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  1. Having lived in Lithuania for the past 15 years, I can say that the author’s comments concerning bureaucracy and employment are equally relevant to this country. I suspect that they’re equally true for good portion of the countries that were part of the former Soviet bloc (not to mention a lot of other countries throughout the world). One could easily substitute “Spain” with “Lithuania” throughout, change a few details in the first and last three paragraphs, and have another article warning of the perils of moving to Lithuania. God forbid you try to do something really challenging like buying a house or flat (which almost gave my wife a nervous breakdown–seriously)! What the author has to say is relevant; it just makes me wonder why excessive bureaucracy is so widespread or in other words why many governments/civil services (even businesses at times!) seem to hinder more often than facilitate. Hey, from where I’m standing (sitting actually) at least the climate is much nicer in Spain.

    1. Linda Martin says:

      You’re right Alan, I think bureaucracy is crazy in a lot of countries — we’re in the Czech Republic at the moment and our host has been telling us stories about how it works here; and it’s spectacular. Apparently they haven’t quite started to use computers for visa extensions and every six weeks he has to wait in line from 4am to get a number to get an appointment that lasts for half an hour — most of which is spent waiting for them to get his file from the basement. They then sign a form and that’s it.

      Perhaps we’re just spoiled being from New Zealand — we have our own issues, of course, but basic visa processes tend to be a lot more straightforward.

  2. Jon Iveson says:

    I agree that bureaucracy in Spain is a pain. It is ridiculously slow and inefficient and they change or make up the rules as they go along, but there are a lot of positives to living here too. I remember when I first moved to Japan and the paperwork was just as drawn out – they were just honest about how long things would take and did it all with a smile which I must admit is sadly lacking here in most parts! I also had problems getting a bank account and setting up my internet at first – companies were insisting on a residency card which as an EU citizen is something that we just can’t get! But eventually everything gets sorted out and life here is pretty good.

    You say that in La Coruna you earned a quarter of your hourly rate in Australia but how did the cost of living compare? I’ve only ever been to Australia as a tourist but as I understand it the cost of living is very high. EFL teachers here are not very well paid compared to Asia for example, but since I arrived here almost 5 years ago I’ve managed to have a nice life and pay for my own flat and my bills.

    I do agree with the points that you’ve made but don’t think they are so different in other parts of the world.

    1. Linda Martin says:

      Hi Jon, I’d say living costs in Australia are roughly double, so it’s definitely more expensive but it’s also easy to save there. Don’t get me wrong — I love Spain, I’ve said that (a lot) in other posts, I just wanted to balance things out a little by talking about the difficulties. And you’re right, these issues aren’t limited to Spain.

  3. I agree with the others, Linda – pretty much every country in Europe is complicated like this, with the UK and Ireland being notable exceptions.

    1. Linda Martin says:

      Ah, I disagree with you there, Steffi — the UK is pretty complicated too. For us it was okay because we did A LOT of paperwork before we arrived, and organised a bank account before we arrived in England too. But our friends fell into the trap of not being able to get a bank account without a permanent address, and not being able to get a flat because they didn’t have a bank account. But yes, I’m starting to see that every country has its own bureaucratic issues.

  4. Wow I never realized complicated Spain could be. But then again, I lived in Germany for over 5 years and it was just as complicated. I think if you are planning to live in a different country you should always have an open mind. When I moved I was so focused on how thing were and what I was used to and this is what made my transition difficult.

  5. More than ever I am convinced there are only 5 decent countries in this world. Canada, UK, Australia, USA and New Zealand. These countries offer a balance of a good lifestyle and social services (maybe less with the USA), all other countries seem to be a bureaucratic nightmare coupled with high unemployment. Our countries are not perfect but people still want to move to our countries for the opportunities and freedoms they offer.

    1. Hi Bassman, while I agree that the countries you mentioned are great, there are lots of other decent ones out there. I think we just need to be aware of how things are different. We just spent (another) year in Spain and it was A LOT better this time because we knew what to expect in terms of bureaucracy and we managed to avoid a lot of it!

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