When the thought of moving to Spain first enters one’s mind, excitement comes on strong. Give it just five minutes, and other thoughts, negative and doubting thoughts, start to seep in. One of those thoughts is bound to be; ‘How can I get a job in Spain? Am I legally allowed work there? What kind of work can I possibly do, especially if I don’t speak Spanish?’ Well, moving to a new country and seeking work is never going to be easy, but nor does it need to be difficult. In this article we will hope to answer some of your questions about working in Spain.

Firstly, it’s wise to talk about legality. If you are from an EU country, you can legally work in Spain without a work permit. If you are from a non-EU country, America or Australia for example, you will need a work permit in order to work in Spain legally. However, if you don’t have a work permit, you can join the ranks of non-EU citizens that work in Spain illegally as bar staff, English teachers or sometimes tourist guides.

Assuming you are from an EU member country, you will still need to sort out a few details before starting to work. The first thing is to get your NIE (Numero Identificacion de Extranjeros) number which is essentially your identification number. You get this number by going to the nearest police station that has a foreigners’ department, taking with you your passport with a photocopy and two passport sized photos, and filling out a form which will be in Spanish (take a Spanish speaking friend with you). The process can take up to three weeks but may take less (or sometimes more). In your first job, your employer will apply for social security number, which will then be your number also for all other jobs.

The next step is to look at things realistically’¦what level of Spanish do you have? Can you envision being able to communicate in the language, to express yourself in any given situation, though perhaps not perfectly? If not, then brush up on your Spanish and in the meantime, look to English speaking jobs, of which there are many. In the larger cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, there are plenty of English and Irish bars where you can surely find work without Spanish (incidentally, these bars are also good bets for those of you that don’t have the required work papers). English teaching is another popular option, which is something you can do even if you don’t have qualifications. Getting some sort of teaching certification is a good move though, as it will widen your possibilities a lot. If you get along well with children, there are also plenty of jobs available for English speaking nannies, for which often you live in-house, which would solve both your work and accommodation situation until you move onto something else.

The pay level in Spain is considerably lower than wages in, for example, England or Ireland. However, the price of living is also lower, as are real estate prices, so it generally balances out. You may be able to secure a job abroad with a company from your home country which would probably mean a higher wage (in comparison to Spanish companies) and also, an easier and more relaxed ride, as you will have everything sorted out upon arrival. One more thing to consider is the famous/infamous siesta; if your work place takes a siesta, normally from between 2 and 4.30, you may end up working until 7 or 8pm, but hey, this means a hell of a lunch break for you so that you can leisurely enjoy your tortilla, jamon, pan y cervesa, and your pick-me-up café con leche después.

Ciara Carruthers works as a content writer for oppSpain Spanish real estate agent that is specialised in selling off plan properties in Spain and new developments.