A fifth of Spain's new freelancers are foreigners

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Steve Tallantyre - [email protected]
A fifth of Spain's new freelancers are foreigners
234,566 non-Spaniards overcame Spain's red tape to register as newly self-employed in the last year. Photo: Flickr/Ken Teegardin

Almost a quarter of a million expats accounted for 20 per cent of the newly registered 'autonomo' self-employed workers in Spain in the last 12 months, some 6.2 per cent more than in the year before.


A report from the National Federation of Self-Employed Workers’ Associations (ATA) released on Tuesday showed that 234,566 non-Spaniards registered as self-employed in the year leading up to May 2014, a rise of 13,631.

Over half (56.5 per cent) of those who registered did so to work in sales or the hotel industry.

“It’s not just the Chinese who are starting companies in Spain, “said ATA head of immigration Guillermo Guerrero.

”Other nationalities are also deciding to go into business for themselves because of the difficulties of finding a job,” he added.

The number of Bulgarians registering rose by 12.1 per cent, Moroccans by 11.8 per cent and Italians by 11.7 per cent, according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

Only workers from Argentina registered in lower numbers than the preceding year with a fall of 3.5 per cent.

“It’s important to keep supporting the self-employment of foreigners who already represent 20 per cent of new registrations, through training, provision of information and administrative flexibility, areas where ATA has much to offer,” said Guerrero.

Spain has sometimes enjoyed a less-than-stellar reputation among expat entrepreneurs because of the rigid bureaucracy, red tape and high costs associated with starting new businesses or going freelance there. 

Read The Local's Guide to Going Self-Employed in Spain

New tax breaks intended to make it easier for self-starters have been announced by the government in their most recent round of fiscal reform.



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