Internationals in Barcelona rate city's quality of life and health system highly

Taxes and administrative processes need improvement, according to Barcelona Global survey

One of the towers of the Sagrada Familia with the city of Barcelona in the background (by Pau Cortina)
One of the towers of the Sagrada Familia with the city of Barcelona in the background (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 16, 2021 09:35 AM

International residents of Barcelona view the city as attractive and cosmopolitan, rate the quality of life and health system highly, but are far from satisfied with the tax system and public administration processes.

That is according to Barcelona Global's 2021 International Talent Monitor survey, which garnered 1,042 responses from "talented internationals" from almost 100 different countries who live in the Catalan capital, as well as qualitative insights gathered from eight cross-sector focus groups.

High scores for international connectivity and remote working

Respondents gave ratings from 1 (very unsatisfied) to 7 (very satisfied) across a range of issues, with some of the top scores awarded for public (5.1) and private (5.54) health care, Barcelona's attractiveness for remote working (5.44) and infrastructure for international connectivity (6.1).

"Barcelona's international residents," said Barcelona Global president Auroro Catà, "consider that the city is safe by international standards, they don't view the Catalan language as a barrier to communication, and they rate the management of the pandemic highly."

The city's cultural (5.8) and sporting (5.9) offerings are also highly valued by the resident international community.

Taxes and paperwork rated poorly

But the picture is not so rosy when it comes to tax, salaries, and paperwork.

Satisfaction towards administrative processes is low, and falling, going from 3.3 in the previous survey in 2019 to 2.8 in 2021.

The opinion of the competitiveness of salaries is low (3.1), compounded by low levels of satisfaction with the housing market (3.2).

As for tax, satisfaction has decreased across the board: for wealth tax (3.4 in 2021 and 3.5 in 2019), income tax (3.5 in 2021 and 3.8 in 2019) and corporate tax (3.6 in 2021 and 3.8 in 2019).

"We continue to have the same areas to improve on: tax, and an easier system of public administration," Catà explained. "It's slowing the growth of people coming here or starting a business."

And while preoccupation over the political situation in Catalonia has not got any worse, it gained the lowest score (2.65) in the survey.

"Unfortunate controversies like the airport do not help us," according to Catà. "Barcelona is in an international race, we want to attract the best talent from everywhere, and not betting on an intercontinental hub means we're losing an opportunity to attract the best."

About the survey

The 2021 Barcelona Global International Talent Monitor, run with the support of Banc Sabadell, is the fifth such survey, having taken place every two years since 2013.

It aims to "provide a comprehensive view on working conditions, the entrepreneurial environment, integration and overall sentiment towards Barcelona amongst talented internationals who live in Barcelona by choice. This includes professionals, entrepreneurs, academic researchers, investors, athletes and artists."