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An increasing number of younger people are now moving to Spain following in the footsteps of ex-pat pensioners who started the trend more than 30 years ago.

A combination of low cost flights, a low cost of living coupled with a great quality of life and general disillusionment with life in northern European countries is now bringing a new wave of work-age foreigners to Spain and in particular Marbella and the southern coast.

Finding a job

A lucky few secure full time employment in advance of their arrival in Spain. But the vast majority will simply load their vehicle with enough essentials and savings to get them by for a few months in the hope of finding work and a better life. Most discover the hard way that finding any kind of work can be difficult and although this is possible we suggest that you at least make some enquiries before leaving your home country. Also remember that wages can be far lower in Spain compared with the UK and most other countries in northern Europe. On the flip side, you should remember that the cost of living is much lower in Spain than most other countries, in particular the UK.

You're off to a good start though if you're an EU citizen because you can work in Spain without a work permit and without having to apply for "residencia". Many young American and Australians find their hopes of teaching English as a foreign language in Spain are dashed by intense competition from young British teachers who don't have to overcome the same procedure for securing a permit.

Job prospects

If you have no idea what you will do work wise whilst in Spain it's well worth getting a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course under your belt, as there's a huge demand for English teachers in language schools and from private industry and individuals in Spain. Obviously learning Spanish will broaden your job prospects considerably too. If you can speak some German or Dutch as well you'll have a good chance of finding work in estate agencies, travel companies and offices in areas popular with foreign tourists and ex-pat homeowners.

If you're language skills are limited or non-existent you'll have the best chance of finding work in an area dominated by people who generally speak your language. Many Brits living in Spain prefer to rely on British trades' people (mechanics, plumbers, builders etc) even though they often charge more than their Spanish counterparts. So do some thorough research on the area you intend to move to and if you plan to set up your own business targeting ex-pats try to identify a niche market. Try to come up with a product or service that the local ex-pat community wants but isn't getting at the moment.

Setting up your own business can be complicated so make sure you hire a good local "gestor" or "asesor" to guide you. These people are experts in steering ordinary people, both Spanish and foreigners, through Spain's course of rules, regulations and legal procedures.

Construction continues along many of the Costas so there's usually plenty of work in the building industry for many people (with contracts and social security cover provided by the bigger, reputable firms) though it's worth noting that building has slowed dramatically due to the economic slowdown.

If you're presentable and hard working you shouldn't have any trouble finding seasonal work in the bars and restaurants, which line the beachfronts of much of coastal Spain.

Working hours

This depends very much on your employer and whether the company is international or Spanish. If it's Spanish you'll usually work from around 9.00 to 1.30pm and then have a long break in the middle of the day, starting again around 4.30pm and working until between 7.00 and 8.00pm.

Also remember that Gibraltar is about 36 miles (or about a 40 minute drive) from Marbella. Many residents of nearby areas commute to Gibraltar every day but you may need to leave a little extra time for your commute due to the (sometimes) long border queue between Spain and Gibraltar. Salaries do tend to be a little higher in Gibraltar than in Spain and many British companies are based there too.

So before packing everything up and making the move try to learn as much Spanish as you can and get your CV sent out to as many recruitment agencies as possible. Many of them will have lots of useful information on their websites and will also allow you to place your CV for viewing by prospective employers on their websites.

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