Since 1994, I have lived in the south east of Spain, known as the Costa Blanca, the coastal region alongside the Mediterranean sea and the inland area known as the Vega Baja situated in the south of the Alicante province.
The Spanish people are extremely friendly, although like most countries, the bureaucracy can be a pain in rump. The health care system compares very favourably with Great Britain and is miles ahead of America. For those people living here in the Valencia Community and registered on the padron at their local town hall, health care is free. Private health care also costs far less. Residence is a right for European Union citizens and for others a reasonable income, such as a pension or a lump sum, (the amount depending on the location) is sufficient, along with a clean police record.
House purchase is a simple process, although it is necessary to use the services of an abogado (lawyer) to ensure that the property is fully legal and without any debts or embargoes attached to it.
The weather is the main reason that people re-locate or buy a holiday home in Spain. In this area of the Costa Blanca we average 320 completely sunny days per year, with an average Annual temperature 20º centigrade. I have just come in from the garden at 5.30 pm. on the first day in November, where I was basking in the late afternoon sunshine, with a temperature of 21º centigrade. The Costa Blanca has become very cosmopolitan during the last few years, with people coming from all over Europe to enjoy the stress free laid back lifestyle of southern Spain. On our web sites: www.real-estate-shop-costablanca.com and www.alandres-properties-spain.com
You will find a wealth of information including: descriptions of towns and areas of interest, with maps and photographs. Advice & information pages, a re-sale property price list with photographs and a variety of new developments including golf complexes.
For those people considering moving to another country who are of working age, especially with young families, Spain is NOT the place to go. The children’s education would definitely suffer. Apart from the obvious difficulties in keeping up their studies while learning another language, the Spanish children are beginning to resent so many British children taking up the time of the school staff and bullying has become common. The only alternative is to send the children to a good private school. With regard to working in Spain, you would need to be fluent in Spanish and possibly German to obtain a good position in an office based or professional post. The social security system is very different to Britain. A contract of one month is usually offered and after three of these the employer must offer an Annual contract, which obliges them to pay the social security of the employee if they dismiss them. This does not exactly encourage employers to take on staff for permanent employment.
In addition it is very difficult to gain employment with any Spanish company (at least that is our experience in the south east of the country) Ex. Pats seem destined to work in bars, clean swimming pools, building work, or sell houses (we worked out recently that for every new dwelling, there is a person trying to sell it). I have never seen a British driver in a Spanish taxi and there are no mini cab licences available in Spain. Spain is great place to retire to or to own a holiday home, but for working it would be best to got Australia or Canada. For those with capital and access to people with a good understanding of the Spanish bureaucracy and of business opportunities, Spain is a good option; the tourists industry, for example guest houses and the maintenance of properties are areas to consider
Alan Gunter: Alandres Properties Spain