With a population of over six and a half million people across the main city and its suburbs, some have said that Barcelona is the biggest non-capital city in Europe and while this is debatable there’s certainly no denying that Barcelona’s heart is one of the biggest in the EU.
The laid back Spanish attitude to work-life balances and jumping social scene bring ex-pats flooding into the city year after year and although the salaries might be lower than in many other EU countries, the trade-off of long lunch breaks and relaxed working hours are worth it!
The high rates of tourism in Catalonia mean there’s a constant need for workers to take care of the influx of travellers and this in turn keeps unemployment low for many sectors. Despite this, trying to find work if you’re new to the city can be daunting, especially with language barriers and complex labour laws to deal with.
If you’re applying for a professional or technical job, expect to be asked to show your qualifications or degree certificates to prove your skills, but be aware that not every qualification is valid in all EU countries and even those that are may need to be stamped by a notary to make them legal internationally.
As an ex-pat of the EU you have a right to live and work in any other EU and EEA country and so you won’t need any additional visas, so that’s one worry off your mind, but if you intend to make Spain your home you will need to apply for a Foreign Identity Number and a Residence Card which can be picked up through the Oficine de Extranjeros.
Once you’re settled into your new home you will need to add your name to the Padró Municipal d’Habitants at your local city hall which will entitle you to the benefits provided by Barcelona’s equivalent of the city council.
You will also qualify for Spain’s public health service, similar to our NHS. This system works well and sometimes better than Spain’s private health care, however few of its doctors speak English and this may tempt you away to private options.
If you’re unfamiliar with Barcelona working life and want a taster before moving into your field of expertise, I recommend starting out by getting a job teaching English in one of the city’s many language schools.
These jobs aren’t plentiful, but if you speak English and have some manner of English qualification of any level you will be better qualified than many other applicants, so go for it!