Although unemployment is still relatively high in Spain (8,81%), Cataluna has the second lowest unemployment rate (6,31%) after the Balearic Islands (4,65%). There are a lot of foreigners, especially from EU countries that have found a job in Barcelona. Many people are brought by companies, or have a job lined up before arriving as they are often specially skilled or experts in a certain fied. In general employment depends, of course, on your spanish (and quite often also catalan) language ability. Common employments are tourist-sector jobs (often seasonal), translation, and language teaching - probably still the best chance of finding work quickly. Working hours are normally form 9am to 7pm with a maximum 2 hour break from 2 to 4. These hours differ depending on the company. There are normaly 40 working hours a week and you should get a minimum of 22 days holiday per year (+public holidays which are in Barcelona about 15 days per year). The downside of working in Barcelona is that salaries are rather low and often payed in 14 parts over a period of 12 month. Salaries a express in million pesetas per year and start at as little as € 8400. As an average decent salary you should expect minimum around € 18000 a year. Of course it really depends on your positon, experiences and qualifications. To get an idea about the wage level: 1 hour work at a fast food (Dunkin Donuts, McDonald, Burger King etc.) or a restaurant will probably earn you between € 4 - 7. If you are looking for work as a teacher you'll probably get something between € 10 and 20.
Everyone of the European Union has the right to live and work here but will need to applied for an id number for foreigners called NIE (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero) if you want to stay longer than 3 months. To do so, you will have to go to the foreigners' office (Oficina de Extranjeros) at the Delegación del Gobierno (see DIRECTORY for address details). Be prepared to queue here and don't be surprised if no one speaks anything else than spanish and/or catalan. You'll probably will have to come here 2 or 3 times as there is always something missing and procedures change. This process can be annoying and should take 1-3 months. At the end you will have to go to some local police station to pick up your residency id card (tarjeta de extranjero).
Immigration laws have been changed recently and tightened for people from the rest of the world. First-time applicants officially need a visa, obtained from a Spanish consulate in your home country. Considering the length of the process, you might have to get good legal advice from a gestor or try to get a job here beforehand and then apply for regularisation of your situation. Illegal immigration has become more and more a problem and "hot" issuse in Barcelona and local authorities quite often fail to solve the problem.