Full Guide on How to Apply For Your Dream Job Work Permit Visa Express Entry to Canada 2022

A Full Guide to Canada Immigration:

Welcome to the Canadian immigration guide, courtesy of our Canadian Immigration expert David Cohen. Moving to a new country is an exciting and somewhat intimidating process. This guide is aimed to help you understand the process in place for you to live and work in Canada.

There are two main paths to Canada. One way is to obtain a permanent residence visa. The other way is to come to Canada on a temporary work permit.

What does it mean to be a Canadian Permanent Resident? Once you are issued a Canada Immigration Visa for permanent residency, you have most of the same rights and obligations as Canadian citizens. As the name suggests, you may hold this status indefinitely, so long as you accumulate 2 years of residency days in each 5 year period. After 3 years of Canadian residency, you may apply for Canadian citizenship. Canada recognizes dual citizenship, so you do not have to give up your current passport.

There are a few differences in practice between permanent residency and citizenship in Canada. The first is that as a permanent resident, you may not vote in elections. The second is that while citizenship is a right that may not be taken away, as a permanent resident, you may be deported if you commit a serious crime.

There are 6 main categories of Canadian Immigration. The categories are Federal Skilled WorkerQuebec Skilled Worker, Provincial Nominee ProgramFamily Sponsorship, Business Immigrant and Canadian Experience Class. Each category caters to a slightly different group of immigrants and comes with its own set of requirements. You can also come to Canada under the Asylum category or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Read below to find out about which category applies to you.

Federal Skilled Worker

The requirements of the skilled worker category are intended to assess applicants, who are likely to become economically established in Canada after arrival.

To be eligible, applicants must either:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in one of the 38 qualifying occupations; or
  • Have been living in Canada with legal status as a Temporary Foreign Worker or an international student for at least one year; or
  • Qualify for Arranged Employment with a full-time permanent job offer from a Canadian employer.


In addition to that, there are three other characteristics an individual must possess in order to be eligible to immigrate under the skilled worker category. The first is a minimum level of work experience. A skilled worker must have at least one year of continuous full-time employment (or the equivalent part-time). This work experience must be of a skilled nature, satisfying either Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B in Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system. This work experience must have come within the 10 year period before applying.

The second element of the skilled worker category is one of the financial resources. This is a straightforward requirement – an applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to support themselves and their dependents for 6 months after arrival in Canada. If you have an approved job offer, this requirement is waived.

The third element of the skilled worker category is a points-based assessment. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) uses a points-based system to measure an applicant’s potential for establishing themselves in Canada. Applicants are awarded points based on six different selection factors. An individual must reach 67 points on this assessment to qualify for immigration to Canada. A satisfactory score on this evaluation does not, however, guarantee approval, as Canadian Immigration Visa Officers may use their discretion to approve or refuse an application based on a substituted evaluation.

The selection factors that make up the assessment are:

Education (maximum 25 points)

  • Ranges from 5 points for completing high school to 25 points for completing a master’s or Ph.D.
  • The system also gives credit for trade certificates or apprenticeship programs.

Language Skills (maximum 24 points)

  • Canada uses both English and French as official languages, and you may receive credit for proficiency in either one or both.
  • Marks are awarded separately for abilities to listen, speak, read, and write each official language.

Experience (maximum 21 points)

  • Full points for four or more years of experience at an appropriate level.

Age (maximum 10 points)

  • Full points for being between the ages of 21-49.

Arranged Employment (maximum 10 points)

  • If you hold a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer or are applying from within Canada and hold a temporary work permit, you may receive credit for your Canadian employment.

Adaptability (maximum 10 points)

  • This category brings in several factors related to an applicant’s ability to adapt to living in Canada, including previous experience working or studying in Canada or having family in Canada.

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Altogether these three elements, along with other requirements such as security clearances and medical examinations, make up the bulk of the criteria to come to Canada under the Skilled Worker category. If you are applying to live or work in Montreal or elsewhere in Quebec, however, you must meet the selection criteria of the Province of Quebec, outlined below.

Quebec Skilled Worker

According to an agreement between the Province of Quebec and the Government of Canada, the Province of Quebec has its selection process for the skilled worker category of immigration. If you intend to live in Quebec upon arrival in Canada, you will be assessed based on the Quebec Selection criteria and not the evaluation used by CIC. The application process for immigration to Quebec uses a similar points-based system but with slightly different criteria.

Like the federal system, Quebec uses a points-based system to assess potential immigrants. To qualify for a Quebec Selection Certificate, single applicants must score at least 60 points from the ten selection criteria. In contrast, an applicant with a spouse or common-law partner must score a minimum of 68 points.

The selection factors for immigration to Quebec as a skilled worker are:

Training (maximum 29 points):

  • Points are awarded separately for both education and job-related training.
  • Additional points are awarded for having more than one area of specialty.

Validated Employment Offer (maximum 10 points)

  • Points are awarded for having a job offer from an employer in Quebec, with greater points awarded for a job outside of the area of Montreal.

Experience (maximum 9 points)

  • Full points are awarded for four or more years of experience at the appropriate skill level, according to the NOC.

Age (maximum 18 points)

  • Full points are awarded for being between the ages of 18-35.

Language Proficiency (maximum 22 points)

  • French is the official language of the Province of Quebec. The Quebec selection criteria place value on oral language abilities rather than written comprehension. Up to 16 points are available for oral interaction in French, with an additional 6 available for oral interaction in English.

Stay and Family in Quebec (maximum 9 points)

  • Having previously spent time living, working, or studying in Quebec, as well as having family in the province, will help a prospective immigrant establish themselves more easily. Points are awarded for both of these areas.

Spouse’s Characteristics (maximum 18 points)

  • If an applicant is accompanied by a spouse or common-law partner, points may be awarded for the spouse’s education, training, work experience, age and language.

Children (maximum 8 points)

  • Up to the maximum, 4 points are awarded for each child under 12 years of age, and 2 points for each child between 13 and 21.

Financial Self-Sufficiency (1 point)

  • One point is awarded for having sufficient funds for financial self-sufficiency upon arrival. However, without satisfying this requirement the application is automatically refused.
ALSO SEE: How to Immigrate to Canada from Qatar in 2022

Adaptability (maximum 8 points)

  • This category uses an overall assessment of the applicant’s ability to adapt to life in Quebec.

Satisfying these requirements will lead to the issue of a Quebec Selection Certificate, which is recognized by CIC for immigration to Quebec. The applicant must still pass a security clearance and medical examination.

Provincial Nomination Program

One way to speed up the process of immigration to Canada is through the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). The PNP consists of partnerships between the Government of Canada and provincial governments to select individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and settle in that particular province. Most provinces in Canada have agreements in place to participate in this program. Under the terms of these agreements, provinces may nominate applicants who are in occupations in high demand, or who will otherwise make important contributions to the province.

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To immigrate to Canada under the PNP, an individual must first apply for a Provincial Nomination Certificate to the provincial government where they would like to reside. Each province has different requirements based on their particular needs. To learn more about each province’s requirements, click here. After receiving the Provincial Nomination Certificate, an individual then must apply for a Canadian Permanent Resident Visa. Provincial nominees receive priority processing for their permanent residency applications.

The following provinces currently participate in the Provincial Nomination Program:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Provincial nominees are not assessed on the six selection criteria of the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Family Class Sponsorship

The Family Class Sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are at least 18 years of age to sponsor close family members, who wish to immigrate to Canada. To sponsor a relative for Family Class immigration to Canada, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must sign a contract promising to support the family member who wishes to immigrate for a period of three to ten years after their arrival. The length of the agreement depends on the age of the family member being sponsored and the nature of the relationship. To apply for Family Class immigration, the sponsored relative must also sign a contract promising to make every effort to be self-sufficient.

To be eligible to sponsor a relative, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must demonstrate the financial ability to provide for the essential needs of the sponsored relative, should that be necessary. As a general rule, the sponsor must also be physically residing in Canada in order to sponsor. An exception is made for Canadian citizens who wish to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner or children if the sponsor can demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada by the time the sponsored relative lands in Canada.

Dream Jobs: Apply Now for Work Permit Visa Express Entry to Canada

Family members eligible for sponsorship are:

  • Spouses or common-law partners.
  • Parents or grandparents.
  • Dependent children (must be under 22 years of age unless substantially dependent for financial support because they are a full-time student, or because of disability).
  • Children under 18 whom you plan to adopt Orphaned brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews who are under 18 and unmarried.
  • A relative of any age if you do not have any of the family members listed above.

The Province of Quebec, according to its agreement with the Government of Canada on immigration, has a role in determining the eligibility of sponsorship applicants for residents of Quebec. This role, however, takes effect only after CIC has completed its initial assessment of the sponsorship application.

Business Immigration

The Business Immigration Program is designed to seek out individuals who are in a position to contribute to Canada’s economic development through their investment and managerial skills. Individuals who apply under this category have financial resources that will strengthen the Canadian economy and help create more jobs. Individuals with business experience and relatively high net worth may apply under one of three categories of the Business Immigration Program. Each of these categories targets a different contribution to the Canadian economy and has its own requirements.

  • Immigrant Investor Program:  This program seeks to attract experienced business people willing to make substantial investments in the Canadian economy. Applicants under this program must establish a net worth of at least CAD$800,000, and demonstrate that this wealth was legally obtained. In addition, Immigrant Investors must make an investment of CAD$400,000, which the government of Canada will return to them at the end of five years, with no interest. To qualify as an Immigrant Investor, the applicant must also have managed a qualifying business, as defined by Canadian Immigration authorities. Applicants destined to the province of Quebec may qualify under a similar Investor Program administered by that province.
  • Entrepreneur Program: The Entrepreneur Program is geared towards business immigrants who plan to have a hands-on role in their contributions to the Canadian economy. The net worth requirements for the Entrepreneur Program are lower than for Immigrant Investors (CAD$300,000 rather than CAD$800,000). Applicants under this category of the Business Immigrant Program must commit to both managing and owning at least one-third of a Canadian business, which will create or maintain employment within three years of landing in Canada. Applicants destined to the province of Quebec may qualify under a similar Entrepreneur Program administered by that province.
  • Self-Employed Persons Program: The Self-Employed Persons Program is in place for individuals with relevant experience and skills in business, culture, athletics or farming who are able willing to support themselves and their dependents through self-employed income. To apply under this program, an individual may need to demonstrate experience, net worth and/or artistic qualifications depending on the criteria under which they are applying. Applicants destined to the province of Quebec may qualify under a Self-Employed Program administered by that province.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class caters specifically to Temporary foreign workers and international students who wish to become Canadian Permanent Residents. Having obtained a Canadian education and/or Canadian work experience, these individuals have already settled into the Canadian society and have established important networks in their communities and their careers.

The Canadian Experience Class requirements are based on a pass or fail model. There are separate minimum requirements for the two types of applicants:

International Graduates with Canadian Work Experience

Applicants must have:

  • Successfully completed a program of study of at least two academic years at a Canadian post-secondary educational institution;
  • Obtained at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience within 24 months of the application date; and
  • Moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.

Dream Jobs: How to Apply for Work Permit Visa Express Entry to Canada

Temporary Foreign Workers

Applicants must have:

  • Obtained at least two years of skilled, professional or technical work experience within 36 months of the application date; and
  • Moderate or basic language skills, depending on the skill level of their occupation.

An applicant who has met the minimum requirements and is still in Canada on either a Post-Graduate Work Permit or a Temporary Work Permit may apply from within Canada. For individuals no longer in Canada, the applications must be submitted within one year of leaving their job in Canada.


As a world leader and champion of human rights issues, Canada also recognizes a responsibility to grant asylum to refugees who face danger, persecution and violations of their human rights in their country of nationality or habitual residence. Canada’s refugee system offers protection to thousands of such individuals each year. Refugees may be government-assisted or may be privately sponsored by individuals or organizations in Canada.

There are two main components to this program:

  • Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program: This program is aimed at refugees currently outside of Canada who seeks resettlement. CIC selects refugees seeking resettlement, determining first if they may be safe to remain where they are currently located or to return to their country of nationality. Selection depends heavily on recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but also requires security and medical screening.
  • Asylum in Canada: This program offers protection to individuals currently in Canada who fear to return to their home country. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board assess these cases.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

For individuals who wish to come work in Canada, they may apply for a temporary work permit through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As a general rule, these work permits require a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, though there are exceptions. In most cases, it is possible to extend work permits from within Canada, but some work permits have a maximum duration.

In many cases, work permits require that the employer obtain Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Social Development Canada, which confirms that the employment will not adversely affect Canadian workers. There are several exemptions to this rule.

Spouses and common-law partners of individuals who hold a Canadian work permit may accompany the work permit holder to Canada. In many cases, spouses are eligible to apply for an open work permit, which allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada.

A Guide on how to work and leave in Barcelona 

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities, attracting people from all corners of the globe to set up shop and home here in Catalonia. Here’s some starting advice if you want to come and join us…

So you’ve decided to up sticks and move to balmy Barcelona? Well who could blame you! With its stunning Modernista architecture, courtesy of Gaudi and co., the lifestyle of eating tapas al fresco and drinking Cava and cocktails until dawn, and of course the beautiful array of beaches and reliably good weather, Barcelona offers a quality of life that many Northern Europeans can only dream about. In short you’ve made the right decision. But just to make sure your expat experience goes according to plan you might want to peruse this page to make the most out of living and working in Barcelona.

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Language and Culture in Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia, an autonomous region with hopes of independence from the rest of Spain.   Barcelona is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken.

If you’re planning on living and working in Barcelona then you should definitely spend time learning the language.  There are plenty of language schools.  For day-to-day purposes, you might be able to get by in English but for most situations you will need Spanish.

See How to Get A Canadian Work Visa In 2022 – Find Out Now

The first thing to bear in mind when moving to Barcelona, is that whilst outsiders tend to consider Barcelona part of Spain, the native Catalans consider Barcelona as the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous region with dreams of complete independence. In fact, if you’ve been watching the news for over the last few years you can hardly have missed their point! Even as it stands, with Catalonia as part of Spain, Catalan is the first official language of the the city and region, with road signs, metro instructions and other public notices often appearing in Catalan and not Spanish, whilst Catalan is spoken in all public institutions – such as schools.

Fear not Spanish-speakers however, Castilian is still very much the lingua franca of Barcelona due to the large number of non-Catalans (including expats) who live and work in city, and the fact that all Catalans speak Spanish as well – albeit reluctantly in some cases on account of their regional pride. For these reasons, if you’re planning on spending any time in Barcelona, then you should definitely do your best to pick up at least basic Spanish, and there’s certainly no shortage of language schools in Barcelona willing to help you. For day-to-day purposes, you might be able to get by in English but for emergencies and for dealing with household situations, Spanish is essential – finding an English-speaking locksmith for example isn’t easy!

The Catalan culture on a superficial level is quite similar to Spanish culture (no doubt many tourists have left here quite oblivious to the notion of “Catalunya”!), however some of the famous associations you hold with Spain don’t wash here in Catalonia. Bull-fighting has been illegal here for some time (and indeed the Catalans reject the bull as their national animal, selecting the Catalan donkey instead), the sardana is preferred to flamenco, and people don’t usually sleep during siesta (they do shut their shops however, much to the irritation of expats/foreigners used to more regular hours).

Catalans pride themselves on their mix of seny and rauxa, common sense and passion, and with their rich heritage of artists, such as Joan Miro, writers, like Joan Maragall, and – of course – architects, it would be churlish not to differentiate between the two cultures. A good way to ground yourself in your new locale would be to read some of the better books about Barcelona and Catalonia.

Whether you’re pro-independent, a Spanish unionist, or politically indifferent, there’s plenty to celebrate in both Catalan and Spanish culture here in Barcelona where these two worlds collide. It’s rarely boring!

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Visa Requirements

EU/EEA citizens and their family members have the right to live and work in Spain under the same conditions as Spanish citizens.  Non-EU/EEA residents need to apply for a visa and a work permit before moving to Spain for work.  A work permit can be requested at the Foreigners Office in Spain as well as the Spanish consulate office in the applicant’s home country.

Working in Barcelona

Salaries may be lower than other EU countries, but a better work-life balance and buoyant social scene remain big draws for international workings.  In one day you can have an engaging business meeting, take a quick ride on the metro, take a swim in the Med after work and meet international people at any hour of the day or night.

Despite being hit hard by the recession, there are still plenty of opportunities for job seekers in Barcelona.  In particular, there are jobs for those who speak Spanish and/or Catalan along with English.  Job opportunities lie in the fields of business administration, management, consultancy, engineering, architecture and linguistics.  The city has a number of international customer service centres attached to big corporations.  For more information on live job vacancies in Barcelona click here.

In addition, the city is trying to be recognised as a global IT and technology hub (dubbed 22@).  Barcelona has established a solid digital ecosystem that includes more than 200 active digital startups across eCommerce, mobile, B2B, gaming and travel.  For more information on the start up scene in Barcelona click here.

Jobs & Employment

In some ways, Spain and Barcelona were still recovering from the global economic crisis of the late 2000s, when COVID-19 struck at the start of the decade – the fallout of which is yet to become apparent.

However, for all the grumblings about unemployment and gripes with government spending (and more recently coronavirus related regulations), Barcelona in particular is a resilient and dynamic city. With its geographical situation as a port city, great road and public transport infrastructure, a fantastic lifestyle, which attracts multinationals and foreign businesses, and of course the city’s huge tourism industry there are still plenty of opportunities for job searchers, especially for those who speak Spanish and/or Catalan along with English. Banking and logistics sectors are particularly big, and currently the city is successfully transforming the district of Poblenou into an IT and technology hub (dubbed 22@) in the style of Silicon valley, as Barcelona sets itself for further growth.

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For more casual, seasonal or short term work then you might be best contacting restaurants, hotels and bars with your CV, whilst plenty of opportunities also exist working as nannies or au pairs, or teaching English as a foreign language.

As usual the Internet is the best tool for beginning your search and a little Googling should reveal some handy resources. Jobs in Barcelona is a great place to start, whilst Craigslist has a mixed bag of opportunities.

Self Employment

Spain famously – to the chagrin of every autonomo (the word for freelancer here!) – has the largest self-employment fees in Europe. A whopping €300 before you’ve even sent an invoice. But, it’s not as bad as all that. New freelancers pay just €60 a month in social security, and you won’t have to pay full whack until 2 years have passed – by which time you’ve hopefully established a nice client base for yourself and regular income.

Getting a gestor (accountant) is pretty much mandatory for a foreigner hoping to freelance in Spain, as the paperwork can be confusing for a foreigner. Luckily these tend to be cheap and efficient and make the process fairly painless. The good news is that the tax rates are pretty favourable and you can count the social security payments as an expense, so once you get to about 30k salary you might actually pay less tax than in the UK for example.

Coworking Spaces

One thing that has made self employment a lot more fun over the last decade or so in Barcelona are the raft of fantastic coworking spaces that have sprung up in nearly every barrio.

Working for Barcelona Life

If you’re a self-motivated sales person then read up on our current sales opportunities with Barcelona Life for a chance to join our team! We’re looking for a business partner who can help monetise this wonderful website, which is currently run by a bunch of Bohemian artist types.

Living and Working in Barcelona | Job Guide

  • Registering for your NIE

For any legal employment in Spain you will first need to get your hands on a NIE. NIE stands for Número de identidad de extranjero (Foreigner’s Identity Number) and is legally required for any foreigner living in Barcelona, which for EU citizens means anyway staying longer than 3 months. It is required for opening a bank account, buying property, finding employment, registering as self-employed or for getting your Bicing Card (for the city’s shared bike system).

See How to Get A Canadian Work Visa In 2022 – Find Out Now

Getting one is a bit of a pain in the @ss. No doubt we’ll return to the topic in time, with some step by step instructions, but in the mean time one easy way to get one is by employing an immigrant specialist to help you book your appointment at the police station and have all the paperwork in correct order. Amongst the English speaking lawyers in Barcelona, the law firm Murla i Contreras are a safe bet!

Lifestyle and Leisure

For many people the chance to live in Barcelona is motivation enough, above any financial rewards, and indeed many expats leave well-paid jobs in their home countries to take up less well-paid positions in Spain… but few complain about having a bit less cash to play with. When the sun shines (virtually) every day and you can spend your weekends lazing on Barcelona’s beaches, sipping mojitos at chiringuitos, nibbling on Spanish and Catalan delicacies on open squares in Barri Gotic, El Born and El Raval, and maybe supplementing these epicurean pursuits with some high culture in the form of opera at the Liceu Theatre or a classical performance at the Palau de la Musica Catalana, then you can truly say life is good.

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What’s more, as well as the infamous nightlife and parties in a seemingly infinite number of great bars and clubs, there’s wide range of entertainment to enjoy in the form of festivals, live music and a constant procession of great events.

Naturally sports fans can drool at the prospect of seeing the mighty Barca FC compete on a regular basis at Camp Nou, and there’s a tonne of outdoor pursuits to take part in as well – from skiing in Andorra nearby during winter, to mountain biking and kitesurfing during summer.

With the Pyrenees up the road, the Costa Brava coastline, and the beautiful countryside of Catalonia all nearby, life in Barcelona never need be dull! Weekend trips to Madrid and Valencia, and even San Sebastian are all possible as well.

Food & Drink

Spanish food is world famous, and after the weather many would put the local cuisine as one of the main reasons for relocating to Spain. Tapas is the most famous, but is in fact a style of cuisine rather than a specific type of dish – anything served in small portions designed to be shared can be called a tapa, and we recommend you read our article on tapas dishes and restaurants in Barcelona for the lowdown.

Paella and sangria are typical holiday-maker fare, but in Catalonia a bit more rare (or at least not consumed by locals). Traditional Catalan food tends to be earthy rustic fare, but thanks to a culinary revolution in recent years, modern Catalan cuisine is considered some of the best in the world, with chefs like Ferran Adria blazing a trail. You’ll find his Tickets Bar amongst our recommendations in our guide to eating out in Barcelona.

Drinks-wise you’re in right in the heart of Spain/Catalonia’s Cava country. The Penedes region is where you’ll find a host of vineyards producing both fine table and sparkling wines. You’ll find a scattering of authentic Cava bars for trying it yourself, or else sign up for a wine tour.

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Whilst your sophisticated taste buds are sure to appreciate these sensory pleasures, there will naturally be some times when you simply want to get your hands on some of the familiar food and drink you know from back home. Major international supermarkets like Carrefour and Lidl should stock many of the global brands you know and love, whilst the odd jar of Jamie Oliver’s chili pasta sauce has been spotted even in the Spanish supermercados.

Bars & Hangouts

Knowing a few friendly bars where you kick back with a beer in good company can make any transition a lot easier, and in Barcelona there are no shortage of international bars, restaurants and hang outs.

For those feeling nostalgic for home there are a glut of great British and Irish pubs that welcome the homesick with a pint of Guinness. I’ll give a special mention to both Flaherty’s and the Wild Rover, two charismatic boozers at the bottom of Las Ramblas that are also reliable bets for all your Premier League and other sporting needs.

Younger expats in particular will love Belushi’s Bar, where its easy to bond with travellers and international folk over a game of pool, table tennis or beer pong.

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For great cocktails and brunch try any of Marmalade, Milk or Firebug, three Irish-owned bars with great customer service and cosmopolitan patrons.

More recently the city has been blessed with a blossoming of craft beer bars, so check out CocoVail and Garage too, if you love a good session IPA or fruity saison.

Living and Working in Barcelona | Job Guide


Writing a Spanish CV

There are certain key requirements of a Spanish CV that may be different to your country of origin.


Cost of Living in Barcelona

In general, Spain is not an expensive country to live in but prices have risen since the introduction of the Euro.  Although the cost of living in Barcelona is higher than in other regions in Spain, the salaries are also higher.

Accommodation eats up the biggest part of the salary.  As well as rent, you will have to pay gastos (expenses) such as water, electricity and internet.

When renting an apartment or studio expect to pay between 1-3 months deposit.  If you go through an agency, their fee will usually be a month’s rent and will not be refunded. This is why so many people live in shared flats (a great opportunity to meet new people).


Eating is an extremely important social activity in Catalonia.  Eating out remains a major pastime, whether in the evening with friends, at lunch in a local bar with colleagues, or the traditional Sunday family feast. Although Barcelona is a fast-paced city, mealtimes, especially lunchtime, are still respected.  The whole city shifts into low gear between the hours of 2 and 4pm.  Many people either head home or crowd into a local restaurant for a three-course menú del día (lunch of the day).

In Barcelona, the diet is typically Mediterranean, with an abundance of fish, legumes and vegetables.

Health Advice

 Public Healthcare

Obviously one important aspect that the prudent will want to resolve as swiftly as possible is your health coverage. Whilst your European Health Insurance Card will cover you in the short term, it is intended to be used for emergencies by those travelling, and not for those who are relocating to Spain. To access the same health privileges as native Spanish / Catalan residents you need to register for your Tarjeta Sanitaria, aka Cat Salut.

Private Healthcare

Access to public healthcare is a must, but like many healthcare systems, you could find yourself waiting for a long time for non-emergency services and operations, and it’s worth considering private health insurance. You may get this as part of your employment package, whereas some banks have deals with certain providers, otherwise you will want to do some research and shop around.

Mental Health

Moving to a new city can be the experience of your lifetime, but it’s certainly not without its challenges, especially if you’re one half of a couple and/or bringing your family with you. Some expert advice can help you navigate such issues, and the English-speaking psychologists at PsIcare Health specialise in supporting expats with their move to Spain.

More Doctors & Practitioners

For a list of doctors, medical centres and more, read our full length advice on health and healthcare. We also list several health practitioners in our Services section, from English-speaking doctors to HIV testing clinics.


Obviously if you’re moving your whole family to Barcelona, you’ve got more to think about than just yourself. We invited a local writer who’s been through the process to pen these tips on moving to Spain with children.

Other Practicalities

Naturally there are a thousand other considerations and practicalities to take into account if you’re thinking of joining Barcelona’s expat community in the sunny Med. We’ll come back and update this page with some info on international schools, living costs, finding accommodation, including house-buying, and much more. In the meantime you might want to check out our the business directory where we have some handy information on everything from English-speaking doctors to accountants.

Click Here To Apply.


Phillip Anuforo is the founder and CEO of He is dedicated to providing information relating to jobs, scholarships and education.

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