Many people have had enough of living in the UK due to the high crime rate, terrible weather, mass immigration, and high living costs. While Spain is a much better option for some of those issues, if you do not earn a regular income or receive a pension from the UK, you will have to plan well before packing up and moving to the country.

We asked Mick MacCarthy from how east it is to make a living in Spain. He told us “Making a living in Spain is not always easy unless you have much-sought-after skills that are in demand. Even lowly pay jobs like bar work have a lot of applicants, as there is an extremely high unemployment rate among younger Spanish people. Also, bear in mind even if you do get a job, this type of work involves lots of hours and is often only temporary, with few possibilities during the winter months.”

Teach English

Another option is to teach English as a second language, but again you will find many people competing for a few positions in schools. Quite a significant percentage of TEFL teachers work on the black teaching from their home premises or the pupil’s home, but this is risky from a tax-paying point of view and finding clients will be challenging.

Use Your Skills

If you are a contractor with skills such as a builder, plumber, painter, and decorator, you should find it easy to find work amongst expats who often prefer dealing with a contractor from their own country. But a word of warning to the wise – if you decide to do this line of work, make sure your paperwork is in order and your taxes are correctly presented and on time. Local contractors may not take kindly to foreigners taking potential jobs, so don’t try to do this on the black as you will quite likely find yourself in a lot of bother.

Start a Business

If you have a bit of money saved, you might like to set up a business in your new country.

The old favourite of opening a bar in Spain is not such a popular idea these days. Bars are costly to run, and clients may not be as plentiful as you hope, but there are many other types of businesses you can open. Examples include hairdressers, beauty salons, sandwich shops, dog groomers, etc.


If you have graphic design, writing, translating, or web development skills, you can make a living in Spain working as a freelancer. if you spend more than 183 days in the country, you must pay tax on your income, which is relatively high for self-employed freelancers compared to other European countries. However, this type of work allows you to work flexible hours, charge your customers what you think you are worth, and work from anywhere with an Internet connection.


Whether you plan to work for someone else or for yourself, you must do your homework. Look around your chosen town to make sure there is not too much competition. You will also need to ask for people’s opinions on if your business will work and look for premises that have a decent location without costing the earth.

Many people have moved to Spain successfully, and who make a decent living, so there is no sound reason you cannot do the same. But you do need to do your homework, as landing back in the UK months down the line without any money is not a good option.