Nationals of Switzerland, Norway and Iceland and all EU countries (apart from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania) may work in Spain without a visa, but for stays of more than three months they are supposed to apply for a tarjeta de residencia (residence card) within the first month.
Virtually everyone else is supposed to obtain a work permit from a Spanish consulate in their country of residence and, if they plan to stay more than 90 days, a residence visa. Quite a few people work, discreetly, without bothering to tangle with the bureaucracy. If you are offered a contract, your employer will usually steer you through the labyrinth of paperwork.
The easiest source of work for foreigners is teaching English (or another foreign language). Schools are listed under Acadèmies de Idiomes in the Yellow Pages.
Sources of information on possible teaching work – school or private – include foreign cultural centres (the British Council, Institut Français etc), language schools, foreign-language bookshops and university notice boards. Cultural institutes you may want to try include:
British Council (93 241 99 77; www.britishcouncil.org/es/spain.htm; Carrer d’Amigó 83; FGC Muntaner)
Institut Français de Barcelona (tel/>93 567 77 77; www.institutfrances.org; Carrer de Moià 8; Diagonal)
Institute for North American Studies (93 240 51 10; www.ien.es; Via Augusta 123; FGC Plaça Molina)
Translating and interpreting could be an option if you are fluent in Spanish (and/or Catalan) and a language in demand. Bar work in Irish pubs and boat scrubbing in the marinas and the like are other possibilities.
Generally Barcelonins work Monday to Friday from 8am or 9am to 2pm and then again from 4.30pm or 5pm for another three hours. In the hot summer months, many work an horario intensivo (intensive timetable), from around 7am to 3pm. Big supermarkets and department stores, such as the nationwide El Corte Inglés chain, are open from about 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. Shops in tourist areas sometimes open on Sunday too.
Banks tend to open between 8.30am and 2pm Monday to Friday. Some also open from around 4pm to 7pm on Thursday evenings and/or Saturday mornings from around 9am to 1pm.
Museum and art gallery opening hours vary considerably but as a rule of thumb most places are open between 10am and 6pm (some shut for lunch from around 2pm to 4pm). Most museums and galleries close all day Monday and at 2pm Sunday.
The main business district in Barcelona is along the western end of Avinguda Diagonal. The big banks cluster here with several major business-oriented hotels. Another centre of activity is the World Trade Center in Port Vell. A hi-tech district, known as 22@bcn, is emerging in the former industrial area of Poblenou. The giant congress centre in Fòrum attracts international get-togethers on the northeast coast of the city.
People wishing to make the first moves towards expanding their business into Spain should contact their own country’s trade department (such as the BERR in the UK). The commercial department of the Spanish embassy in your own country should also have information – at least about red tape.
In Barcelona your next port of call should be the Cambra de Comerç de Barcelona (902 448448; www.cambrabcn.es; Avinguda Diagonal 452; Diagonal). It has a documentation centre and business-oriented bookshop, the Llibreria de la Cambra.
With more than 80 trade fairs a year and a growing number of congresses of all types, Barcelona is an important centre of international business in Europe. The Fira de Barcelona (902 233200; www.firabcn.es; Plaça d’Espanya; Espanya) organises fairs for everything from fashion to technology, furniture, recycling, jewellery and classic cars. The information office offers business services (such as communications), meeting rooms and other facilities for people working at trade fairs.
The main trade fair (Fira M1) is located between the base of Montjuïc and Plaça d’Espanya, with 115, 000 sq metres of exhibition space and a conference centre. Fira M2 (Fair No 2), southwest of Montjuïc, continues to expand along Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes and totals 180, 000 sq metres.
On the waterfront, the World Trade Center (93 508 80 00; www.wtcbarcelona.com; Drassanes) at Port Vell offers a variety of meeting rooms and conference centres. The Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB; 93 230 10 00; www.ccib.es; Rambla de Prim 1-17) in the northeast of the city near the waterfront can host 15, 000 people.
The Barcelona Convention Bureau (93 368 97 00; Rambla de Catalunya 123; Diagonal) also organises conventions and other events.
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