Commuting into Gibraltar

Please remember, when considering where to live, you must take into account the extra time it takes to cross the border and travel to your place of work in Gibraltar. Typically, depending on travel method and location of work in Gibraltar, this could add on up to 30 minutes on to your travel time. You must show or scan your passport or EU Identity card at the border to cross either way. Then there are various options for travelling into Gibraltar and then to your place of work:

  • Car. This is a convenient option for commuters, although the queues can be long in rush hours (both ways). It is advisable to add an extra 30 minutes onto your commute into Gibraltar, for example, if you start work at 9am, make sure you are in the border queue at 8.30am. Occasionally there can be problems at the border causing very long delays for several hours.  If you try to enter Gibraltar and notice a long queue then you may decide to park up in La Linea instead.  However if you are on your way out of Gibraltar and get stuck in the traffic then it is very inconvenient.  Commuters can check the border queue via a live camera link http://www.frontierqueue.gi/split-view-cam.aspx  If it looks like the queue is building up then some people would try to leave the office early or perhaps decide to stay in Gibraltar for a while until the queue dies down.  There limited options for good value car parking in Gibraltar however some companies offer free parking onsite.  Morrisons car park offer free parking for up to 3 hours.
  • Parking in La Linea and Walking. Parking is good value in
    La Linea and you can pay daily, monthly or annually.  For example there is a car park next to the border charging €60 per month.  You can then walk over the border and walk in to
    work.  If you work in Ocean village it takes around 15 minutes to walk, if you work in Europort, Waterport or the town centre it takes around 20-30 minutes.
  • Parking in La Linea and Cycling. This is a fantastic option for many commuters. Many people also use a folding bicycle which means that commuters can choose to walk over the border instead of travelling in the car queue at the border.  Bicycles and mopeds are allowed to travel through the border queues faster than cars however there still may be some delays so it is sometimes faster to walk over.  It is advisable to add an extra 10 minutes onto your commute time.
  • Moped / Motorcycle. Mopeds are very common in Gibraltar, with
    the narrow, busy streets and occasional heavy border queues, this is an ideal option.  Mopeds and motorbikes are allowed to travel through the border queue faster than cars. You can either bike in from a neighbouring town, or pick your moped up from La Linea every day.  Allow an extra 10 minutes onto your commute.
  • Parking in La Linea, walking over the border and catching the bus. Buses are regular (every 10-15 minutes) and either free or very cheap starting at £1. They stop at the town centre (main street) and the main gaming industry locations (Waterport and Europort). Allow an extra 15 – 20 minutes for your commute time (including
    waiting for the bus).
  • Parking in La Linea, walking over the border and catching a taxi / minibus. Minibuses take up to 8 people, and it is normal to bump into people  you know at the taxi queue and share a ride. Taxi’s cost between £4 – £6 and typically add an extra 10-20 minutes onto the commute time including waiting in the taxi queue. The taxi queues tend to be longer in the summer as the taxi drivers services are split between cruise passengers visiting for the day, rock tours and general pickups.

Cost of Relocation

If you have been contacted by a consultant at Castle Hill, then your skills and experience are usually relevant
enough for the client to pay for your relocation. In most cases, this includes flights and 1-3 month’s
accommodation. Depending on the company and position, the company may cover accommodation
for your partner and children (if applicable), and sometimes a small allowance toward the cost of
shipping your belongings, or longer stays for accommodation.  Some companies offer an allowance of up to £2000 instead of providing temporary accommodation.
After your accommodation runs out, you will need to pay 1-2 months deposit on a rental property and 1 month’s rent in advance.

Car options

Bring your car
If you choose to live further away than Gibraltar or La Linea, then you will need a car. Driving over from the UK or Europe is a popular option. If driving from the UK, you can either drive through France then Spain, or miss out France by taking the ferry to Northern Spain. To avoid possible fines from the police, you will need to register your car onto Spanish plates, no later 6 months after registering as a Spanish resident, or take it back to the UK to renew the MOT after it has run out.

Buy a car
Many people will buy a car in Spain however the used car market is quite expensive in Spain . This means that is difficult to find good value second-hand cars in Spain and you will pay around 25% more than you would in the UK or Germany for example.  Very cheap cars are difficult to find, and it’s better to invest a little more to have a car that is more reliable.

Long term hire
Another option is long-term hire. Hire companies can hire cars for up to a few months at a time, and charge from around €200 per month, but will go up in price for summer months. This also covers insurance and repairs.

For buying or renting a car, you will need to register as a Spanish resident and collect your NIE number. This can be done in La Linea or Estepona from the national police station.

Finding work for your Partner

Employment in Gibraltar is fairly specialist, with most people working in the main industries such as online gaming, financial services, Accounting, insurance or law. However, there are the same industries that you would find in any town or tourist hub such as hospitality, retail, healthcare, construction etc.  Because Gibraltar is small and a popular choice for relocator’s, it is not as easy to find work as it would in a big city in the UK or Europe. However, it is much easier to find employment if you are already living locally.

Our consultants at Castle Hill would recommend that you speak to us about your partner’s career options, and we will advise you of the job prospects. If your partner’s career options are not within the online gaming industry, we still have local market knowledge of all industries and can advise and refer you on to another specialist local agency or direct employer(s).

Many couples or families make sure they have enough savings to survive on one salary for a few months, whilst the partner is looking for local opportunities. There may also be full-time employment opportunities in Spain, but the current job market is competitive and lower paid than Gibraltar, and
fluent Spanish is usually required for most professional careers. There are also many people who find casual work in Spain, or set up a small business.

Schools & Nurseries

For those relocating with families, there are a number of excellent options regarding schools and childcare. The standard of education in Gibraltar is high, and schools are English speaking and follow the same syllabus as in the UK. Class sizes are generally smaller, and schools are known for having friendly, supportive environments. Education is free for families living in Gibraltar, and families are required to be resident in Gibraltar to use the schooling system.  For those living in Spain nurseries are very good value and much less expensive than the UK.

Children go to school from the age of 3 in Spain and the public schooling system is free.  The younger the child entering the schooling the system, the easier it is generally to learn Spanish.  Also many parents decide that its necessary to develop their Spanish skills to a higher level so that they are able to communicate with Spanish teachers and other parents.  For older children it will be more difficult to integrate into a Spanish school so it would be recommended to join an international school in Sotogrande or Estepona (school fees will apply) or live in Gibraltar.

Salaries & benefits

Salaries in Gibraltar are paid directly into your bank account and the companies will usually require you to have a Gibraltar or UK sterling account, however some may agree to pay into a Euro account temporarily.  The employer will complete some basic administration on your behalf to set up your tax and Social Insurance with the Gibraltar Government.  Most companies pay salaries at the end of the month and will automatically deduct your tax and Social Insurance contributions.  Your Social Insurance contributions will mean you are legally allowed to claim a pension in Gibraltar in the future.  Paying tax means that you are also allowed to use the free healthcare system in Gibraltar and the local hospital.  Most of the large companies will also provide very good private healthcare for use in Gibraltar and Spain and a private pension.

Tax

Gibraltar Tax

The vast majority of relocator’s will join the “Gross Income

Based” tax system.  There is also the “Allowance based” system which is more applicable to those living in Gibraltar who own property and have children as they will pay a higher rate but receive certain deductions.

The tax rates for the gross based system are as follows:

  • On salaries up to £25,000 tax remains below 20% with a sliding rate of between £2,000 –£8,000 tax free allowance dependent on income
  • On salaries between £25,000 – £35,000 the maximum tax rate is 20%
  • On salaries between £35,000 – £100,000 the maximum tax rate is 26%
  • On salaries between £100,000 – £353,000 maximum tax rate is 29%, and a sliding scale going down to 5% on any earnings above this amount
  • You also pay Social Insurance (similar to National Insurance) of £109 per month regardless of whether you live in Spain or Gibraltar.

For more information regarding income tax and Social Insurance in Gibraltar, please visit the Gibraltar Government website:
https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/new/income-tax-office

Spanish Tax

Download pdf here.