Working abroad in Europe is the perfect way to experience new cultures, learn new life skills, and change your life completely. It is a dream of many to leave the norm behind and take the leap to a new country to work there. Sometimes, this can seem like a dream too far out of reach, but with the right information, you may learn it is not as hard as you think.
Every country has different laws and regulations when it comes to employing people from abroad which makes every case different. If you are looking to live and work abroad in Europe then these tips will follow a similar fashion, just be sure to do your own research before taking any plunges.
If you are planning to travel abroad for long-term travel instead of work that is also an amazing way to delve into a new culture and lifestyle completely. However, preparing for long term travel is quite different than working abroad, and preparation is not the same.
Below is some information I have gathered from my experience living and working abroad in Europe as a Canadian ex-pat in The Netherlands.
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How to find a job in Europe
Step 1: Decide where you want to work
With so many different countries in Europe finding which one you want to work in is the first step. Although the countries are close together they are all very different and various factors need to be taken into consideration when choosing which one to start working in. Here are some things you should be thinking about when deciding on where you want to work:
- VISA and immigration regulations
- Cost of living
- Job availability
- Political situation
- Economical situation
- Ease of accessibility
Be sure to look into each other these factors to see whether it is somewhere you could actually see yourself living and working and how that would realistically look. For example, you may think you want to work in Italy; with its warm weather, beautiful cities and delicious food. But, you need to take into account that the salaries in Italy are quite low compared to the rest of Europe, and many places are not very English orientated like other places.
Here are some of the top places to work in Europe, based on salaries, adaptability, and the countries economic growth:
- The Netherlands
- The UK
Step 2: Look for jobs and requirements
After you’ve decided on where you would like to live and work you have to look at the jobs available. Choosing a country that has jobs that are relevant to your skills and experience is essential. Check all the jobs available and read the descriptions to see what they offer. Some places offer lots of jobs with VISA Sponsorship options (this is where the company gives you a visa for working with them). While other companies require you to have a legal residence permit to start working.
Be sure to check all the requirements for the jobs that are relevant to you to see if you meet the standards and have the highest probability of successfully finding a job.
Getting a European Visa
Working Holiday Visa
There are a few different types of VISA’s available depending on where you are from, what you are doing etc. The easiest one to obtain is a Working Holiday Visa. Many European countries offer this type of visa which allows its holders to live and work in the country for one full year. This visa is easy to obtain and grants you all that you need to start working abroad legally. However, once the year is up you will need a new type of VISA.
A work visa is granted when a place of employment hires you and sponsors you. With this they bind you to the job by granting you living rights, and without this VISA you will have to look into other options.
Other Visa Options
Every European country has different VISA options and if you really want to work abroad but cannot get either of the above two options you have some other, longer, and more involved ways of getting a visa. One way, that I followed in the Netherlands is by studying in the country first. I did my master’s degree in the Netherlands and as a result, was granted a “Search Year VISA” which granted me an additional one year VISA that allowed me to work and search for a job. However, if you are moving to the Netherlands as an EU Citizen the process is very different!
Of course with this option, you have to do a master’s degree. But you are given a full year afterward for finding a job, which may sponsor you after the one year visa is up.
Working Abroad in Europe Tips
Learn the Language
Learning the language is essential in assimilating into the country you are living in. If you are looking for jobs abroad you may notice that 80% require the native language and by having some knowledge of it, your chances of getting a job only increase! Try learning the local language before you apply so you can have it on your resume. Use apps like Duolingo to teach yourself in a free way.
Have all Paperwork in Order
Never underestimate how much paperwork and waiting and stress working abroad will be. Getting VISAs approved and ensuring all your work and stay is done legally can be A LOT of work but it is worth it. You might have moments where you feel like is this all worth it? But if you are at the stage to be thinking this, then you’ve already come pretty far, keep going.
Look at all options for working abroad
Working abroad doesn’t have to be working at a huge company, it can also be little jobs overseas to experience a new way of life. This is also a great way to see how you like working abroad and if this is really for you. Try jobs like Au Pair, teaching English abroad, or others to see what it is really about.
As you can see working abroad in Europe is more achievable than you think! If you are really wanting this dream to become reality then you will have to put some time and effort into finding jobs and making arrangements to live overseas.
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