How to contract a foreign employee for your company in Spain

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If you’re in business in Spain, you’ll know that hiring EEA nationals to work at your company is relatively straightforward.

However, as you may know, contracting a foreigner from outside the EEA is considerably more complex. In this post, we look at how to do it. 

Read about getting residence and work permits for employees

Conditions to contract a foreign employee 

Firstly, you must meet the following requirements: 

No one available for the job

The Spanish employment authorities must include the job in the list of ‘difficult posts to fill’. Alternatively, you must show that you’re having difficulty in contracting a Spanish or EEA national for the position. 

You can see the list here. It’s compiled every quarter and divided into provinces. 

Registered with the Social Security system

You and your company must be registered with the system and up to date with payments. The same applies to taxes. 

Guarantees for the post 

You and your company must offer the future employee guaranteed employment for the duration of the contract. You must prove you have the project’s economic, material and personal means. 

Future employee 

The person you plan to hire must not be in Spain illegally (ie, without the correct permit), have no criminal record and have the appropriate skills and qualifications for the post. 

Current situation of future employee 

If you wish to hire a non-EEA national for a position in your company, the requirements vary. They depend on the situation of the future employee, as follows: 

Non-EEA nationals with a temporary student residence permit 

If the prospective employee is in Spain as a student, they may work full or part-time with you, providing that the timetable fits in with their studies. Note, however, that this type of permission to work is usually for a maximum of three months. Students are rarely allowed to work for longer. 

Find out how to convert a student visa to a work permit in Spain

Non-EEA nationals with no residence or work permit 

In this case, the future employee will need a temporary residence and work permit in Spain. You, the employer, are responsible for applying for the permit on the employee’s behalf. 

Non-EEA nationals with temporary residence and work permit 

If your prospective employee already has permission to live and work in Spain, you must ensure that the permit is still valid. Temporary permits are for one year at a time and must be renewed. Be aware that there are hefty fines for contracting a non-EEA national whose temporary permit has expired. 

Next steps

To contract a non-EEA national for your company in Spain, you, the employer, must do the following: 

  1. File the corresponding application with the immigration authorities in the province where your company is located. 
  2. If applicable, show proof that the situation of employment in Spain is not a necessary consideration for the job. 
  3. File the contract (original and copy) and provide a copy of the employee’s passport. 
  4. Show proof that you have economic, material and personal means for the project. 
  5. Prove that the future employee has the qualifications or skills for the job. 
  6. When the employee receives the visa and enters Spain, you must register them with the Social Security system within one month of their arrival. 

If the permit is approved, the employee must do the following: 

  • Go to the appropriate Spanish consulate within one month of approval and show the following:
    • Copy of the contract stamped by the foreigners’ office. 
    • Passport with at least four months validity. 
    • Certificates of no criminal record in any country the employee has lived in for the last five years. 
    • Health certificate showing that the employee suffers from no illnesses with public health repercussions.

The consulate may also request a personal interview with the employee. 

  • Once the employee receives the visa, they must enter Spain within three months. One month after their registration with the Social Security system (see employer’s obligations above), they must apply for a foreigner’s identity card. 

Find out more about long-term visas in Spain

Conditions of the work permit 

Note that the initial work and residence permit will be valid for one year. In addition, it may be limited to a particular location and type of job. 

Renewals of the permit 

If the employee wishes to continue with you, they should apply for renewal of their permit within 60 days of its expiry date. 

How to contract a foreign employee for a temporary position

If you and your company have an activity that requires temporary workers, for example, in the agricultural or hospitality sectors, hiring a third-country national is now slightly easier. Under legislation approved in late 2021, you may directly contact them in their country of origin. 

Note too that the hiring of seasonal workers also has updated rules and regulations. They apply mainly to employment conditions and affect accommodation, hygiene, health, and safety. 

Need help with contracting a foreign employee for your company in Spain? 

At Costaluz Lawyers, we have an extensive track record for successful residence and work permit applications. If you’d like to get it right the first time and ensure you can hire the staff you need, get in touch for a free consultation

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