-EU citizen must work here;
  • Originals and photocopies of the diplomas/certificates that showcase the applicant’s level of education, bearing the seal of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Spain.

Should you have any questions about your job search in the territory of Spain and the bureaucratic procedures that are inevitable when applying for the Spanish work visa and work authorization, feel free to contact the specialists of the INEEDSpain service center.


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