Moving to a new country can be both an exciting and daunting experience. If you’re considering moving to Spain, you’re sure to love it; it’s a wonderful country with a rich culture and stunning scenery.
Before you take the plunge, however, it helps to know a little more about the country, culture, language, moving process and more. In this guide to removals to Spain from the UK, we’ll tell you everything you need to know, from the cost of living to the weather. Keep reading for all the info!
Moving to Spain from the UK after Brexit?
Although the UK has left the EU, you can still travel in Europe after Brexit for up to 90 days within 180 days.
However, if you are moving to another country within the EU, you will now need a visa.
Additionally, most countries will require that your passport is valid for at least six months before you travel, regardless of how extended your stay will be, so it’s essential to make sure your passport is up to date before you leave.
To relocate to Spain from the UK for the medium to long term, Britons need to apply for a visa that corresponds to the purpose of their stay. A visa for an adult currently costs €80. The application must be submitted within the UK within 90 days of the intended travel date and cannot be submitted from within Spain.
The three types of visas available for UK citizens are:
- The combined work permit and residence visa, also known as the visado de trabajo y residencia, which allows you to work and live in Spain.
- The student visa, also known as the visado de estudios, which is valid for the duration of an educational course, such as a degree from a Spanish university.
- The visa for family reunification or retirement, also known as the visado de residencia no lucrativa.
Obtaining a tax identification number
One of the first things to do to facilitate your relocation to Spain is to obtain a tax identification number for foreigners, known as an NIE or Número de Identidad de Extranjero.
The NIE is an identification number that is assigned to foreigners who are engaged in economic or social activities in Spain. This number allows the individual to be identified by the Spanish public administration but does not serve as a residence permit for Spain.
You will need an NIE number to do any of the following in Spain: open a bank account, buy or sell property, be legally employed, register a business, register as self-employed, buy or sell a car, or arrange utilities.
The Número de Identidad de Extranjero is obtained by applying at a Spanish consulate.
Moving to Spain to work
The Spanish working visa acquisition process varies depending on whether you are working for a Spanish company, an international company or as a self-employed worker.
Moving to Spain to work for a Spanish company
As a prospective employee in a Spanish company, you will need to obtain a Spanish work permit. Your employer will need to submit a visa application to your local Ministry of Labor (elegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración) office.
The approval process for this can take up to 8 months, during which time you will receive a copy of the application. You can send this to the Spanish embassy in order to push the visa application process forward.
Moving to Spain to work for an international company
If you are employed by an organisation based outside of Spain and are moving to Spain, you must provide the employment contract along with additional proof in the form of past pay stubs. The past pay stubs will serve to show that you have enough money to live on. In addition to that, you must apply for a non-profit visa (permiso de residencia no lucrativa).
Moving to Spain as a self-employed worker or freelancer
If you are moving from the UK to Spain as a self-employed worker, you will need to apply for a self-employed (freelance) visa.
To do this, you will need to prove that you have the required qualifications for the business activity you are carrying out, that your business activity is legal as per Spain’s legal system, and supply a business plan approved by one of the appropriate Spanish authorities.
You will also need to verify that sufficient funds or investments are present to support your stay in Spain, show that you are above 18 years old, show a medical certificate proving good health, and show proof of private health insurance.
Moving to Spain as a student
To study in Spain, you must apply for a student visa and include main documents such as the visa application form, proof of registration in an educational institution, private health insurance, proof of sufficient financial means to support their stay, and proof of accommodation in Spain.
Spain is a renowned destination for university students from all over the world. With a wealth of historically significant cities, Spain offers a plethora of educational opportunities, as well as a vibrant cultural scene.
For many students, moving to Spain is the opportunity to learn a new language and immerse themselves in a different culture. The Spanish education system is highly respected, and there are many world-class universities to choose from.
Retiring to Spain
If you are looking to retire to Spain, you will need to apply for a non-lucrative visa (permiso de residencia no lucrativa).
To do this, you will need to provide formal proof of having enough money to cover the cost of living and that you have had a steady account balance for the previous year. This should include the account number and name of the holder.
Moving to Spain as the family member of a UK citizen residing in Spain
The Spanish government offers a family reunification visa that allows British citizens living in Spain to bring their immediate family members with them. This includes the applicant’s spouse, children, and parents or in-laws. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must have already renewed their initial Spanish residence permit at least once.
For these purposes, immediate family refers to:
- Parents and parents-in-law above 65.
- Children under 18, which includes adopted children or children of your partners.
- Spouses or civil partners.
Parents under the age of 65 can be brought to Spain if there is evidence to show that they are unable to take care of themselves.
Similarly, children between 18 to 21 years can be brought to Spain if they’re studying and economically dependent on you, while children above the age of 21 can be brought to Spain if proof can be provided that they are unable to take care of themselves due to significant illness.
Once you have secured your visa, you will be issued a biometric residence card called Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). The TIE card will allow you to have an easier time when it comes to border crossings and dealing with administrative matters. You must renew your visa every two years until you are eligible to apply for a permanent resident card in Spain.
Becoming a Spanish citizen
To become Spanish citizens, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, have legally resided in Spain for 10 years, have no criminal record in Spain or any other country, be able to speak and write Spanish, and pass a Spanish citizenship exam.
This can be quite advantageous for some British citizens who move to Spain, since those who obtain Spanish citizenship are entitled to a number of benefits.
These include the ability to live and work in Spain without a visa, the right to vote in Spanish elections and to stand for office, the right to access free healthcare and education in Spain, the right to own property in Spain and to inherit Spanish property, and the right to obtain a Spanish passport, which allows travel to any country in the European Union.
Accommodation in Spain
Once you have your visa and all the necessary paperwork for moving to Spain, the next step is to find somewhere to live.
There is plenty on offer in Spain, from city apartments to rural fincas to luxurious villas, so you should be able to find something that suits your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, real estate is generally very fairly priced in Spain, but certain cities and tourist areas may be more expensive.
Once you’ve decided on your priorities, you can start looking for properties online or through estate agents. With a little bit of research, it is easy to find the perfect place to call home in Spain.
Should I buy or rent in Spain?
Buying property in Spain is often the best choice for ex-pats moving to Spain, thanks to competitive Spanish property prices and the number of tax incentives for property buyers, offered by the Spanish government, including a reduced rate of capital gains tax. Spain also has a very strong rental market, making it an ideal place to invest in a holiday home or buy-to-let property.
However, for those moving to Spain on a short-term basis or who are not yet sure where they wish to settle in Spain, renting or renting before buying is a great option. It is important to make sure you enjoy the location throughout the year in Spain. How much an area can change during the course of year may come as a surprise. A town which is a lively hub during the summer may close down when the tourist season ends, making it much harder to live there.
Rent is often very affordable when compared with UK prices, and contracts generally have a degree of flexibility, allowing you to make any necessary decisions on location or other factors without any added pressure.
How to find accommodation to rent in Spain
There are a few different ways that you can go about finding a place to rent in Spain. Many people use estate agents, online property portals, or their personal networks. You might also be able to find some listings on international real estate websites, although these are often more expensive, since they are geared toward tourists.
If you’re looking to rent in Spain through an agency, seek out agencies that are accredited and registered with the Official School of Estate Agents (Colegio Oficial de Agentes de la Propiedad Inmobiliaria, or API). The API logo should be featured prominently on their website. Engel & Volkers, Kyero, Lucas Fox, and Lusa Realty are some of the most well-known agencies providing services throughout Spain.
Online portals can be a great way to save on agency fees, but beware of listings that seem too good to be true, since online portals can be targeted by scammers. Some popular online portals for renting in Spain include Homelike, idealista.com, Spotahome, and thinkSPAIN.
How to find real estate to buy in Spain
Many Spanish websites and estate agencies offer English translations and assistance for British buyers looking to move to Spain. Many British real estate websites also list Spanish properties, but because they mostly focus on holiday homes, it may be better to use a Spanish site instead.
Purchasing real estate through an estate agent may be your best choice. Estate agents are a valuable resource when searching for a property in Spain; they usually have a lot of information about the area, can speak both Spanish and English, and often work with buyers from other countries.
When purchasing a property in Spain, it is a good idea to work with a notary (notario in Spanish) to ensure that the sale is completely smoothly and without legal disruption. This is not a legal requirement but can make the process much easier for you.
One example of where a notary can make your purchase simpler is registering a property. In Spain, a buyer must register their property themselves, which can require significant paperwork, but the notario may provide this service for a fee.
Lawyers in Spain must be registered with the local bar association (Colegio de Abogados). To verify that a lawyer is registered, you can ask for their registration number and then check with the bar association.
Where to live in Spain
Spain is a beautiful country with a lot to offer those choosing to move to Spain.
From the sunny beaches of the Costa del Sol to the historic city of Toledo, there is something for everyone. Before moving to Spain, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing where to live.
Firstly, the climate is an important point to consider. For example, the Costa del Sol offers mild winters and hot, dry summers. In contrast, the climate in Toledo is more continental, with colder winters and milder summers.
It is also important to consider your lifestyle. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, then a rural, lush, green location such as Galicia may be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more urban environment, then a city like Madrid or Barcelona may be a better fit.
Finally, budget is an important consideration. Spain is a large country, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live. In general, major cities like Madrid and Barcelona tend to be more expensive than smaller towns or rural areas.
Below is a brief overview of three of the most popular destinations for British ex-pats moving to Spain.
Surrounded by sea and mountains and rich with quirky neighbourhoods and hidden gems, Barcelona is a popular destination for ex-pats. It’s perfect for those who want an excellent quality of life, along with gorgeous beaches, exciting nightlife, incredible architecture, and beautiful culture.
British ex-pats will never feel alone in Barcelona’s thriving community with nearly 400,000 ex-pats living there. The city’s ex-pat-owned businesses and international eateries are a reflection of its multiculturalism. You can hear a variety of languages, including the local language, Catalan, just by walking down Las Ramblas.
Barcelona is also a great place for new business opportunities. Many international companies, particularly tech companies, have based themselves in Barcelona due to the city’s location, trusted public transport, cheap set-up costs, and great talent. It is also becoming a hub for start-ups as well as large companies because of its many benefits and the potential for professional growth.
It is also a safe city, ranking 11th safest in the world. This ranking takes into account digital, environmental, personal, health, and infrastructure safety. There are many safe neighbourhoods to choose from in Barcelona, and major crime is almost non-existent. Along with the wealth of international schools and world-class universities, this makes Barcelona a perfect place to move to Spain with a family.
You will never tire of Barcelona; no matter your interests, there is always something to do. Alongside the wealth of outdoor activities offered by the city’s proximity to both the sea and the mountains, Barcelona offers a rich cultural and nightlife scene. The city boasts wonderful shopping districts, a buzzing nightlife scene, world-class art museums and galleries such as the Picasso, the Miro or the MNAC, a lovely historic Gothic Quarter with medieval and Roman heritage, the scenic Eixample with its Parisian-looking art-nouveau architecture, and the Gaudi sites that are unique to Barcelona.
Property in Barcelona is more expensive than in other areas of Spain, but still much cheaper than many other major European cities. Housing prices in Barcelona are currently just under €4000 per square metre, which will feel like an excellent deal when compared with the London average of just over €9000 per square metre.
Barcelona is a bustling hub perfect for professionals and families alike, full of opportunities and activities for everyone. It’s already popular among many British ex-pats, so if you are moving to Spain, Barcelona could be the destination for you.
Madrid is the capital of Spain, located in the heart of the country. It is a bustling social, cultural, and economic hub full of professional opportunities and other activities. It is a great destination if you’re looking for a change of scenery from London or another UK city, or to retire to a city that isn’t too quiet.
If you are moving to Spain to boost your professional development, Madrid is the city for you. As an important financial centre, the city is home to many multinational companies and offers plenty of job opportunities. Madrid is also a very international city, and it is easy to meet people from all over the world, giving you the opportunity to broaden your international outlook.
Madrid is also a great city to move to with a family. The city is designed to be very family-friendly, with plenty of parks and playgrounds for children to enjoy. Madrid also has a wide range of excellent schools, including many prestigious international schools, making it easy for families to find the right educational option for their children. The city is also very safe, with low levels of crime and a strong police presence, making it the ideal safe and secure environment to raise or start a family in.
There is always an opportunity for cultural enrichment in Madrid; the city is home to the Spanish Royal Palace, world-renowned art galleries and a vibrant cultural scene. Madrid nightlife is also incredible, and as one of the largest cities in Europe, no matter how niche your interests are, you will always find something you will enjoy.
The city has a large ex-pat community, with many British-run businesses and organisations. Not only is English widely spoken, but there are also many schools to help expatriates learn Spanish and even the opportunity to learn other languages.
Property in Madrid is, on average much cheaper than many other major European cities, with an average of just €3,800 per square metre. However, this will vary depending on which area of the city you are in; some of the historical areas of the city are much more expensive, and many outskirts will be more affordable.
Madrid is a great base for exploring Spain and other parts of Europe. The city is well connected by air, rail, and road, and there are direct flights to London and other major European cities. With its mix of history, culture, and modernity, Madrid is an ideal city for British ex-pats looking for a new home.
As the third largest city in Spain, Valencia is a popular destination for British ex-pats. Its mild climate and low cost of living are a significant pull factor for many, along with its charming old town and innovative architecture. The locals are friendly, and many speak good English, making it easy for British ex-pats to integrate into local society.
Valencia has a lively atmosphere, with plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, as well as a range of cultural attractions. With a strong economy and plenty of opportunities for networking and career advancement, it is a great city for professional development. Additionally, Valencia’s efficient public transportation system makes it easy to get around.
The city is also very well-connected, with excellent transport links to the rest of Spain and Europe. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other major cities, and the climate is mild, making it an ideal place to live all year round, without being too hot for British ex-pats in the summer.
Several excellent museums, including the Museo de las Ciencias Principe Felipe and the Valenciano Museum of Ethnography and History, give you the chance to surround your family with thought-provoking and interesting culture. In addition, Valencia is home to many parks and green spaces, making it a great place to raise children. Families can also take advantage of the city’s excellent public schools or one of its private international schools.
Valencia is, on average, much cheaper than Madrid and Barcelona, at around €1,700 per square metre. This means that you can get a fantastic amount of property for your money, a significant advantage over many other European cities.
With both a rich history and culture to immerse yourself in and the proximity of the Mediterranean sea, there is great opportunity to relax and escape from work and school life. With the appeal of a large city and the friendly community of a smaller town, Valencia has everything British ex-pats moving to Spain look for.
Ex-pat Life in Spain
Spain is a hugely appealing destination for British ex-pats thanks to its relaxed lifestyle, low cost of living, and wonderful weather. With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year on the Mediterranean coastline, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to the idea of moving to Spain.
Speaking English in Spain
If your Spanish isn’t very strong, don’t worry; although many people will tell you that the Spanish don’t speak good English, it is much easier to get by without a high level of Spanish than it might seem.
In major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, a large proportion of the Spanish population will speak English, and the same goes for many tourist areas of Spain, such as along the Costa del Sol. Many supermarkets and restaurants have products and menus in English, making it easy for British ex-pats to understand. There are also many areas of Spain popular with British and international expatriates where English is the most commonly spoken language.
However, it can be helpful to learn some Spanish to be able to communicate with locals and build connections. It’s also a benefit if you are looking for a job in Spain; having fluent English is generally very valuable alone in Spain, but the ability to switch languages can open up job opportunities.
Luckily, Spanish is quite easy to get a grasp of simply by living in Spain, and locals will usually be very keen to help you and teach you.
Food in Spain
Spain is one of the world’s top countries for food. It is the birthplace of internationally-loved dishes such as paella, tapas, and churros, and is also home to plenty of lesser-known regional gems, to perfectly pair with Spanish wine, which is some of the best in the world.
Spanish cuisine has been significantly impacted by the nation’s geography and history, as well as its climate. Brits moving to Spain will find that local food today is all about taking advantage of the great local ingredients and turning them into amazing cuisine, from incredible tapas to seafood dishes and traditional roasts.
Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Spain is home to a lot of seafood dishes. Agriculture has also played a big part in the development of Spanish cuisine; the land is fertile, and wheat and other grains grow easily, and it is the perfect home for olive groves and vineyards. Similarly, the country’s varied climate allows a wide range of produce to thrive.
The many mountainous regions of Spain have also fed into local gastronomical culture; jamón serrano, a cured ham, is also known as ‘mountain ham’, as the drying sheds are located in the mountains.
Spain’s rich history has also left its mark on food; Spanish cuisine is a unique blend of many different cultures, and some of them are still distinct to this day. For instance, the traditional use of different spices, fruits, nuts, rice, and specific methods of cooking meat and fish are all remnants of Spain’s historical Moorish influence.
Some of the key ingredients which form the basis of Spanish cooking include garlic, saffron, pimentón, oregano, rosemary and parsley. Chicken and pork are the most common meats that are eaten; however, different types of poultry, meat and seafood are also eaten regularly in Spain. Olives and olive oil also play a big role in Spanish cuisine. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world, and it’s used as the base in many sofritos or vegetable sauces.
Spain generally has six major culinary regions: Central Spain, the North, the Pyrenees, Cataluña, Andalucía and the Eastern region, which includes Valencia.
Each region has different staple dishes. For example, in the North, which includes the regions of Galicia and Asturias, seafood and sauces are common, while Andalucía is famous for its fried fish, and Central Spain typically offers roast meats and cocidos or stews.
Local dishes that Brits moving to Spain must try include:
- Paella, a flavourful dish made with saffron rice, meats, seafood, and veggies from the Valencia region, typically cooked outdoors over a wood fire.
- Gambas al ajillo, or prawns cooked in olive oil and garlic sauce; this dish is garlicky and spicy and goes perfectly with rustic Spanish bread.
- Turrón, a traditional Spanish dessert made with honey, eggs, sugar, and toasted nuts and enjoyed at Christmas.
- Chorizo, or sausage flavoured with paprika, which gives it its typical red colour. Depending on the region in which it is created, it can be sweet, spicy, or garlic-flavoured.
- Gazpacho, a cold soup originally from Andalusia. It is typically made with tomato, garlic, onion, pepper and a pinch of salt, pounded in a mortar to give everything a creamy and delicious consistency.
- Patatas bravas, a dish of crispy fried potato cubes, accompanied by fresh or spicy sauces, depending on regional traditions.
- Pulpo a la Gallega, or octopus cooked according to the Galician tradition with oil, salt and paprika.
Wherever you are in the country, you’re sure to fall in love with the food; it’s a pull factor for many British ex-pats moving to Spain!
Wine in Spain
Many ex-pats moving to Spain are drawn by the allure of fine wine at generous prices. Spain is one of the top wine-producing countries in the world, only topped by France and Italy. Spain also has more vines planted than any other country, as well as a wealth of landscapes and climates allowing them to produce a wide variety of wines.
Spain’s Mediterranean climate and national passion for wine mean that the country produces wine in 138 different officially designated regions that are each officially designated, each of which are appealing both as places to live and visit for ex-pats. Of these, the most famous are La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha and Bullas.
La Rioja is a world-famous wine region in Spain, often compared to Tuscany in Italy. The region has beautiful rolling hills and a climate that is perfect for growing grapes, with hot summers, cool winters, and plenty of rain. The wines produced in La Rioja are some of the best in the world, and the region is classified under the highest quality designation (DOC) in Spain.
Castilla-La Mancha is a celebrated growing region located near Spain’s capital city, Madrid. It is known for being able to grow a large variety of grapes, including popular red grape varieties like Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Syrah. Despite the harsh growing conditions, with temperatures that can reach as high as 104°F in summer and below freezing during winter, as well as substantial variations in altitude among vineyards, Castilla-La Mancha wines are internationally loved.
The Bullas wine region is located in Southeastern Spain, in the Murcia province. It is particularly celebrated for younger red and rosé wines. The average altitude of the vineyards in the region is 1,500-2,750 feet above sea level, which can be challenging for planting due to the hard, limestone soils. However, the climate and terroir at these altitudes produce some of the finest varietals and blends of the Iberian Peninsula, including Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
When living in Spain, it’s helpful to be aware of these even if you aren’t visiting them, since these regions along with the age of the wine can help you spot what you want when shopping for wine.
There are four common types of Spanish wines labelled according to ageing:
- Wines that are labelled “Roble” have been aged for at least one month in oak barrels and are young and fruity.
- “Crianza” wines have been aged for at least two years with a minimum of six months in oak barrels.
- “Reserva” wines have been aged for at least three years with a minimum of one year in oak barrels.
- “Gran Reserva” wines have been aged for at least five years with a minimum of eighteen months in oak barrels.
Just like Spanish food, it’s not hard to come by excellent wine at great prices. However, if you’re looking for something specific, it can help to be aware of these labels.
Driving in Spain
As of May 1, 2022, British citizens residing in Spain are not able to drive with their UK driving licenses, a result of the UK leaving the EU. There are negotiations between the Spanish and British authorities on whether UK licence holders will be able to simply exchange their UK licenses for Spanish ones, without needing to take a test.
Travelling in Spain
Spain is a renowned tourist destination for a plethora of reasons: its stunningly well-preserved architecture and historical landmarks, Mediterranean atmosphere, diverse landscape, tasty food, and passionate culture.
From Gaudi’s world-famous expression of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture in Barcelona to the Alhambra, a former Moorish palace and current UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada, ex-pats moving to Spain will have no shortage of gorgeous destinations for day trips and weekend breaks.
Spain’s picturesque countryside also offers travellers many outdoor activities such as hiking in the Pyrenees or Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park or surfing off the northern coast.
No matter your interests, there is always something to discover in Spain.
It is also a very convenient country to travel around, even for those who do not wish to or cannot drive. Spanish public transport is characterised by its cheap prices and wide range of options. The cost of rail and bus tickets is, in general, much cheaper than in the UK, making frequent travelling much more feasible.
In most Spanish cities, buses are the primary mode of transport, with an extensive network of routes covering the entire city. For longer journeys, there are also a number of regional and national train services, as well as flights between major cities and the Spanish islands. Spain is also home to Europe’s longest high-speed rail network, making it easy to travel quickly around the country.
Each city has its own public transport system with convenient passes and apps available to help you find your way around the city. For instance, those looking to navigate Barcelona, whether as a local or tourist, various Barcelona Passes are available which offer unlimited travel on all public transport in the city for a set period of time.
Overall, Spanish public transport is efficient, reliable and good value for money.
Healthcare in Spain
The Spanish healthcare system consistently ranks among the best in the world, and if you reside and work in Spain, you will likely have free access to it. These services are partially funded by social security payments, which will be deducted from your income.
As a British ex-pat, you will be eligible for free healthcare in Spain if you are a resident in Spain and work in employment or self-employment and pay social security contributions, a resident in Spain and recently divorced or separated from a partner registered with social security, a pregnant woman who is a resident in Spain, under 26 and studying in Spain, or a state pensioner.
The Spanish healthcare system is decentralised, which means that you will need to check the conditions in your own area for using healthcare services. On some of the smaller Spanish islands, you may have to travel to find a state healthcare provider.
For those not eligible for state healthcare, private health insurance is available.
The cost of private health insurance in Spain usually falls between €50 and €200 a month, depending on the coverage plan. Some of the nation’s largest private health insurance companies include Allianz Care, APRIL International, Cigna Global, and Globality Health.
Cost of living in Spain
While the cost of living in the UK has been steadily rising in recent years, in Spain, it is possible to find well-priced accommodation, good-quality food and drink, and to enjoy a wide range of leisure activities without breaking the bank.
Although there may not be a dramatic difference across the board, the cost of living is, on average, 17.17% lower than in the UK. A major factor contributing to this is rent, which is 35.01% lower in Spain than in Britain.
For example, you can generally find a comfortable apartment to rent for under €500 per month in Spain. Food is also quite cheap, with a decent meal costing around €8, as is transport, with monthly public transport passes costing around €45.
Costs can vary depending on the city you live in and your lifestyle, but overall, the cost of living in Spain is lower than in the UK, which is one of the greatest pulls for British ex-pats moving to Spain.
Working life in Spain
Spain is a great place for ex-pats seeking better work-life balance.
Spanish culture values the separation of personal and professional life, and the country has laws to protect this balance for employees.
It is common for work to start and finish later in Spain than in many northern countries. For example, meetings will usually start and end later than planned, and deadlines are often extended. You may also find that your working day doesn’t start until after 10:00. Therefore, it is also not unusual to work later, often until around 20:00. However, only 4% of employees in Spain work very long hours, which is less than the OECD average of 11%.
Lunch breaks in Spain usually last for a couple of hours, and people usually go to a nearby restaurant. Also, many businesses end the work day earlier on Fridays.
Spanish business culture is characterised by being both energetic and unhurried. The family is the central unit in Spain, and this extends to business relations, where Spanish businesspeople value relationships and integrity.
Since many employees have been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain has tried to ensure that workers have the right to completely disconnect from their work after hours.
The average salary in Spain is €32,520 per year. This is a little lower than the average UK salary, but this reflects the lower cost of living and healthy work-life balance. There is also plenty of opportunity and professional upwards mobility in Spanish firms.
Education in Spain
If you are moving to Spain with children, schools may be a concern for you. Fortunately for British ex-pats relocating to Spain, the Spanish education system is among the best in the world, with Spanish citizens scoring 491 in reading literacy, mathematics, and sciences on the OECD index, which compares well-being in different countries. This is well above the OECD average.
The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Spain is responsible for the country’s schools, but local autonomous communities have more direct involvement. They provide funding, establish curriculum guidelines, and set education standards. This means that education differs slightly by region, and that any reforms to the education system are specifically made to address issues within that region.
Spanish schools are grouped as state-funded (colegios públicos), state-subsidized private (colegios concertados), and privately-funded (colegios privados), which also encompasses international schools.
The education system in Spain comprises of four stages: Infant school (Escuela Infantil), primary education (Educación Primaria), Obligatory secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligtoria) and university preparation (Bachillerato) or vocational training (formación profesional).
In Spain, students are only required to attend school between the ages of 6 and 16. After that, they can choose whether to continue their education at a university or vocational school. The Spanish authorities have been working to improve vocational courses in recent years to help address the country’s high unemployment rate, so these are developing as a strong choice for those who would prefer not to go to university.
A popular choice for British ex-pats is to send their children to international schools for an English-language or bilingual education. These schools typically offer a globally-oriented education, with qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) enjoying recognition around the world.
There are 258 international schools in Spain, which is one of the highest numbers in the world. These schools are in 27 different cities with the majority in Madrid, with 48 schools and Barcelona with 43. Some of these schools also provide boarding and SEN (special educational needs) support, which can be beneficial for families with specific needs.
The most notable difference between local and international schools in Spain is the language spoken. While many international schools use English or French as the primary language of instruction and follow the UK, US or French curriculum, Spain is also home to bilingual international schools. These schools teach the Spanish curriculum (primary, secondary, and bachillerato) and accept both Spanish and international students.
It’s important to check if a school has any international accreditations as they are a good indication of standards. Some international accreditation organizations include: Council of International Schools (CoIS), Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS) and Mediterranean Association of International Schools (MAIS).
If you are looking for a British school for your child in Spain, consider looking for those accredited by the Council of International British Schools (COBIS) or the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS).
Fees for international schools can range from €2,000 to €20,000 annually, while public schools are free in Spain. If financing an international education is a concern for you, it’s worth keeping in mind that public schools in Spain are also of a very high standard.
How can Matthew James Removals help me move to Spain?
If you’re looking to make your move to Spain as stress-free as possible, look no further.
We at Matthew James Removals can help you move your belongings to Spain hassle-free We have generations of experience in international removals and shipping furniture to Spain, so you can be sure that our team of experts will take care of every detail of your move to Spain.
We offer a complete removals to Spain service and even have storage facilities in Spain and the UK, meaning that you can store any belongings while you look for a new home. Let us take care of your move to Spain; relax and enjoy your new life there, knowing that your belongings will arrive safely. We also offer full or partial removals from Spain to the UK and removals from Spain to Ireland.
Contact us today for a free quote.