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Even though European Union residents don't need a work permit to work in Spain, a residence card is required and can be used for up to five years. On the other hand, non European Union residents must have both a residence card and a work permit so as to be legally employed. Such work permits are usually issued for a period of one year and can then be replaced by a five year permit, but restrictions may apply concerning employer, employment or industry.

European Union nationals are allowed to enter Spain and register with the national employment office as a visitor, giving them 90 days in which to find a job. An extension can be obtained after the 90 days are up, or the visitor can leave the country and re-enter for a further 90 day period.

Once you find a job, you must obtain a contract of employment which must be presented so as to gain a residence card. As soon as you are legally working in Spain you will be subject to the same labour legislations as Spanish nationals and will be entitled to all its benefits.

On average, the standard working week is 40 hours, where there are 12 hours rest between working days and one and a half uninterrupted days of weekly rest. The average days of paid holiday tends to be 30 days a year, plus 14 days of national holiday, but as above, these are only general guidelines and can vary depending on salary, contract and the established collective bargaining agreement.

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