In a previous post, entitled Obtaining a Student Visa for Spain (from the US), I discuss the difficulties we had with this process, and had thought the worst was behind us, now I can try to find a job here in Madrid. It turns out, however, that what the Spanish Consulate told me in my interview for the Student Visa was true, that finding a job in Spain is almost impossible as a US citizen. In Spain, unlike the US, you are allowed to enter the country and look for work with a Student Visa. The catch, though, is that most companies want you to already have a NIE number in order to apply, especially if you are non EU. Unfortunately, as I found out, this NIE number can take months to obtain, and you can only apply for one after you have received your Visa, another daunting task.
If finding a job in Madrid becomes an impossible task there are some alternatives. Some people who own their own businesses are licensed in the US, while living in Madrid, but they get paid in US dollars. Another option is to have your US based company transfer you to their Madrid office. A friend of mine tried this, but found the pay was lower over here, and her position wasn’t exactly what she was doing in the US. There are also a lot of English schools looking for native English speakers, but they want teachers with experience, legal working papers and/or NIE numbers. The other thing to remember is that as a US citizen you are competing with native English speakers who are from the EU, and thus don’t need to be sponsored by a company or go through the headache of obtaining an NIE number.
I found that the Spanish don’t use craigslist.com like in the US to post job listings. Instead, I see most job listings in local newspapers like El Pais or sites like www.spainexpat.com, which also has good information about labor laws. Good luck, and if you do end up working in Madrid, then tell us about your work experiences.