How to come to Spain with an Employment Contract as a Foreigner Spanish Nationality

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Introduction

Many people choose Spain as their destination to work, study, or reside. If you are a foreign citizen and wish to stay legally and long-term in Spain, you will need to manage a residence and/or work permit. In this article, we will address the most common question: How to go to Spain with a job contract? We will explain the different authorizations and residence and work permits available for those who wish to work in Spain.

How to Hire Foreign Workers to Work in Spain: All Requirements

Before delving into the process of hiring foreign workers, it is essential to understand the requirements and conditions established by the Spanish authorities. Here, we will break down the different types of foreign workers and their tax obligations in Spain.

Tax Residents and Non-Tax Residents of Foreign Individuals in Spain

In Spain, foreign workers can be classified into two main categories: tax residents and non-tax residents.

Tax Residents: Foreign workers who meet certain conditions, such as having resided in Spain for more than 183 days in a calendar year or having the center of their economic interests in the country, are considered tax residents in Spain. For them, the same Personal Income Tax (IRPF) tables as those for any Spanish resident apply. The retention percentages vary progressively, ranging from 19% to 45%.

Non-Tax Residents: Foreign workers who do not meet the requirements to be considered tax residents are classified as non-tax residents. These workers are subject to a 24% withholding tax for IRPF unless they can demonstrate through a residence certificate that they come from a country in the European Union, Iceland, or Norway, in which case the withholding would be 19%.

Interns and Foreign Students

The tax treatment for interns and foreign students in Spain also varies according to their tax residency:

Resident Foreign Interns or Students: Resident foreign interns or students are subject to a minimum withholding tax of 2%. This withholding applies in the following cases: contracts of less than one year, internship contracts, agreements with interns, and agricultural and livestock activities.

Non-Tax Resident Foreign Interns or Students: Non-tax resident foreign interns or students initially pay taxes at a rate of 24%, and after six months, they are taxed like any resident in Spain.

Requirements to Be Considered a Tax Resident in Spain

It’s important to note that foreign workers don’t necessarily need to be tax residents to work in Spain, but acquiring this status can be beneficial for them in terms of IRPF (Personal Income Tax). A person is considered a tax resident in Spain if they meet any of the following circumstances:

  1. Having resided in Spain for more than 183 days in a calendar year (from January 1 to December 31). Sporadic absences will be counted unless they demonstrate tax residency in another country.

  2. Having the center of their economic interests in Spain, either directly or indirectly, such as owning a mortgage or rental property in the country.

  3. Habitually residing in Spain with a legally non-separated spouse and dependent minor children.

Spanish citizens who demonstrate having a new residence in a tax haven will continue to pay IRPF, both in the year of the change of residence and in the following four years.

  1. Providing evidence through an indefinite or long-term employment contract that they will be in Spain for the medium or long term.

It’s important to highlight that a worker can request to be considered a tax resident in Spain from the first day of their stay in the country, even if they haven’t resided for more than 183 days in the calendar year. This may prevent them from being subject to a 24% withholding tax and allow them to benefit from the more favorable conditions for tax residents.

Special Tax Regime for Workers Dispatched to Spain: The Beckham Law

The Special Tax Regime for workers dispatched to Spain, commonly known as the Beckham Law, is an option to consider for foreign workers with high incomes who wish to work in Spain.

This regime was introduced by Law 26/2014 and offers the possibility for workers who become tax residents in Spain due to their displacement for work reasons to choose to pay taxes through either the Personal Income Tax (IRPF) or the Non-Resident Income Tax (IRNR) using model 151.

To qualify for this regime, the worker must meet the following requirements:

  1. Not have been a resident in Spain during the ten years prior to the year in which their displacement for work reasons occurred.
  2. The displacement must result from an employment contract, and the work must be effectively carried out in Spain, not exceeding 15% of the work remuneration received in a calendar year.

If these requirements are met and the worker decides to opt for the Special Tax Regime, they will be subject to a 24% tax rate during the year of their displacement and the following five years, provided that their annual earnings from the employment contract do not exceed €600,000. If this amount is exceeded, the withholding tax rate will be 45%.

These tax rates are considerably lower than the general rates of IRPF, making this regime attractive for foreign workers with high incomes. If you still have doubts about whether this procedure suits your case, you can consult our Complete Guide to the Beckham Law.

Intra-Company Transfer in Spain

The intra-company transfer in Spain allows foreign workers to change their workplace within the same corporate group or with Spanish companies with which there is a close business relationship. Two alternatives are offered for this procedure: the authorization for intra-company transfer ICT-UE, which applies to managers, specialists, and trainee workers, and the national authorization for intra-company transfer, which covers other cases, such as transfers for contract execution or professional relationships.

Authorization for Intra-Company Transfer ICT-UE: This option is intended for managers, specialists, and trainee workers. Requirements include holding a higher education degree or having a minimum of three years of professional experience, having a previous and continuous labor or professional relationship of at least three months with a company within the group, and proving the existence of a real business activity. The duration of the authorization is adjusted to the transfer period and can be renewable for two additional years.

National Authorization for Intra-Company Transfer: This alternative covers various cases, such as transfers for contract execution (CSS) or professional relationships (IPs). Specific requirements vary depending on each case, but it is essential that the host company proves the transfer, the relationship with Social Security, and the healthcare coverage of the foreign worker. The maximum duration of the transfer depends on the employee’s category, and authorizations must be requested and managed by the company or entity.

It is essential to meet the requirements established for the corresponding type of transfer, and it is recommended to seek proper advice before starting the process. For more details and a comprehensive understanding of the procedures and requirements of intra-company transfer in Spain, we invite you to consult our article titled «Residence for Intra-Company Transfer in Spain«.

Work Permit in Spain

In the Spanish immigration regulations, there are various authorizations and permits to reside and work in the country. Each of these authorizations has different requirements and conditions, so it is essential to identify which one best suits your particular situation. Before coming to Spain, it is crucial to seek a job offer and an interested employer or company, as this requirement is common to all residence and work authorizations.

Here are the main residence and work authorizations that you can apply for to work in Spain:

Residence and Work Permit for Salaried Employment

This authorization is processed from the country of origin and requires having an offer of indefinite employment. It is important to note that temporary job offers have a duration restriction of six months. The requirements to obtain this authorization are as follows:

  1. Not being a citizen of a European Union Member State, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, nor a family member of citizens of these countries.
  2. Not being in an irregular situation in Spanish territory.
  3. Having no criminal records in Spain or in previous countries of residence for offenses existing in Spanish law.
  4. Not being prohibited from entering Spain or being listed as inadmissible in the territorial space of countries with which Spain has agreements in this regard.
  5. Not being within the commitment period of not returning to Spain that the foreigner has assumed upon voluntarily returning to their country of origin.
  6. Paying the corresponding fees for the processing of the residence and work permits for salaried employment.
  7. The occupation that the worker will perform must be included in the catalogue of occupations with difficult coverage that the State Public Employment Service publishes quarterly. Hiring is also allowed if the Immigration Office considers that the position could not be filled after issuing the certificate regarding the management of the job offer.
  8. The employer must be registered in the Social Security system and comply with its tax and Social Security obligations.

If you have any doubts about this type of residence, we invite you to read the article titled «Residence and Work Permit for Salaried Employment in Spain«

Residence Permit for Professional Internships

This authorization is intended for foreigners who have obtained a higher education degree, either in Spain or abroad, within the years prior to the application. It allows for the conclusion of an internship contract with the employer and has a duration that coincides with that of the internship contract, in accordance with current Social Security regulations.

An advantage of this authorization is that it is not necessary to surpass the national employment situation, making it accessible to any non-EU foreigner who has obtained the required qualification in the years prior to the application.

Authorization as a Highly Qualified Professional

This authorization is regulated by the Entrepreneur’s Law and is designed for highly qualified or experienced workers. To obtain this authorization, the minimum salary set by the Large Enterprises Unit must be approximately 40,000 euros annually. If this applies to you, please refer to our article on Highly Qualified Workers in Spain.

Similar to the previous authorization, it is not necessary to surpass the national employment situation, which facilitates the processing for foreign workers.

Requirements for Hiring Foreigners in Spain

When a company wishes to hire a non-EU foreign worker, it must take into account the following aspects to comply with legal requirements:

Hiring EU Workers: Citizens of the European Union and EU workers do not need any special permits to work in Spain. They can be hired without restrictions and without the need to obtain a work permit.

Requirements for Hiring Foreigners in Spain

When a company wishes to hire a non-EU foreign worker, it must take into account the following aspects to comply with legal requirements:

Hiring EU Workers: Citizens of the European Union and EU workers do not need any special permits to work in Spain. They can be hired without restrictions and without the need to obtain a work permit.

Hiring Non-EU Workers: Hiring non-EU workers can be more complex, and the company must follow certain legal procedures.

Hiring of Non-Community Foreign Workers

a. Foreigners with Temporary Residence Permit for Scholarships or Studies: Foreign students can work part-time or full-time, as long as the work schedule is compatible with their studies. However, these permits usually have a validity period of no more than three months.

b. Foreigners Coming to Work without Residence and Work Permit: It is essential for individuals who are not from the European Union to obtain a temporary residence and work permit in Spain before working, whether self-employed or employed by others. The employer must be responsible for processing this permit.

c. Foreigners with Temporary Residence and Work Permit: Employers must ensure that the residence and work permits of foreign workers are valid, as these permits have an annual duration and must be renewed. Hiring foreigners without this permit is considered a very serious offense, with fines ranging from 10,001 euros to 100,000 euros.

It is important for Human Resources personnel in a company to be well-informed about the procedures and requirements for hiring foreigners in Spain to ensure compliance with all regulations and avoid sanctions or legal issues.

Procedure to Hire Foreign Workers in Spain

Once we understand the different types of foreign workers and the tax requirements, it’s important to know the procedure for hiring them in Spain. Below are the steps to follow:

Obtaining the Residence and Work Permit

In this case, the parents of the newborn must go to the nearest Civil Registry and register their birth. To do this, it will be enough to present the birth certificate of the baby, family book, and ID, NIE, or passport of the parents.

How to obtain Spanish nationality by descent?

To hire a non-EU foreign worker, you must first obtain a valid residence and work permit in Spain. If the worker does not have this permit, the employer must apply for it on their behalf. Once the permit is granted, the worker must obtain a visa to enter Spain.

Registration with Social Security and Foreigner Identity Card (TIE)

Once the worker is in Spain, the employer must register them with social security. Additionally, the foreign worker must apply for the Foreigner Identity Card (TIE), which allows them to reside and work temporarily in the country. Foreign students can also work and reside temporarily in Spain, as long as their work schedule is compatible with their studies.

Advantages of Hiring Foreign Workers in Spain

Hiring foreign workers can bring various advantages to a company:

  1. Cultural Diversity and International Experience: Foreign workers bring experiences and different cultural perspectives from their respective countries, enriching the company and fostering a multicultural work environment.

  2. Language Skills: Foreign workers often have valuable language skills, allowing them to communicate with international clients or serve foreign markets.

  3. New Methodologies and Skills: Foreign professionals may bring innovative methodologies and specific skills that are not common in the host country, which can improve productivity and efficiency in the company.

  4. Access to New Markets: Hiring foreigners can facilitate access to new international markets, as foreign workers may have a better understanding of business practices and customer preferences in their home countries.

In summary, hiring foreign workers can be a strategic and beneficial decision for companies in Spain, provided that legal requirements and tax obligations established by Spanish authorities are met. Additionally, it’s essential to have an informed and prepared Human Resources team to properly manage the procedures and processes related to hiring foreign workers.

If you intend to work in Spain as a foreign citizen, it’s crucial to inform yourself about the different types of residence and work permits available, as well as the requirements and conditions for obtaining them. Make sure to have a job offer before starting the application process, as this is a common requirement for all authorizations. Consult legal advisors and immigration experts to obtain updated and accurate information about the specific procedures and requirements that apply to your situation. Complying with all regulations and standards will allow you to enjoy a successful and legal work experience in Spain. Good luck with your professional adventure in Spain!

Conclusion

Working in Spain as a foreigner can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to understand the requirements and procedures necessary to do so legally. In this article, we have explored the different types of foreign workers, their tax obligations, and the procedure for hiring them in Spain. From tax residents to interns and students, each category has its own particularities, and it’s important to be informed to avoid legal issues and enjoy a successful work experience in Spain.

Remember that legislation may change over time, so it’s always advisable to consult with immigration experts and legal advisors to ensure that you are complying with all current requirements and regulations. Good luck on your professional adventure in Spain!