Information on working in the Canary Islands

RSS Feeds

Working in the Canaries

Along the coast most jobs are seasonal. It depends largely on what you can and will be able to do. Most qualifications obtained in the UK and Europe will be recognised in Spain. Whatever job you end up doing, If you intend to work in Spain make sure you get a contract from your employer which is at least 6 months long. This will also protect you and give you the same rights as a Spanish employee. Your employee will deduct national insurance and tax. In general Spanish wages are less than those in the UK but bear in mind that the cost of living is less and the lifestyle better. In general working hours include a 'Siesta' which is a set number of hours break during the day which can run between 13.30 - 17.00 in the afternoon. This is when most businesses shut down, re-opening in the cooler hours of the evening.

The Canarian work force generally accepts foreigners into the community and works alongside them in harmony. Spanish workers have learned to cope with the heat, you on the other hand will struggle. In the Canary Islands workers are heavily protected from exploitation and contracts are very strict and adhered to. Permits to work as self-employed can be obtained from the local council. You will also have to register for tax and National Insurance. You will also need to prove employers liability insurance to employ people.

If you take a job in the Canary Islands, make sure you get an official work contract from your employer. Read it carefully and/or have it translated. Remember that you can be given a temporary contract that only lasts 3/6/9 months. After these contracts, an employer has to give you a long-term contract in order to keep you on. He cannot therefore continue giving you short-term contracts. Don't be tempted to take cash work for if you are caught you will be sent packing. Anyone caught employing people without a contract will be fined immediately.

Many people come to the Canaries to set up their own business. This can be a complicated process and there are many pitfalls. One option that is very popular is to buy a bar or restaurant in the Canaries.

Popular destinations for seasonal work in the Canary Islands are:

Las Americas - Los Cristianos - Los Gigantes - Callao Salvaje - Puerto de la Cruz
The capital is Santa Cruz this area is mainly home to the Canarian folk who work in the blue-chip companies.

Puerto del Carmen - Playa Blanca
The Capital is Arrecife this area is mainly home to the Canarian folk who work in the blue-chip companies.

Gran Canaria
Playa de Ingles - Puerto Rico - Maspalomas

Caleta de Fuste - Correlejo - Costa Calma

If you are dismissed from your job and you do not agree with the reasons, you can present a demand for conciliation within 20 days of receiving your dismissal letter. This is a prejudicial process and counts on there being agreement between the two parties as there is no presentation of evidence. If agreement cannot be reached then you must place a suit in the Court. The worker has 20 days to present the demand in writing to the Labour Court (juzgado de lo Social). The court will find the dismissal either just or unjust and if the latter be granted, the worker will receive 45 days compensation for every year worked. If you are still not satisfied you have five days to file recourse.

When you arrive in the Canaries looking for work, be prepared for seasonal work. Between May and September the coastal workforce swells with many opportunities in bars, clubs and restaurants. The Canary Islands are currently enjoying a continued boom in the construction industry which offers many positions for everything from bricklayers to planners. New hotels, houses and apartments are springing up at an alarming rate.

There are also job opportunities for bi-lingual teachers of English at all levels.

Another popular area to work in is working in service for wealthy families,especially if you have experience in house-keeping, cooking, maintenance or driving. The local Spanish and English press often carry classified advertisements. The internet is also a good source of information. Be aware though that the wages can be very low and the hours can be very long. There are many foreigners arriving in the Canaries looking for this type of work and needs dictate that they will settle for very little. Some wealthy people will take advantage of this so while this kind of job may look appealing, be wary.
To work in Spain you must have an NIE number. This is applied for at the nearest National Police station. In the Canary Islands there are three different law enforcements. Local Police, Guardia Civil (army), National Police.

The process of getting a social security number is now very easy.
Simply go to any social security office, with your original passport and copy of the passport. You will have to fill in a form, which is in Spanish, but its quite easy as the normal questions are asked like, name, address, names of parents etc. They issue the number there and then and give you a temporary card. They send on the plastic card at their leisure. It is not necessary to have a job, or even a NIE to get a social security number.

1) You need a social security number to work in Spain and the Canary Islands. I am sure that you are aware that if you are self-employed you have to pay into the social security, but also if you are employed you pay and this should be deducted by your employer before payment.

2) You are entitled to social security benefits, but pro rata to what you have paid in.

3) You also are entitled to medical care i.e. you can sign on with your local doctor.

4) You only have to pay if you are earning money in Spain, i.e. not on any pension from the UK.

Other jobs available

Can not load XML: A name was started with an invalid character. Error has occured while trying to process
Please contact the webmaster at

Click here for the full list of jobs...