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Work Permit in Spain

Is a Work Permit Required in Spain?

In Spain, the requirement for a work permit for foreign nationals is driven by economic, social, and regulatory factors specific to the country. One of the primary reasons for this requirement is to protect employment opportunities for Spanish citizens and residents. With high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth, the Spanish government prioritizes local employment. By requiring work permits, the government ensures that foreign workers are employed only in positions where there is a demonstrable shortage of local expertise, thereby safeguarding jobs for Spaniards.

The work permit system also supports Spain’s goals of economic development and modernization. The country is focused on enhancing sectors such as technology, renewable energy, tourism, and healthcare to drive economic growth. The work permit process allows the government to attract skilled foreign professionals who can contribute to these critical sectors, filling skill gaps and promoting innovation. This targeted approach is essential for boosting productivity and fostering sustainable economic growth in Spain.

Ensuring compliance with labor laws and standards is a key aspect of Spain’s work permit system. The government uses this process to ensure that foreign workers are employed under conditions that meet Spanish labor regulations. This includes guaranteeing fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to social security benefits. By enforcing these standards, the government aims to prevent the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers, promoting fair treatment for all employees in Spain.

Security considerations are also crucial to the work permit requirement. The Spanish government conducts thorough background checks and verification of qualifications to ensure that foreign workers do not pose any security risks and have the necessary skills and credentials. This scrutiny helps maintain national security and the integrity of the Spanish workforce, ensuring that foreign workers contribute positively to the economy and society.

The work permit system in Spain aligns with broader goals of social cohesion and cultural integration. By regulating the entry and employment of foreign workers, Spain can better manage the economic impact and social integration of these individuals. This regulation helps maintain social harmony and supports the government’s objectives of balanced development and cultural diversity.

About the Spain Job Market

Work Permit in Spain

Number of Expats:


Popular Industries for Expats:

Engineering, IT, Healthcare, Hospitality Services

Types of Spain Work Visa Available

There are different types of work visas available in Spain that the foreign nationals can apply for based on their reason for visit. 

Work Employment Visa (por cuenta ajena)

Before applying for a Spain work visa, the employee must have a job offer. On behalf of the employee, the employer will request a work permit to work in Spain legally. The work permits are available for selective sectors. Thus, it is usually possible to change jobs as long as it is in the same field. 
The Spanish government issues the work visa once the government has recognized the job as a shortage occupation or if there was no right candidate to fill the position from the European Union (EU). In this case, the candidate should belong to a highly skilled profession. 
It takes approximately eight months to process a work permit application. After the work permit is approved by the labor office, the embassy grants the work and residence visa. This is valid for one year and can be renewed innumerable times. The employee can apply for permanent residence in Spain after five years. 

Work Visa For Seasonal Workers

‍This is a temporary work visa in Spain for non-EU citizens who are coming for seasonal work in Spain. The application process for this visa is nearly the same as that for the long-term work visa. However, few additions are there: 
– The employer must provide an accommodation that is hygienic and matches the conditions of adequate dignity. 
– The employer must pay the travel costs of the employee. 
– The employee must return to their home country once the contract is over.  
This visa is valid for either nine months or be the same as the duration of the work contract issued by the employer. The shorter contracts and the permits can be extended up to a maximum limit of 9 months. 

The EU Blue Card

‍The EU Blue card is a residence permit issued to highly qualified people. This allows the EU countries to hire skilled third-country nationals. The employees applying for the EU blue card must have a qualification of at least three years, or they must have a minimum of five years of professional experience. 
The validity for the EU Blue card is one year and can be renewed until the conditions are met. On obtaining the blue card, one is allowed to travel to other EU states for up to three months and within six months. 

Self Employment Work Visa

‍Also called Autonomo in Spanish, this visa is for people who wish to work on their own terms as a freelancer. But the process of applying for this visa may differ as per the applicant’s country of origin. 
The citizens of EU and EFTA member states can work freely without any work permit. They can just register themselves as self-employed when entering the country. However, the Non-EU/EFTA citizens have to apply for a visa to enter Spain and then a residence permit to reside in the country for a long time.  
The validity of the self-employment work visa is one year. After this, it is renewable for two years and can be extended up to five years. 

Work Visa For Students

‍People who hold a student residence card are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week while studying in Spain. However, the employer has to arrange a work permit on behalf of the students. 
If the study program is for 3-6 months, one may be required to acquire a student visa. But if it is stamped for 180 days total duration, they will not be allowed to get a residence card (TIE) that allows them to work in Spain. 

Working Holiday Visa

‍Spain holds a working holiday visa agreement with countries like Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and New Zealand. If the person is a citizen of any of these countries and up to 30 years of age, then they are eligible to apply for this visa. 

Work Visa For Au Pairs

‍An Au Pair is a young Foreign national aged 18 to 30, who comes to live with the host family for a limited period. They usually support the host family with simple household chores and childcare while also learning the host country’s language and culture. Earlier, the AU Pairs worked on a student visa, but now the Student Visa Program in Spain requires applicants to be full-time students. Furthermore, if a student wants a work permit, the job must be compatible with the study schedule, and the working hours should be limited.

Requirements for a South Africa Work Permit

There is a varied range of documents required for different visa types. To acquire the Spain work visa, some of the common documents are: 

  • A copy of their passport that is valid for at least six months from their travel date. 
  • A proof of their clean criminal record 
  • Proof of medical records done before arrival 
  • 3 Passport-sized photographs  
  • A copy of their job offer 

If the employee is in their home country, the employer is responsible for filing their application with a Spanish embassy or consulate in that country.

Spain Work Permit Application Process

Wondering how to get a work visa in Spain? Here is the detailed application process to apply for the visa:

  • To start the application process for a Spain work visa, the employer has to apply for a work permit on behalf of the employee at the Ministry of Labour office.
  • After this, the embassy will send information about the application to the regional labor office for further process. The verification process may take up to 8 months. Thus, it is suggested to plan ahead. 
  • Once the labor office approves the work permit, the embassy of Spain Consulate will issue the work and residence visa of the employee. 
  • Apart from the work visa process, the employees have to register for Spanish Social Security authorities and also the General Social Security Fund. This will be done on behalf of the employee.

How Multiplier Can Help 

We are a global EOR solution with local entities in over 150+ countries. We are here to simplify the onboarding process for companies like you and help you manage global talent without any hassle. We offer end-to-end solutions to our users, which are designed and developed intricately by our in-house experts.

With the help of our SaaS-based solutions, you can request a Spain work visa and work permit. Our well-equipped team of experts will ease your tasks by handling the entire process, including the processing time, document verification, and the cost incurred. During this process, you will be kept updated about the progress.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Work Employment Visa (por cuenta ajena): For non-EU citizens with a job offer from a Spanish employer. The employer must apply for the work permit on behalf of the employee. This visa is valid for one year and can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Work Visa for Seasonal Workers: For non-EU citizens coming for seasonal work. Employers must provide adequate accommodation and pay travel costs. Valid for the duration of the work contract, up to a maximum of nine months.
  • EU Blue Card: For highly qualified individuals with at least three years of higher education or five years of professional experience. Valid for one year and renewable.
  • Self-Employment Work Visa (Autonomo): For freelancers or entrepreneurs. Valid for one year and renewable for two years at a time, up to five years.
  • Work Visa for Students: Allows students to work up to 20 hours per week while studying. Requires a work permit arranged by the employer.
  • Working Holiday Visa: Available to young people from countries like Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and New Zealand. Valid for up to one year.
  • Work Visa for Au Pairs: For young foreigners living with a host family to assist with childcare and household chores. Requires a student visa​
  • General requirements include:
    • A valid passport (minimum validity of six months).
    • Proof of a clean criminal record.
    • Proof of medical records.
    • Three passport-sized photographs.
    • A copy of the job offer.
  • Specific requirements may vary depending on the type of visa

The process typically takes up to eight months. The employer must first apply for the work permit at the Ministry of Labour. Once approved, the application is sent to the regional labor office and then to the Spanish embassy or consulate for issuing the visa​

Fees vary depending on the type of visa and additional services required. Employers usually handle these costs as part of the hiring process​

Yes, family members can apply for a family reunification residence permit, which allows them to work without a separate permit as long as the primary visa holder remains employed in Spain

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