Written by Matteo Muzio
Choosing the Spanish archipelago to spend a few years as a pensioner or to open your own business is not that difficult. You just have to know what you are getting into. Here are the many positive aspects of life in the southernmost part of Europe.
I’m going to quit everything and open a bar in the Canary Islands.
How many times have we heard this sentence when you can no longer keep up with the rhythm in the Italian metropolis? But what does it mean to take the plunge and move there, what does the Italian who goes there find, attracted by the mild climate, little bureaucracy, low costs and a rather friendly tax system?
Let us say first of all who should benefit most from such a transfer: those who receive a monthly Italian retirement pension enjoy a favourable tax regime of around 15% tax on their monthly allowance. There are not only these features, but let us go with order.
The Canary Islands have themselves to offer, namely an archipelago of seven volcanic islands with an enviable climate: almost non-existent winters, very little rain due to their proximity to Morocco and its desert, and that feeling of eternal spring that extends into summer, where it is never too hot. In short, goodbye to extreme feelings of cold and heat. Although the water in the Atlantic is very cold, you can still swim in the inland bays of La Gomera or Gran Canaria.
Back to us: we have already talked about people moving there with grey hair to enjoy a few years of rest and friendly taxation. For example, there is no VAT and it has been replaced by a flat tax of 7%. For those who instead want to work, there are many other pros, first and foremost the cost of living, which is very low practically everywhere: 1,000 euros or a little more is more than enough to live on, and real estate, although it has increased in recent years due to the influx of new residents, is not remotely comparable in cost to that of Italy’s major cities: around 80,000 euros for a two-room apartment compared to 300,000 for a small villa. Rents, in the main centres of the islands such as Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, are around 500-600 euro including utilities, which are in any case very affordable.
Is it therefore possible that there is no reverse?
Even though more than ten years have passed since the real estate crisis that swept through the Spanish economy in 2011, salaries remain very low: in the tourism sector, which produces about one third of the islands’ annual GDP, they are around 800-900 euros and are mostly seasonal jobs. At this point, you need to open a business. And how does one do this? To open a Limited Liability Company in the Canary Islands all you need is a minimum investment with a share capital of just over three thousand euros (€3,000) and it can be done as a sole proprietor (single partner) or together with other partners.
Another advantageous aspect that pushes people towards the islands may be the fact that in the Spanish Chamber of Commerce the names of the partners (the owners, therefore) of an Ltd. never appear, but only the names of the directors. If you do not have the desire to open a company or to be exploited, you must be able to rely on your professional skills and look for high value-added sectors, such as real estate, optics, astrophysics, water sports, information, telecommunications and social and health workers, to give a few examples. It is worth searching on some Spanish sites, such as laborae.com and opcionempleo.com.
Alternatively, go there and see what you are looking for. It is enough to have some money put aside, also because one of the conditions for obtaining an Identification de Extranjeros number is to have six thousand euros in your current account, not exactly a prohibitive sum for those who have been able to put aside some savings.
If you have come this far, congratulations, you are ready for your new life in the Canaries, where among other things, security levels are very high, and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife the level of crime is the lowest in the whole of Spain. So all that remains is to choose your area of expertise and head for the islands to start a new life in a tropical climate without giving up the security of life within the EU perimeter.