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Expat stories

Dmitry Skorinko photo
Expat Advice: Moving from Russia to Spain
Dmitry Skorinko
Has been living in Barcelona since 2015

Expat Advice: Moving from Russia to Spain

Short Bio 

Mathematician by education, Dmitry Skorinko had been working as a software engineer and technical leader for many years in Russia. In 2015, Dmitry moved to Spain and became the CTO of Glovo in Barcelona.

What made you decide to relocate to Spain? How long have you been here?

I was in a mood to create or join some startup and — by chance, being in Barcelona, Spain — I decided to check what's going on in the city in terms of startup job positions. After checking AngelList I found a pretty interesting project, I met with a founder on the next day and after a short talk was invited to work for the company. I moved to Spain in two months, and I've been living here for 2.5 years already.

Is it hard to find a tech job in Barcelona? Any tips for those seeking similar work?

Tech people are in very high demand in Spain. I don’t have any particular stats, and honestly, I know only startup scene in the city. But there are about 1200 startups here, and everybody has open tech positions. Being in a role of technical leader in a startup, I always had open job positions for all the possible directions: front-end, back-end, mobile, infrastructure and DevOps, data engineers, internship.

Almost all technical job positions in Barcelona can be found on JobFluent. Also, it's worth checking AngelList and Linkedin.

What is the average software developer salary in Barcelona?

The salaries are not very high in Spain. €2000-2500 NET per month is a good income for a developer here. But it highly depends on the company. And for sure it’s compensated with relatively cheap European life and perfect climate.

What was the visa process like? 

The best way to move to Spain is to get a work permit as a High Qualified Worker. The company who is inviting you should apply to get it. From applicant side, there should be a high school diploma with appropriate education, good CV with relevant experience and salary suggested by the employer not less than 36,000 euro annually gross. First, a residency authorisation should be received. Then with the authorisation applicant should apply for a visa, National ID for Foreigner and card of residency.

Usually, such permit is given for two years and not linked to the employer. Current laws are that you can apply for permanent citizenship within 12 months from receiving permanent residency. However, they’re always subjective to change. 

How long did it take for you to actually move after accepting the job offer?

I moved to Spain very quickly, but I moved with a tourist visa and made all the process of receiving my residency already in Spain. It's absolutely legal. But being in Spain with a tourist visa means you can not officially work. You can resolve that problem in different ways. You need to immediately apply for your residency after arriving, and after a month or two, you are already able to work. 

If you could travel back a year in time, would you change anything?

I don't think so.

What are the best things about living in Spain?

Amazing climate, good food, nice people.

What have been some of the most challenging moments so far?

Almost nothing. I lived in other countries. Moving to Spain and especially Barcelona is pretty easy. For sure you need to speak at least English.

Is it hard to find an apartment for rent in Barcelona? 

It’s getting harder and harder over the years. Barcelona is full of tourists and foreign professionals. The best source of available apartments is Idealista where you need to call directly to agents and schedule your visits to see the places. With the help of somebody Spanish speaking, it’s possible to check maybe 10-15 apartments in 3 days and chose what you want. To rent a full apartment for a long period, you will need to have a working contract and proof of salary from your bank to show to the agent. 

Life in Barcelona

Living in Barcelona, you don't need a car. Public transport is great. Recently I switched to driving a scooter, and that is a very good option for Barcelona. Renting a room in Barcelona starts from €300 per month, renting a good apartment (2 bedrooms) – from €1000. Plus €300 for utilities. Most likely you will start with using Airbnb room. Add €1000 per person monthly, and you are living very comfortable life in the city.

Do you have any advice for people considering relocation to Spain?

Before moving anywhere try to live in that city for a month. You will be in love with Barcelona. If you are an engineer, there are plenty of jobs here.

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Salary calculator

A minimum base salary for relocation starts at € 30000 per year, while more leading roles (architects, team leads) can bring you gross annual income of € 55000, without bonuses.

*The figures are imprecise and reflect the approximate salary range in this country. Keep in mind that the salaries you’re offered when relocating may differ from those you can get already living in the country.

Annual net income:
€ 22556 $ 0000

Monthly net income:
€ 1880 $ 0000

Explore cities

General

Barcelona, as one of the world's leading tourist destinations, is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain. This city is well-known for a number of prominent buildings, sandy beaches, and green parks. The climate here is mild and warm. Barcelona is also famous for its lively nightlife. The main languages are Spanish and Catalan. There is one interesting fact that Barcelona is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

2nd

largest city in Spain

1.6M

residents

8.2M

international visitors each year


Cost of living

Property prices
  • Apartment rent (small) in City Centre € 855
  • Apartment (small) Outside of Centre € 650
  • Apartment (big) in City Centre € 1,395
  • Apartment (big) Outside of Centre € 972
Utilities (monthy)
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for big apartment € 130
  • Internet € 41
Transportation
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) € 2
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) € 50
  • Taxi 1km ride € 1
  • Gasoline (1 liter) € 1.2
Food & Restaraunts
  • The average food basket € 24                                                                                                                                                                                        milk (1 liter), 1 bread (500g), eggs (12), local cheese (1kg), chicken breasts (1kg), apples (1kg), potato (1kg), water (1,5 liter), a bottle of wine, domestic beer (0,5l bottle)
  • Lunch € 10
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course € 40
  • Beer € 3
  • Cappuccino (regular) € 1.7
  • Coke/Pepsi (0,33 liter bottle) € 1.8
Sports and leisure
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult € 45
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat € 9

Healthcare

Spanish healthcare system is considered as one of the best in the world. There are two types of the healthcare system: public and private. If you use the public one, you have to register for healthcare with the Spanish social security office. For registering you have to have next documents: Certificate of Residence in Spain, Certificate as a Local Resident, passport, S1 form. Furthermore, you can be asked for more documents. Public system provides free basic healthcare. Unfortunately, in Barcelona public healthcare is associated with long queues and routine. So if you want to save time and ready to pay for the healthcare, you can use private insurance. Expats moving to Barcelona are advised to make use of the robust private healthcare system.

It is suitable that almost all doctors in Barcelona can speak English. In Spain, you must have a referral from a doctor before visiting a hospital. Only in an emergency, people can go straight to the hospital.

Moreover, medications are provided by Spanish pharmacies and residents are required to pay a percentage of the cost of their prescription medication, because Spain uses a co-payment system (a percentage depends on your age and health).


Education

There are 4 types of Higher Education Institutions in Spain: university schools (with short courses), university colleges (first three years of study), faculties (long courses in all academic disciplines), higher technical schools of engineering and architecture (long-term technical courses). Currently, Spain offers official and nonofficial degrees. Official degrees meet the requirement of the European Higher Education Area. So there are three official degrees: Bachelor's, Master's and PhD. Moreover, fees at public universities are: for a Bachelor’s degree EUR 700-3,700 per year, for a Master’s or Doctorate EUR 17-65 per credit. In private universities fees are higher and can vary from EUR 5,000 to EUE 15,000. Here's the link where you can find universities, colleges and education providers in Barcelona.

More about Higher Education 


Climate

Barcelona, as a city with a humid subtropical climate, is considered as a place with mild, humid winters and hot summers. The average temperature in summer is 28°C (84 °F) and in winter 12°C (54 °F). On average there are 78 rainy days per year in Barcelona.

 28°C

average summer temperature

 12°C

average winter temperature


Safety

Barcelona, as a safe city, has a safety level of 69% safe according to SafeAround’s rating and 57% according to Numbeo. Furthermore, this city is considered as the 15th safest city in the world by Business Insider. However, Barcelona is called “pickpocket capital”, so everybody has to be careful in tourist places and metro. And about crime, Barcelona is safe for residents, especially in terms of health security and personal safety.

15th

safest city in the world, according to Business Insider

57/100

Numbeo

Safety Index


Economy

Barcelona, as the 4th most economically powerful city by gross GDP in Europe, is one of the richest cities in Spain. Furthermore, this city was the 14th most "livable city" in the world in 2009 according to Monocle. Barcelona is a hub for business and trade, so a lot of expats choose this city to live and work.

707

Minimum monthly salary

2922

Average monthly

salary


People

Expat communities are common in Barcelona. There you can connect with other expats, find friends and help if it is needed. Here are some of them:

InterNations
Barcelona Expats - International BCN
Expat Meetups in Barcelona

  • General

    Barcelona, as one of the world's leading tourist destinations, is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain. This city is well-known for a number of prominent buildings, sandy beaches, and green parks. The climate here is mild and warm. Barcelona is also famous for its lively nightlife. The main languages are Spanish and Catalan. There is one interesting fact that Barcelona is one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

    2nd

    largest city in Spain

    1.6M

    residents

    8.2M

    international visitors each year

  • Cost of living

    Property prices
    • Apartment rent (small) in City Centre € 855
    • Apartment (small) Outside of Centre € 650
    • Apartment (big) in City Centre € 1,395
    • Apartment (big) Outside of Centre € 972
    Utilities (monthy)
    • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for big apartment € 130
    • Internet € 41
    Transportation
    • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) € 2
    • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) € 50
    • Taxi 1km ride € 1
    • Gasoline (1 liter) € 1.2
    Food & Restaraunts
    • The average food basket € 24                                                                                                                                                                                        milk (1 liter), 1 bread (500g), eggs (12), local cheese (1kg), chicken breasts (1kg), apples (1kg), potato (1kg), water (1,5 liter), a bottle of wine, domestic beer (0,5l bottle)
    • Lunch € 10
    • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course € 40
    • Beer € 3
    • Cappuccino (regular) € 1.7
    • Coke/Pepsi (0,33 liter bottle) € 1.8
    Sports and leisure
    • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult € 45
    • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat € 9
  • Healthcare

    Spanish healthcare system is considered as one of the best in the world. There are two types of the healthcare system: public and private. If you use the public one, you have to register for healthcare with the Spanish social security office. For registering you have to have next documents: Certificate of Residence in Spain, Certificate as a Local Resident, passport, S1 form. Furthermore, you can be asked for more documents. Public system provides free basic healthcare. Unfortunately, in Barcelona public healthcare is associated with long queues and routine. So if you want to save time and ready to pay for the healthcare, you can use private insurance. Expats moving to Barcelona are advised to make use of the robust private healthcare system.

    It is suitable that almost all doctors in Barcelona can speak English. In Spain, you must have a referral from a doctor before visiting a hospital. Only in an emergency, people can go straight to the hospital.

    Moreover, medications are provided by Spanish pharmacies and residents are required to pay a percentage of the cost of their prescription medication, because Spain uses a co-payment system (a percentage depends on your age and health).

  • Education

    There are 4 types of Higher Education Institutions in Spain: university schools (with short courses), university colleges (first three years of study), faculties (long courses in all academic disciplines), higher technical schools of engineering and architecture (long-term technical courses). Currently, Spain offers official and nonofficial degrees. Official degrees meet the requirement of the European Higher Education Area. So there are three official degrees: Bachelor's, Master's and PhD. Moreover, fees at public universities are: for a Bachelor’s degree EUR 700-3,700 per year, for a Master’s or Doctorate EUR 17-65 per credit. In private universities fees are higher and can vary from EUR 5,000 to EUE 15,000. Here's the link where you can find universities, colleges and education providers in Barcelona.

    More about Higher Education 

  • Climate

    Barcelona, as a city with a humid subtropical climate, is considered as a place with mild, humid winters and hot summers. The average temperature in summer is 28°C (84 °F) and in winter 12°C (54 °F). On average there are 78 rainy days per year in Barcelona.

     28°C

    average summer temperature

     12°C

    average winter temperature

  • Safety

    Barcelona, as a safe city, has a safety level of 69% safe according to SafeAround’s rating and 57% according to Numbeo. Furthermore, this city is considered as the 15th safest city in the world by Business Insider. However, Barcelona is called “pickpocket capital”, so everybody has to be careful in tourist places and metro. And about crime, Barcelona is safe for residents, especially in terms of health security and personal safety.

    15th

    safest city in the world, according to Business Insider

    57/100

    Numbeo

    Safety Index

  • Economy

    Barcelona, as the 4th most economically powerful city by gross GDP in Europe, is one of the richest cities in Spain. Furthermore, this city was the 14th most "livable city" in the world in 2009 according to Monocle. Barcelona is a hub for business and trade, so a lot of expats choose this city to live and work.

    707

    Minimum monthly salary

    2922

    Average monthly

    salary

  • People

    Expat communities are common in Barcelona. There you can connect with other expats, find friends and help if it is needed. Here are some of them:

    InterNations
    Barcelona Expats - International BCN
    Expat Meetups in Barcelona

Spain
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