|January 30, 2017||No Comments|
You might think with all year round sunshine, almost perfect temperatures in most regions, and the healthy outdoor lifestyle the country has to offer, there are very few reasons not to make the move to Spain. However moving permanently to a country or going on a two-week holiday is a very different ballgame; and you need to weigh up the pros and cons carefully before making such a life changing move. The most important challenge you will probably face when moving to Spain if you are below retirement age is how you will survive financially, as sitting on a patio lounge all day won’t pay the mortgage or rent, unfortunately!
At the time of writing in the early part of 2016, the Spanish economy is looking much brighter than it did a few years ago. Tourism numbers were way higher in 2015 than previous years, due to a number of factors including the strong pound against the euro and fear of terrorism in countries such as Tunisia and Turkey.
Migrants landing in Greece have unfortunately made this a less desirable holiday destination, and at a time when Greeks desperately need the income; but what is a devastating situation for the Greeks is a beneficial turn of events for the Spanish, who can now expect to see their resorts and cities packed with tourists once again.
Living off tourism nevertheless is not always the answer when you need a stable income. Work in the tourist sector may only last three or four months a year, is often badly paid, and frequently requires you work very long hours. Even under these conditions, with the high rate of unemployment among the younger generation, you are not really likely to get a start unless you have contacts or friends already working within an business or you have plenty of contacts and are well-known in town. Yes, nepotism in Spain is very alive and well, and it is not something any local would likely deny – it is just the way it is and probably has always been.
These days many people all over the world make a full-time living working virtually. The plus side of online work is that you can work from anywhere on the planet where there is a good internet connection, so if this describes your situation or you are in a position to begin an online freelancing business, Spain is a great location.
If you do not have a fixed income such as a pension, have no marketable skills you can use virtually, then Spain may well not be the best choice for you to relocate. Unskilled jobs are hard to come by, and unless you speak a number of languages fluently, you really will not have anything special to offer employers. Even if you were to find unskilled work in a bar, shop or hotel, you would have to be prepared to accept considerably lower wages than you would get in a similar establishment in the UK or other northern European country. You can also expect to work longer hours, and don’t be surprised if you find the work tough due to the heat and humidity of the Spanish summers.
Maybe you think earning a lower wage is not important due to the lower living costs in Spain, but since the introduction of the Euro, the cost of living in Spain is almost on par with the UK in some parts, albeit property prices are still generally much cheaper – again, depending on the location.
Certain items are often more expensive in Spain, such as cars, electrical items, white goods and household fittings. It is important to research prices before making the move as the savings you bring with you may not last as long as you expect.
If you are not of a pensionable age and do not wish to or cannot work virtually, another option is to start your own business. This is a very complex topic and each case would be treated differently, so you would have to seek legal advice from a local Gestor who will give tell you exactly what your costs would be and advise you on other legalities involved.
While there are many expats living in Spain making a livable wage and often much more, there are also thousands of individuals and families who end up returning broke to the UK and other countries after losing all their savings due to the collapse of their Spanish business endeavours.
However after that negativity, there is good news, as there have been recent changes in employment rules and regulations making it easier and cheaper for people to start up a new business.
To encourage entrepreneurship, the Spanish government introduced a scheme in October 2013 that allows people who meet a certain criteria to start their own business but pay much less in self-employed payments monthly than is usually due.
Depending on age and work history, you may be entitled to start a business while only paying around €53 per month, which is a discount of about 80% for the first six months. For the following six months you pay around €132 monthly giving you a 50% discount over the full quota. Once you have been in business for a year, your payments will rise to about €184 a month which is a 30% discount for six months. If you are still in business after the 18 months you will be charged the full amount of €264 monthly. This figure varies depending if you choose to pay for optional extras. Needless to say this is a great help if you are just starting out in a new business and do not have a great deal of capital to risk.
There has also been a commitment from the government in developing reciprocal work arrangements with other central and south american countries where Spanish is their native language. Many Argentinians have taken up this offer and move to Spain to work in the leisure sector where staff are in short supply. IN Madrid recently, we have seen both Chilean, Peruvian and Mexican restaurants spring up which has proven popular to both local as well as overseas tourists.