Barcelona launches International Welcome Desk to facilitate arrival of foreign talent
Support service is for investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, highly-qualified individuals, and students
Moving to Barcelona can be a very confusing and at times overwhelming experience. Because of this, the Catalan capital has launched a new support service, the Barcelona International Welcome Desk, with the aim of helping investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, highly-qualified individuals, and university students settle in the city.
Located in Barcelona's Poblenou neighborhood, the initiative is a public-private collaboration between the city council, the Spanish government delegation to Catalonia, the Barcelona Global association, as well as the 22@ Tech Network, that targets foreign talent upon their arrival in the city.
"When international talent used to come to Barcelona, they had several problems," the commissioner for city promotion, Pau Solanilla, told Catalan News on Monday. "This is a one-stop-shop where they can be informed and helped with all the procedures to be established in the city."
Here people will be able to find practical information, in English as well as in other languages, on living in Barcelona, such as obtaining NIE residency papers or registering in the municipal 'padró' census.
The International Welcome Desk will also be able to assist them with, for example, registering as self-employed, setting up a limited company, or obtaining an idCat digital certificate.
Deputy mayor Jaume Collboni, who kicked off the launch event, said authorities recognized the need to "simplify" procedures. According to him, there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners living in the city at any given time, equal in population to a Catalan capital district, and he said he hoped they "would become Barcelonians."
Of Barcelona's 1.6 million inhabitants, 480,720 were born in other countries, that is, 22.4% of the population. There are a total of 179 nationalities present in the city, which officials proudly proclaim to be "open and diverse."
Enric Urreta, the president of the 22@ Network, highlighted the importance of attracting foreign talent, especially within the tech sector. "Barcelona needs 10,000 tech professionals," he said. "Barcelona is multicultural; it's in our city's DNA."
Appointments for this service must be booked online.