It’s been already a year since we moved to Spain, and I already wrote about the overall experience. In today’s article I want to focus on a specific area of the expat lifestyle, namely remote working in Spain. Spoiler: it’s better than you would expect, but with a few caveats. These caveats are turning to be quite important, hence the small note at the end of each section.
Remote Working In Spain versus Working In Spain
For starters, without even touching too deep on the legal aspects, I would say that if you have a decent remote job in USA, UK, or some other developed European country, like Germany or France, you would be above the average Spanish income. I’m talking just about basic stuff, like financial compensation, salary, or revenue per hour, or whatever is the metric you use to evaluate your work. Just from the top of my head, the average salary in Spain for a programmer (my job for the last three years) is about 1,200 EUR / month, whereas in UK might be well above 2,000 EUR.
Caveat: average cost of living in Spain is significantly lower than the cost of living in those developed countries. Usually, for the rent you pay in a shared room in London, you can get a nice, spacious apartment in cities like Valencia or Alicante, or a decent apartment in an average area in Madrid or Barcelona. As you would expect, in bigger cities, the cost of life is higher, but even at those levels, overall, you’d be better off remote working in Spain than working and living for the same salary in cities like London, Paris or Berlin.
European Citizens Working Spain
One significant advantage of being a European Union citizen is the “right to free movement and work within the EU borders”. So if you’re citizen of the EU, working in Spain is basically a right you already have, provided that you obey local laws too. I won’t go into all the nitty-gritty, because it will take too much space and, in this article, I’m touching on this only tangentially, but I encourage you to do your homework and read carefully all the laws pertaining to this. In my case, being a citizen of a country which is a EU member, Romania, things are simpler: I can work here, provided I solve all my tax status (see below, in the caveat). The other case would be if you’re a citizen of a country outside of EU, like US (or, soon, like United Kingdom). In this case, you should get a working visa in order to work in Spain and that’s a completely different route, one which is more time consuming and significantly more complex.
Caveat: once you live in Spain for more than half a year per year, you became a Spain fiscal resident automatically and you are due to pay taxes here. The good news is that many countries, especially those in EU, have double taxation treaties that will ease the burden. The not so good news is that you have to navigate a rather complex web of laws. If you’re serious about long term remote working in Spain, then I’d suggest to talk to a local accountant (gestor) and do all your things right from the beginning.
If you want to know more about this, like office space and internet access, as well as why the "dolce farniente" vibe may be a bit too much, click here, to read the rest of the article on my blog.
I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.
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