Traditionally, Granada’s economy, and that of the wider Andalucía, has been based on agriculture and livestock. The fertile land enabled the city to prosper based on its produce, and sheep herding is still done in the summer months. The area still yields excellent produce from the land, as can be sampled in the many local dishes and tapas on offer.
However, much has changed over the centuries, and today the economy is very reliant on tourism. The Sierra Nevada ski station attracts thousands of skiers and snowboarders each year. In the city, tourists flock in to visit the Alhambra, and other historic sites.
The university and its healthy student population is also a sizeable contributor to the economy. There are five campuses spread across the city, and the institution employs over 3,000 people in a wide range of faculty and administrative positions.
As the tourism industry fuels the economy, it’s a good starting point if you’re looking to begin working in Granada as a newly arrived expat and an English or Spanish speaker. Many expats, especially those who have lived in Granada for some time, operate businesses that cater to tourists, such as guest houses, restaurants and bars.
Like much of Spain, there is always a demand for qualified English teachers at all levels of the education system, from primary school right up to university level. You could consider applying to teach at a local school, one of the many language academies, the university or as a private tutor.
If you’re interested in finding a job in the professional/business sector, you will need to be fluent in Spanish. Unemployment in Spain is still very high following the recession, and competition is fierce for all jobs. It’s still the case that many jobs go to family members or close friends, but it’s worth registering with recruitment agencies and being persistent with enquiries.
As a general rule, you will be liable to pay income tax to the Spanish Tax Authority — the Agencia Tributaria, if you spend more than 183 days a year in Spain (these do not have to be consecutive).
The tax year follows the calendar year, and you must file a tax return if you earn more than 22,000 EUR a year. Also, if classified as a Spanish resident, you will be taxed on all worldwide earnings. Luckily, Spain has double taxation treaties in place with many countries to avoid people having to pay income tax twice, so you may be able to deduct income tax already paid in your home country. There is also foreign compensation that can be applied.
Income tax laws in Spain are somewhat complex, and it’s advisable to seek advice from a Spanish tax lawyer to ensure that you pay the tax due, in the most efficient manner.