If you decide to expand your company into Spain, you could spend months or even a year focusing on numerous aspects of building a business. One of the most important areas is employment. Once you find talented people to join your team, you have to know how to get a work visa in Spain for each employee.
Types of Work Visas in Spain
The first step to obtaining a work visa in Spain is knowing whether your employee needs a work permit. Since Spain is a part of the European Union (EU), EU citizens do not need a work permit to live and work in the country. Otherwise, expats must secure a job so you, as the employer, can request authorization for the individual to legally work in Spain. The job must be listed as a Shortage Occupation, meaning there were no suitable candidates in Spain or the EU.
Authorization to work in Spain is combined with an employee’s residence permit. Once they receive this authorization, employers must submit an application for a work permit on behalf of the employee. Work permits are valid for one year, and employees can renew them as long as they fulfill the right conditions. Permits typically apply to specific sectors, and some options include:
- Seasonal work visas
- Au pair visas
- EU Blue Card
- Self-employed visas
- Fast track visas
After five years of holding a work visa, employees can typically apply for long-term residence.
Requirements to Obtain Spain Work Visas
As soon as your employee arrives in Spain, they must apply for a foreigner’s identity card/number (TIE/NIE) with a local foreigners office or police station within 30 days. They must use their NIE for all financial and administrative processes in Spain, including employment.
Employers are responsible for applying for work permits in Spain on behalf of employees. You must go to the nearest Oficina de extranjeros or the Provincial Ministry of Labour. Employees must provide photocopies of their passport, criminal record, medical records, three passport-sized identification photos, and copies of their job offer. If you apply while your foreign worker is still in another country, you must file their application with a Spanish embassy or consulate in that country.
Soon, employers will be required to sign all initial work and residence applications submitted to the Large Companies Unit with their company’s digital certificate. This change is expected to go into effect by March 31, 2023.
After submitting a Spanish work visa application at the Ministry of Labour office, your employees will get a copy of the application with a stamp and file number. The embassy will then inform the regional labor office that it has the application, and the labor office will process it. Keep in mind that it can take up to eight months to process a work permit application, so it’s best to plan ahead. As soon as the labor office approves the work permit, the embassy or consulate will issue the employee’s work and residence visa.
Outside of the application process, all employees in Spain must register with the Spanish Social Security authorities and the General Social Security Fund. Employers will typically do this on behalf of the employee unless the individual is self-employed.
Other Important Considerations
Many employees will also want to bring family members to live in Spain. As long as employees have been living and working in the country for a year and hold a residence permit for another year, they can apply for a family reunification residence permit. Family members can then work without a permit. If any of these family members want to stay in Spain and work using their own residence permit, the employer must apply on their behalf.
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