In today’s globalized workforce, hiring foreign workers in Spain can be a game-changer for your business.

Yet, navigating the process of international employment can be challenging.

This is especially true if you’re sponsoring a visa for the very first time.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the key legal requirements and visa essentials.

By the end, you’ll be well-prepared to harness the benefits of a diverse workforce while staying compliant with Spanish labor laws.


3 Steps to Hiring Foreign Workers in Spain


If you’re struggling with a labor shortage, the first step you need to take is to check if you qualify for international hiring.

This also requires you to conduct a labor market test.

A labor market test will help you show evidence of the unavailability of local workers to fill the vacancy.

Next, you can proceed with international recruitment.

Once you’ve found the perfect match, you can sign a work contract and apply for a work permit.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these steps.


Step 1: Check If You Meet the Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers in Spain


Companies in Spain can employ workers from outside the EU only under specific circumstances.

Specifically, the authorization to hire foreign workers in Spain will be granted if:

  • The activity that the worker will carry out in the company is included in the list of occupations of difficult coverage. The Public State Employment Service publishes the list quarterly.


  • The employer can demonstrate the existence of a situation specified in Article 40 Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain.


  • For positions that are not classified as hard to fill, the employer must show evidence of their inability to fill the vacant position with local workers. This requires you to test the domestic labor market.


Conducting a Labor Market Test in Spain


In order to test the market, you must publish an employment offer on the Empléate portal and the Public Employment Service.

If local candidates do not meet the required criteria, you will get a certificate stating that the position could not be filled.

This will allow you to proceed with requesting a work permit from the competent authorities.

However, if you want to hire workers from Chile and Peru, you must know that there is no obligation to test the local market.

This is because Spain has signed international agreements with these countries.

For this reason, you can hire workers from Chile and Peru even for positions that do not require special qualifications, where you could find many potential local candidates.


Step 2: Apply for a Work Permit


If you qualify for international recruitment, you can then sign a work contract and apply for a work permit.

The work permit for employed workers is called “Autorización de Residencia y Trabajo por Cuenta Ajena”. 

You have more options for submitting a work permit application:

  • Directly to the local Immigration Office


  • Vía the platform Mercurio (Plataforma de Extranjería Mercurio Iniciales). Mercurio is a secure platform provided by the Spanish Government. It enables individuals and companies to perform a wide array of administrative procedures.



Work Permit for Spain: Required Documents


The required documents for a Spain work permit (Autorización de Residencia y Trabajo por Cuenta Ajena) are as follows:


  • Employee’s passport copy


  • Employee’s professional qualifications


  • Copy of the Company’s Tax Identification Number (NIF)


  • Copy of the duly registered deed of incorporation


  • Document confirming the legal authorization of the applicant to represent the company


  • Copy of the Tax Identification Number (NIF) or Foreigner Identity Number (NIE). Alternatively, you can give your consent to verify your data through the Identity and Residence Data Verification System.


  • Signed work contract


  • Documents showing your compliance with the requirements for hiring foreign workers in Spain (as outlined above)


Documents in foreign languages must be translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the region where you submit the application.

The fee for a Spain work permit is 203,84 €.

Typically, it takes up to 3 months to get an answer on the application for a work permit.


Spain Work Permit Exemptions


Certain categories of non-EU nationals who wish to work in Spain are exempt from requiring a work permit.

These workers include:

  • Teachers and scientists employed by the Spanish authorities


  • Teachers, technicians, researchers, or scientists employed by a Spanish University


  • Managerial, teaching, or research personnel affiliated with cultural or educational institutions. These institutions can be either private or state-owned


  • Civil or military officials who carry out activities as part of cooperative agreements with the Spanish administration


  • Media correspondents accredited by the Spanish authorities to carry out journalistic activities in Spain


  • Members of International Scientific Missions authorized to participate in studies or research activities organized by an international organization or agency


  • Religious ministers, members of the Church hierarchy and religious communities as well as professed religious who meet the eligibility criteria


Step 3: Your Future Employee Applies for a Work Visa


Upon approval of the work permit, your future employee can proceed to apply for a work visa for Spain.

They must submit the application from abroad to the competent Spanish diplomatic mission.

To assist your employee through this process, we’ve thoughtfully prepared an extensive guide covering the Spain work visa application.

You can access the full guide by clicking on this link.


Hiring Foreign Workers in Spain: Final Considerations


If you’re new to international employment, navigating the process of hiring foreign workers in Spain can get a tad overwhelming.

However, incorporating talent from abroad into your Spanish workforce isn’t just a choice; it’s a strategic advantage.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article,  you’ll not only find the process more manageable but also ensure your full compliance with labor laws and regulations.

At VideoWorkers, we’ve made it a cinch for you to discover top-notch candidates for your Spanish business. We offer a completely innovative recruitment platform with thousands of skilled and unskilled workers who are eager to join your company. The best part? Each candidate profile comes with a short, engaging video, so you can assess their skills in just a few minutes. Create your free company account and join us today. Exceptional candidates, ready to fuel your success, are just a click away!

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