Relocating your employees to Spain

Spain is in the top 5 largest economies in Europe. No wonder that it is interesting for many companies to settle here or to relocate employees to the country. For the employee, the Mediterranean climate, the cultural cities, and the laidback lifestyle are a decisive factor in starting a new adventure in Spain. In this article we tell you more about the things that you as an employer should consider when moving employees to Spain.

Immigration requirements

When relocating to Spain, employers and employees must take into account the rules regarding visas and permits. The country is an EU member state, which means that EU citizens can work and live in Spain without a visa or permit.

It is a requirement that they register within 90 days of arrival in the country in order to obtain a residence card. The application process for this card will also grant a NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). This number is a legal identification number that the employee can use to open a local bank account or pay taxes.

Types of work permits

Non-EU nationals are not allowed to work or live in Spain without a permit. They can apply for one of the following permits.

Work permit as an employee

The most relevant work permit for an employee will be the work permit as an employee, also known as “por cuenta ajena”. The employer must start the application for this work permit through the office of the Ministry of Labor. The application process can take up to 8 months, so it is important to apply for the documents in time. The work permit is valid for one year, but can be renewed every year as long as the conditions are met.

Seasonal workers

Many seasonal workers are deployed in Spain, especially in the summer months. To deploy your employee (who is a non-EU citizen) as a seasonal worker, a work and residence permit and visa are required. There are a few additional requirements for this type of permit, namely:

  • The accommodation must be arranged by the employer
  • Travel expenses are covered
  • After the end of the contract, the employee will return to his country of origin

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card offers highly skilled third-country nationals the possibility to reside and work in an EU country. There are strict requirements that must be met to be eligible for an EU Blue Card:

  • The person must have spent at least 3 years completing a higher education qualification. Spain also allows professionals that have 5 years of professional experience of a level comparable to the higher education qualifications.
  • The work contract must include a salary which is at least 20% or 50% more than the average salary in Spain
  • A work contract or binding offer must be presented for at least one year.

relocate-employee-to-spain Relocation management

Are you thinking about moving your employee to Spain to perform work there? Then of course you want this process to go as smoothly as possible. There are several factors, such as housing or education, that must be taken into account.


Initially, it will be attractive to look at rental options for the employee, so that he can get used to his new destination before purchasing a home for the longer term.

Compared to other European countries, housing prices in Spain are a lot more attractive, although this can vary by region. Especially in big cities like Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia it is a challenge to find affordable housing options. You often pay a high price for rent here, but the advantage is that you live in a bustling city with a big international community. For international employees it’s easier to find new contacts who also speak English in a big city, compared to a small Spain village.

Working conditions

A full-time working week in Spain is a maximum of 40 hours. The law also stipulates that there must be at least 12 hours between the end of the working day and the start of the next working day.

The working conditions in Spain are very attractive compared to other countries. A full-time worker receives 30 calendar days of paid holidays per year. In addition, there are also 12 to 14 paid national holidays, the number of which may vary per autonomous community.

As of January 2021, both parents will receive maternity and paternity leave for 16 weeks. These days off are also granted to adoptive and foster parents.

School system

The Spanish schooling system is divided into three groups:

  • Colegios públicos: state funded schools
  • Colegios concertados: private schools that are subsidized
  • Colegios privados: privately funded schools, including international schools

Schools are regulated by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, although local communities set the curriculum and educational standards. Primary education starts at the age of 6 and education is compulsory until the age of 16. After that, students can apply to a university or vocational school.


Residents of Spain, as well as expats, can use the state’s free healthcare system. This care is paid for by withholding a percentage of the wage. There are also private hospitals and health centers, for which additional costs apply. The dentist is not part of regular care unless you take out private insurance.

To register for the public healthcare in Spain, you need a social security number. You can apply for one by registering with the Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social (TGSS), which is the Spanish social security. After registering, you get a social security number and a certificate that states you are entitled to medical help.


Costs of relocating employees to Spain

Visa costs

If your employee is staying in Spain for less than 3 months and is an EEA or EU member state citizen, no additional visa needs to be applied for. They do need to register their presence after which a certificate of registration is issued.

If the employee stays longer in Spain or they are a non-EU citizen, then they’ll have to apply for a work visa. The costs for a work visa depend on the type of visa you are applying for. For example, an employed work visa costs between €80 and €167, while a self-employed visa can cost up to €674.

Transport of household effects

Spain has a good connection with foreign countries and a favorable location by the sea, which makes it easy to arrange the transport of household effects. In general, the costs for sea freight are the lowest, because more goods can be transported at once on a boat, unlike, for example, an airplane. With sea transport, consider a longer transport time, so make sure that the process is started on time.

If an employee moves to one of the Spanish islands, such as Mallorca or Tenerife, the household effects will have to be shipped to the destination by plane or boat. These costs can be higher.

Flight tickets

In addition to the costs for transporting the household effects, you also have to deal with costs for airline tickets. There are many airports in Spain and the major cities have good public transport connections. Make good agreements with the employee who is responsible for the costs of the airline tickets. In many cases, the employer pays for this, but you can make a different decision in consultation.

It is interesting to book the airline tickets far in advance, because the prices are usually lower than when you book it short in advance.

A professional relocator helps relocating your employees to Spain

A good start is half the work. Find yourself a professional relocation and international moving company to help you with everything related to the relocation. At Voerman International, we are happy to assist you with our move management and relocation management services.

Back to overview