A guide to contracting in Spain

guide to contracting in Barcelona

25th May 2018

While Spain has certainly had its ups-and-downs since the 2008 financial crisis, it is safe to say that it is now going strong. In fact, recent reports revealed that the country’s economy expanded 2.9% in the last year, with a growth of 0.7% reported for Q1 2018. And according to the European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Index, Spanish figures increased from 109.0 in March to 110.6 in April of this year.

As a result of this growth in positivity and business confidence, freelance professionals can now begin to see greater opportunities across multiple specialisms in Spain.

Leading sectors

When we look at the county’s high performing industries, construction is currently noting an uptick in activity. With data provider, Timetric, predicting that the new home and office development numbers will see a growth of 3.4% from 2016 to 2020, contractors with experience in the building arena can certainly expect to benefit from an increased demand for specialist skills.

Professionals from across the information and communication technology sector can also expect to find multiple opportunities in some of Spain’s largest cities. In Barcelona, for example, 7% of the city’s economy comes from within this arena. Home to the annual Mobile World Congress, particle accelerator facility ALBA Synchrotron and the developer of Candy Crush, it is certainly a thriving destination for ICT experts.

Contracting in Spain: what you need to know

While the country is certainly rife with opportunities at the moment, contractors looking for work need to be aware of a few crucial employment nuances and requirements. For example, very few firms based in Spain seek professionals who can’t speak the local language in some form – even for English facing roles – so basic Spanish is a must.

While there are currently no specific needs in terms of work visas for EU nationals, it is certainly a possibility that this could change following the UKs exit from the Union. Freelance professionals will also need to be aware that they have to obtain a Numero De Identificacion de Extranjeros or ‘NIE’ (pronounced ‘near’) number. This is the foreign equivalent of the national identity number (DNI) that local residents have.

For any contracts over 90 days, you will also need to sign up to the foreigners’ register. This is a separate registration process which secures your tax residency and is a must when it comes to avoiding potential fines or prosecution as a result of incorrect tax payments.

Of course, the best way to ensure you are compliant in Spain is to use an expert contractor management organisation. Get in touch with the team today to find out more:


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