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Working & Employment - Gran Canaria

So you're thinking about living and working on the island? You're not the only one. Within the next 12 months, 9,000 foreign nationals will move to the island.

If you're a good salesman with experience of any kind and you're British, Dutch, German or Scandinavian, or speak any of those languages, you'll get a job as a PR (public relations). If you're not very good at being a PR, your boss will soon discover this and you'll have to be a PR in another establishment here but it seems that every timeshare resort, restaurant and bar uses the services of PRs.

To be a PR you need to be able to stop tourists on the street and in whatever seconds or minutes you have with them, convince them to try your product or service. This would be to eat in your restaurant, drink in your bar or go see the holiday resort you're working for. Salaries are on a commission basis, set wage or a combination of both and can be pretty decent if you're good. You don't need to arrange interviews until you get here and the best way to find restaurant or bar work this way is walking around the shopping centres & asking. To work for one of the timeshare companies, go to one and ask for their personnel office, any of the "promotion" guys around town can tell you which & where they are.

Restaurants and bars are often looking for waiting staff, entertainment staff/professional acts and especially promotion staff to work at the door and "pull in the punters". Many of the larger tourist complexes also have entertainment staff. Again, walk around the shopping centres and ask the establishments individually.


Tour operators are another option but normally you'll need to apply and train with them in your own country, before coming to Gran Canaria. If you have previous experience and a knowledge of the Spanish language, it's worth contacting them direct once you're here for casual work, maybe doing airport runs or helping out with the bigger, busier excursions.

If you speak fluent Spanish then you have a huge advantage as very few of the foreign nationals working here do; you have more choice of jobs to go for such as office/admin work, reception work in an apartment complex maybe. Puerto Rico is a holiday resort and most businesses are of the type that caters to tourists. Preference to locals is given if a job vacancy arises in other areas of business.

A very rough guide to the cost of living, wages would be around 1075 euros including tips, per month. A studio apartment would be around 400 euros, a 1 bed flat starts from around 525 euros and a 2 bed from around 700 euros.

So to summise, if you want to live and work here, my advice is to come for a holiday here first to find a job. Try not to come out here on a one-way ticket with a "promise of a job". Have something more definate or a back-up plan too. I don't know of anywhere that would employ anyone from overseas unless they were actually on the island to apply in person. Book a cheap package holiday so you have a place to stay and a flight home (just in case) then go round the bars, restaurants etc and ask for work. To rent an apartment to live you would need to be on the island also.

If you're a resident of the EEC/Europe, then you won't need any special work permit, otherwise check with your local Spanish embassy for requirements. European nationals do need to register with the police here if living here for three months or longer. Take out an insurance policy to cover you for medical treatment as that can be difficult to get and expensive without cover, unless in cases of emergency.

I don't know of any agencies to put you in touch with, I don't even know if any businesses here use them or would employ staff that aren't already here; neither do I know when particular businesses are looking for staff so I doubt if I can help you any more than with the information I have here. We don't have any employment agencies for staff from overseas here so local newspapers and word of mouth are the main ways to get a job.

Once you have a job by the way, the rule is that you pay tax. The ideal way is that your employer will give you a contract, often for 3 months at the end of which, it gets prolonged for another 3 months and so on up to a year. After a year, the law says you must get a fixed contract which gives the employee extra benefits and rights. To get round this, most places will lay you off for 6 weeks (during which time you can claim unemployment benefit) and then re-hire you back at stage one, on the first of 4 more different 3 month contracts.

The not so ideal way is you'll be employed on a casual basis, cash-in-hand kind of thing. I'm not too knowledgeable with this method having not gone through it myself but I am fairly sure you're basically self-employed this way and should register with the local council (Mogan for Puerto Rico, San Bartolome de Tirajana for Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas) so you can pay tax on your earnings. If it's the same as running a business then you pay 5% "IGIC" on your gross (like the UK's VAT) and then 20% of your net profit (cash left after work-related expenses are deducted). I have a sneaky suspicion though that not everyone who gets paid cash-in-hand actually registers to pay tax, then again, maybe I'm wrong and they all do? If you don't though you're in for a heavy fine if you're caught and if you can't pay that some serious legal problems!

That's my advice and knowledge on the subject - period. If you discover anything I could add, please get in touch and let me know. Otherwise, there's nothing more I can say to help really. For some reason, people are emailling me every day for my advice but it's already here.