Barcelona is a magnet for international companies to set up a base, thanks to its high quality of life, excellent services and existing hub of leading businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The second-biggest city in Spain regularly outperforms Madrid in attracting talent to its key industries in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electronics and appliance manufacturing.
But while attractive, an international relocation to Barcelona can be costly.
Employers can pay up to $85,673 (€85,760) and over when relocating a homeowner employee – and up to $27,327 and over to relocate a renter. According to the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC), these average costs do not factor in employee downtime – i.e. they are out-of-pocket costs when expert relocation services have not been sought.
In essence, Barcelona relocation services should save you and/ your staff downtime.
There are seven main services a Barcelona relocation agency should provide to help you hit the ground running – the services should start before you’ve even moved to Barcelona, be ongoing while you are here, and plan for a smooth goodbye when your contract or situation changes.
The seven essential Barcelona relocation services are: arrival & departure services; immigration services; home finding services; school finding services; settling-in services; administration services; tenancy services.
1. Arrival Services (& Departure Services) for a Hassle-free Move
A relocation to Barcelona rarely happens overnight.
If you want yourself or your employees to settle in as soon as possible, then arrival services are essential. The most basic way a Barcelona relocation agency can help you is simply opening lines of communication to answer any questions and coordinate the domestic or international move while you’re still in your home city or country.
Many Barcelona relocation agencies can arrange a pre-arrival trip to explore different neighbourhoods and kick-start the search for a property. This service can include a trip round Barcelona’s landmarks and highlights, so you start to get to grips with your new home.
A Welcome Pack or similar can also teach you everything to know about Barcelona.
Pre-arrival services can include coordinating removals, considering storage options and securing insurance in case belongings are lost or damaged.
These same services should also be available when your contract or time in Barcelona is up, and you need to terminate residency status, tax obligations, home supplies, schooling and other administrative obligations. Relocation agents can help you secure a deposit from a landlord, as well as iron out any legal issues, forward you any mail and keep an open line of communication when you’re gone.
2. Immigration Services to Start Working as Soon as you Land
Immigration services are key to ensure you, your business or your employees can continue their work with as little interruption as possible.
A relocation services company should have access to immigration experts that can secure the correct documentation whether for individual or corporate relocations to Barcelona. Bureaucracy can be notoriously frustrating in Spain – and so immigration services should be a core offer of the agency you choose.
Immigration services should typically cover residency permits, work permits, visas, validation and translation of documents, apostilled documents and any documentation due for renewal.
3. Home Finding Services to Help You Make Your Home in Barcelona
Temporary housing is often included in a relocation service package.
But the best Barcelona relocation agencies will begin the home finding process before you or your employees have even arrived. A pre-arrival trip or video, telephone and email communication should already have identified requirements to get you either visiting apartments and houses or moving in as soon as possible.
Agents can inspect any homes for you and be with you when you collect the keys.
Relocations experts can then arrange utility connections (water, electricity, gas) as well as Internet/ telephone installations.
4. Tenancy Services Throughout Your Stay
Tenancy services are not the norm among Barcelona relocation agencies.
According to Barcelona Metropolitan, the services of most Barcelona relocation companies finish two weeks after you or your employees have arrived.
In many cases, the majority of questions concerning Barcelona, bureaucracy and tenancy agreements are only just starting.
Therefore, a Barcelona relocation agent should keep some lines of communication open – crucially for renters, these should include tenancy services. For example, arranging appointments with technicians, plumbers, electricians and other repair specialists.
Securing these vital home services if you don’t speak Spanish – or Catalan – can be vital to ensuring your smooth transition over the first months or even years.
5. School Finding Services For Your Children
If you’re bringing family along, school finding services should be a key service of your Barcelona relocation agent.
Barcelona is a leading city in Spain for international schools, and making sure your children enjoy a smooth transition is essential during the relocation process. Schools should not only be compatible with a child’s home country education system but also nearby.
An expert Barcelona relocation agent should conduct interviews with the family to then identify appropriate schools which have available places, and then set up appointments with school directors.
These services can also include accompanied visits to any appointments, and assistance with application forms and registration.
6. Settling-in Services to Feel Like a Native
Moving to a new house is not the same as making it your home.
Barcelona relocation services should offer familiarisation tours once you’re in the city, so you and your family can see Barcelona through the eyes of a local. Language courses can also be a valuable add-on so you have the most rewarding integration possible.
Relocation agents can help you secure furniture rentals and decoration for your home, with housekeeping and finding babysitters included. Children can also be offered local activities and sports clubs to take part in.
Barcelona relocation agents should also offer to accompany you in securing home insurance or other necessities so you can relax and start making the most of the Catalan capital.
7. Administration Services to Avoid any Headaches
There are a whole range of administrative tasks your Barcelona relocation agent should help with – many of these will keep you occupied for weeks if not taken care of.
These can include simply opening a Spanish bank account, registering on the social security system in Spain, securing your NIE number and your TIE card in Spain, getting a health card, registering with your local town hall (padron), tax registration, getting a driving licence, importing you vehicles, and more.
You may also need further specialist tax advice – for example, the Beckham Law application for when you have assets in Spain and another country.
Your Barcelona relocation agent should have cleared all tax questions up before you’ve even moved to Barcelona. Only the very best will offer continued service to help you actually file and pay your months after a successful relocation.
Lasose Properties & Investments is a leading Barcelona relocation agency, offering a bespoke package which includes the seven services covered in this article. Read more about individual Barcelona relocation services and Barcelona corporate relocation services.