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Working in Barcelona

Starting a job in a new city is an exciting adventure, but it can be a frustrating one. Whether you are already in Barcelona or have not yet made the move, you have many options to help you find the right job for you, based on your skills, interests and experiences.


This blog is sponsored by NewCo Communications.

Working in Barcelona

How can I start my job search in Barcelona?

Looking for work in Barcelona isn’t impossible but it can require time and patience. Nevertheless, there are many options available to help you begin your job search.

Finding a job through a recruitment agency may be the best option for you, especially if you’re beginning your job search whilst still based in your home country.

Job sites are also extremely useful as they provide a good overview of who’s hiring in Barcelona. You can also set job alerts to best suit your preferences.

Social Media

Use your online connections. Thanks to expanding expat communities on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, trying to find a job via social media is relatively easy. 

Barcelona Expat Life

Find companies looking for talented expats to fill their latest roles in a range of sectors from Marketing to Customer Service on our platform.

Visit our career events

Barcelona Expat Life hosts 4-5 job fairs every year to connect job-seekers from all backgrounds with companies that are currently hiring. The job fairs are a casual way to network with major businesses in Barcelona and showcase your own talent to the job market.

Do you need help finding a job in Barcelona?

Do you need help with finding a job in Barcelona? We are happy to help you to quick start your career in Barcelona, all free of charge. Please fill in this quick questionnaire and we will contact you as soon as we find relevant career opportunities for you!

What paperwork will I need to be able to work in Barcelona?

There are several documents needed to be able to work legally in Spain as an expat:


The Identity Number for Foreign Nationals (NIE) is a unique number assigned to foreign nationals in Spain. It is issued the Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or by the Police, and will give you permission to both live and work in Spain.


The identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) is a physical identification card. It must be held by non-EU nationals authorised to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months or by all foreign nationals with a long-term permit.

Social Security Number

Anyone who works in Spain is required to have a social security number. This gives you access to the social security services and healthcare in Spain. Once you have been entered into the system the number will remain the same for life. Whether you’re an EU or Non-EU citizen, you will need it to legally work or do a paid internship in Spain.

Certificado de Empadronamiento

Registration with the Municipal Register of Residents is obligatory for anyone who is planning to move to Spain and live here for more than six months. Having the Empadronamiento (also known as the padrón) will officially make you a citizen of the city in which you reside and registers you within the municipality. 


Other things such as opening a Spanish bank account will also be required of you. 

Working in Barcelona: Seguridad Social

A social security number (número de la seguridad social) gives the citizen access to the social security services and healthcare in Spain. Whether you’re an EU or Non-EU citizen, you will need also it to legally work or do a paid internship in Spain. Once you have been entered into the system the number will remain the same for life.

Documents Required

Your social security is generally paid for and organised by your employer. However, if this isn’t the case, you must go in person to the office of the General Treasury of the Social Security System (Tesorería de la Seguridad Social) closest to your home or office. In order to obtain a social security number you will need to download and fill out the TA-1 form (bear in mind that the form isn’t available in English).

As well as the TA-1 form, you will need the following documentation:

    • ID or passport + an additional copy
    • Employment contract or Rental contract + an additional copy
    • NIE, if you have already got it 
    • Residency papers and visa if you are a Non-EU citizen.




You won’t need an appointment but we strongly recommend that you go there first thing in the morning to avoid long waiting times.

CV tips for job seekers

When applying for jobs, it’s important to adapt to the local format and to give employers what they want to see, or you risk being discarded straight away.



There are a couple of features of a Spanish CV which should be taken into account by foreign job seekers:

    1.  A Spanish CV should always include a professional photograph.
    2. Include a detailed ‘Personal Information’ (Datos Personales) section.
    3. Make sure to list your previous employment, education and all of the languages you speak.
    4. Briefly mention your personal interests and skills.
    5. Your CV shouldn’t be more than 2 pages long, keep it short and sweet.
    6. You don’t need to include a ‘references’ section on a Spanish CV.

Internships and placements

Doing an internship or placement in Barcelona is a great way to gain valuable experience for your future career. Especially as it is one of the world’s leading cities in terms of innovation, and in attracting talent and foreign investment.


Barcelona also ranked at number four for being the best city of business in Europe. All of this combined makes Barcelona the perfect destination when thinking about placements abroad or internships in Spain.


There are many internships available in Barcelona across a range of fields, such as Sales, Marketing and IT. 

The typical work week in Barcelona

The usual workday in Spain is 8 hours, starting around 8:30-9:00am and finishing around 7pm, with a 1-2-hour lunch break in-between. However, office hours may differ depending on the type of job and the company. 


During the hot summer months of July and August, some companies may make adjustments to their workday and have more intensive working hours in the morning.

I need to call in sick to work, what do i do?


If you’re taking time off work due to illness, you have to request a sick note (baja) from your doctor to state that you’re too unwell to work. A copy of the baja needs to be presented to your employer within 3 days, which you don’t have to do in person, you can send an email or ask someone to drop it off for you.


In order to return to work you have to request a second note from your doctor called the ‘alta’, which states that you are well enough to work again. A copy of the ‘alta’ needs to be presented to your employer within 24 hours upon returning to work.


When sick leave is estimated to be under 5 days, you can ask your doctor for the ‘baja’ and the ‘alta’ papers during the same visit. However, you still maintain the right to visit the doctor again on the proposed day of the alta if you still feel that you are not able to return to work.


Working in Barcelona: The Beckham Law

The Beckham Law (Régimen Especial para Trabajadores Desplazados) was created specifically for expats who move to Spain for work, and gives them the option of paying tax as non-residents for their first 6 years in the country. The key of this special regime is that when you are taxed as a non-resident, will only be taxed on income generated in Spain.

Dismissal or End-of-Contract Payment (Finiquito)

On the last day of your employment, your employer will ask you to sign a Finiquito (a receipt that lists the payments due to the employee). Make sure you check it thoroughly for any errors and ask your employer to explain the calculation before signing it, as once signed, you cannot challenge it.

Unemployment benefits

El Paro

To receive unemployment benefits (El Paro) from the first day after your contract ends, 2 appointments must be made within 15 working days of your contract ending.


An initial appointment must be made at the SOC (Servei D’Ocupació de Catalunya) to get your unemployment card (DARDE), this can be done over the phone or online and you will need your DNI/NIE, passport and telephone number. You can’t claim any kind of benefit without completing this first step.


A second appointment will be issued at the nearest SEPE office (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) to present all required documentation.

Pension for expats in Barcelona

If you have relocated to Spain from another EU country, your insurance contributions in any other EU member states can count towards calculating your eligibility for a Spanish pension. Spain also has bilateral social security agreements with several non-EU countries, which provide varying conditions for transferring pension and social security benefits. You may also be able to transfer private pension earnings without additional charges through an overseas pension scheme. 


The Spanish Government will be responsible for processing your claim and bringing together your records from all the countries you have previously worked in. 


You will start receiving your pension once you reach the legal pension age in Spain (65 years and 10 months). 

About NCC Barcelona

We go the extra mile for operational excellence, touching the Heart of Customer Experience.

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