Many international students in Spain work part-time alongside their studies to help support their education and living expenses. Although the cost of studying and living in Spain is generally reasonable and relatively affordable compared to many other countries, many students still find the need to earn a bit of extra money. Studying in Spain is an extraordinary experience, meaning students get to grow academically, create friendships, travel around, pursue world-class qualifications, and earn a bit of experience in the job market as well.
Working in Spain as an International Student
International students on a student visa can work in Spain during their studies and earn an extra income. You can work part-time in Spain with a student visa, which means up to 20 hours per week while pursuing your studies in Spain. If part-time work is deemed to likely impede your studies, chances are you will not be allowed to work while being enrolled as a student in Spain. In general, non-EU international students have to go through more procedures and formalities than EU/EEA students.
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As a non-EU/EEA international student in Spain, you can only work part-time until your student visa expiry. Your employer will need to apply to the Foreign Nationals Office in Spain to receive permission to hire you (your work permit). Remember that you must follow all regulations to not risk your right to live/work/study in Spain. Many international students take up part-time work during their studies in Spain. It is actually an efficient way to earn money and cover the living and studying costs (at least partially).
Working in Spain Requirements
The requirements for working in Spain during studies differ for EU and non-EU nationals. Both parties will have to go through certain formalities to enter the job market in Spain. Still, non-EU nationals also need to follow the regulations/limitations set by their Spanish student visa. Of course, there are certain requirements to meet if you want to work in Spain as an international student and certain rules you need to follow.
Requirements to work in Spain for non-EU/EEA students include:
- Engage in part-time work (20 hours per week / 4 hours per day).
- Obtain a work permit (the employer should make the application).
- Have another main means of financial support (the part-time work income should only be complementary).
- Find a balance between studies and work (do not let work interfere with your studies in Spain).
Keep in mind: You can only work full-time for a time limit of three months (and it should not be during university term time when you are supposed to engage in academic activity).
Requirements to work in Spain for EU/EEA students are the same as for home students. Nationals of EU/EEA member countries are free to work in Spain without any restrictions. Generally, if you are from the EU/EEA, you will be treated the same as Spanish nationals upon finding employment in Spain during your studies. You will not need a work permit to work in Spain, even in full-time positions. What you will need, however, is a signed work contract between you and your employer.
Working in Spain After Graduation
Working in Spain after graduation is possible for international students, but not quite simple. After graduating, with either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Spain, you will be allowed to apply for a “post-study work visa,” which will enable you to stay in Spain for up to one year after graduation and look for employment. You should apply for this transitory residence permit at least 60 days before your student visa expires at Spain’s immigration offices (Oficina de Extranjería).
To apply for the post-study work visa in Spain, you generally need to apply the following documents:
- University diploma/certificate (showing you have finished your studies).
- Sufficient means of financial support during your time in Spain.
- Health insurance covering the duration of your stay.
- Fee payment confirmation.
During this one year, you are not allowed to work, and the main goal should be to secure an employment contract or start your own company. Once you secure a full-time employment contract, you should initiate the process of obtaining a work permit to begin working.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to Get a Work Visa in Spain?
There are several types of work visas for internationals in Spain. To work in Spain as a highly-skilled employee, your employer must request a work visa from the Ministry of Labour in Spain. If/when the Ministry of Labour has approved the work visa, the Spanish embassy will issue it.
It is not easy to find a job or get a work visa to Spain as a highly-skilled employee; however, priority is usually given to applicants who apply for jobs listed as ‘shortage occupations.’
2. How Can I Work in Spain as a US Citizen?
U.S. citizens who want to work in Spain must also obtain the appropriate visa to be allowed to do so. When the work visa is issued, they are supposed to apply for the residence and work permit at the Spanish authorities in Spain. American citizens are also subject to the same conditions as other non-EU citizens wishing to work in Spain. On the other hand, EU citizens do not have to obtain a work visa to work in Spain.
3. Can I Work in Spain With a Student Visa After Graduating?
Your student visa expires after you graduate from your degree program in Spain, which means you cannot continue to work in Spain with a student visa after graduating. What you can do, however, is apply for a post-study work visa in Spain at least 60 days before your student visa expires. This way, you will have one year to look for a job in Spain (during which time, you will not be allowed to work). When you secure employment, you can obtain the proper work visa/permit and work in Spain.
4. How to Find a Job in Spain?
It can be a challenge to find a job in Spain as an international student because you will be in competition with Spanish nationals. Most work that is available for college students in Spain is temporary. Since most jobs in Spain are full-time, finding something to work part-time around a university schedule can be somewhat difficult. It is in your best interest to start the search as early as you possibly can.
University students usually go for jobs in industries that do not require a great deal of experience or expertise. Such jobs include waiting, front desk operations, bartending, leaflet distribution, or other employment types at supermarkets, department stores, restaurants, and bars. You will have more employment chances in the major Spanish cities, where there are vacancies more regularly.
5. How to Apply for a Job in Spain?
You can apply for a (part-time) job in Spain as an international student by submitting your CV/resume to the hiring manager. Often, a cover/motivational letter is also required.
6. What Are the Skill Shortages in Spain?
Skill shortages in Spain include professions like IT, medicine, engineering, teaching, or sales. You can find other shortage skills in sectors such as banking, tourism, or energy. The majority of the jobs facing skill shortages are in high-skilled professions.
7. Do I Have to Speak Spanish to Work in Spain?
Speaking Spanish can help find employment in Spain, whether it is part-time or full-time work. As an international student looking for a part-time job, you might not necessarily need to speak Spanish to find a job. However, many employers prioritize students who can speak Spanish (especially in jobs that require communication with customers/clients).
8. What is the Average Salary in Spain?
Generally, Spain’s average annual salary is €23,000 (~$28,100), while Spain’s minimum monthly wage is around €1,000 (~$1,200) per month. The monthly salary for part-time jobs is, of course, lower. Basically, the minimum salary for international students working part-time in Spain is €450 ($550). As a requirement to work part-time during studies, international students must have another means of financial support. Part-time work is only supposed to be complementary.
- A guide to Spanish work and residence permits
- Average Salary by Degree/Major Subject for Country: Spain
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