Living & Working in Europe: 2008
Actually living and working in Europe can be a great form of travel. But how do you find a good job overseas? Do you know of any helpful books or websites for Americans who want to live or work in Europe? Share your thoughts here.
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
working without work permits
If one wants to work in Europe, there are two ways to do so without getting a work permit. One way is start your own business. You don't need a work permit because you are not taking someone elses job. You are creating one. The other is to be a free lancer (ie writer, photographer, painter, musician etc). You might need a body of work to show that you can indeed make a living off of your trade. The hardest way is to do a job search because of worker protection laws that require a company to post an opening for a period of time before it can be offered to someone from another country. Also, the job offer has to be accepted while one is back in the states.
Homestead, Fl USA Mon 11/17/2008
immigration to Germany
For Americans wanting to move to Germany one of the best websites to check out is www.toytowngermany.com . Especially the old forum posts are a fountain of knowledge - almost everything you need to know about immigration procedures, citizenship and other issues about moving to Germany.
U.S. citizens should also know that out of all the EU countries Germany is one of the easiest to move to. Unlike for most other EU countries US citizens (and Canadians, NZ'landers and Aussies) can apply for the necessary residency and work permit after arrival in Germany, they do not have to apply in advance at the embassy at home. This gives US citizens a chance to come to Germany visa-free, look for a job and if they get lucky, they can try for a residency permit and a work permit within 3 months of their arrival. Downside of this is that the person applying usually needs hold at minimum a Bachelor or master's degree to have a decent chance of getting a work permit. Having other talents (high-professional level sports, dancing, acting) can help too. Essentially you have to prove that there is no EU citizen or non-EU resident available or qualified enough for the job that you intend to hold. It is therefore a lot easier to get a work permit if you intend to work freelance or become self-employed.
The cost of immigration should not be underestimated, you should have enough money to tide you over several months of unemployment. At the moment this means having about 750 EUR per month for a young single adult in a city like Berlin, more in Munich or Stuttgart.
Germany Tue 10/28/2008
high school students who want to move to Europe permanently - read this!
I'm German and used to work in immigration and often I get questions like "I'm 17 and from the USA, after graduation from high school I want to move to Europe and find a job there. How do I find a job in Europe?"
The answer is - you are going about this the wrong way. Don't think about getting a job yet, think about getting the necessary permits (residency and work) first.
For young US citizens who want to move to Europe either short-term or long-term the best possible option is to study abroad. Either for a semester or a full year or doing your whole degree in Europe.
Getting a student visa is relatively easy compared to other immigration procedures. Biggest issue is usually financing your studies abroad. While many European universities are tuition-free and non-EU students enrolled at universities in Europe are usually given a part-time work permit to help them get along, the money students make on this work permit is not enough to cover all the costs. The main source of funding (80 % and more) has to come from savings, scholarships, relatives, etc.
What is noteworthy: Students who study for a full degree in Europe and graduate from a European university are usually given a year to find a job that suits their acquired qualifications. If they find a job they are given a full work and residency permit.
Graduating from a European university is therefore the best and easiest way for a young, talented and still relatively unqualified person to move to Europe permanently.
So if you are a teenager and dream of living and working in Europe, your first step is to find a job at home. Work hard, bust your behind and save enough money so that you can attend university in one of the European countries for 2-4 years.
And if you are a twen, have the same dream of getting a job in Europe, but already hold your Bachelor's degree - consider doing Master's in Europe. Even more good news is that in this case there are scholarships available to you from European institutions.
Germany Tue 10/28/2008
working in Switzerland
Private Yoga in Switzerland? -- does anybody know if I could teach yoga privately (or at a yoga studio) in Switzerland, and get a real, legit work visa for it? or start my own company and have that be a way to become legal to work there? I am going for love so I am not going to want to leave after 90 days, but we also don't want to get married too fast "just" for a work visa for me. Thanks! Tina (Portland OR)
Portland, OR USA Sun 10/19/2008
Work in Spain
I lived and studied in Spain a year ago and now that I'm graduated I'm trying to find a job and get back there! Does anybody have any suggestions?
phoenix, AZ USA Sat 09/06/2008
teaching English in Italy
I don't suggest anyone teach English for a long term career. The average pay is 8 to 11 euro an hour at a school. While you can make 25-40 euro an hour teaching private courses, it is difficult to get around and often work is inconsistant. It is a horrible job and the owners of the schools make a huge profit while you slave away. Fun for meeting interesting people and good way to find someone to learn Italian from
Rome, Italy Mon 07/28/2008
Working in London!
This message is also for Jaime working in London, England. I am also wondering if we can exchange email addresses as I'd like to find out more about your experiences working abroad. In particular, I'd love to know what you are doing for a job and where you are living. Thanks & look forward to hearing from you!
Sacramento, CA USA Thu 07/24/2008
working in London, England
This post is to Jaimi from London/ Seattle. Would love to ask questions about your work experience in London, England. Would you consider sharing email addresses? I live in Canada and my partner and I would be interested in knowing more. You sound so positive. I checked out the web sites. They are fantastic. Angela (Canadian)
Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada Sun 07/20/2008
Don't Work In Greece
Greece is an awful place to work. I was on Rhodes where locals constantly try to rip you off. I was there 3 months and was paid 2 Euros an hour for a horrible company that ending up fining me for leaving early. I found the job online. They said I would be making more than I actually did. I worked more hours than they said I would. And they said they would get me a student visa so I would work/intern. But they never did, I was illegal and they took advantage of that. In total, I worked 5 weeks for free as a result of their lies and manipulations. I wasn't the only one either. They did the same to countless co-workers. I want to stop the company from doing this to other young people.
Greedy in Greece
USA Sat 07/19/2008
Nurses in Europe
Does anyone know of any programs for American registered nurses to work in Europe? (It would need to be in the UK, as I can unfortunately speak only English with any fluency). Thanks.
Charlotte, NC USA Tue 06/03/2008
Working and Living in London
There are some terrific websites if you're planning to live and work in London, including www.moveflat.com and www.gumtree.com for flat rental/share and job postings. As for a previous poster's claim about those working in Europe needing to have their "heads examined," I can attest to the fact that I'm very grateful to be working in the UK as an American citizen because a) my taxes may be high, but they pay for my healthcare b) my taxes may be high, but it means I can walk into almost any museum I want on the weekends for free and c) my taxes my be high, but my travel to and from work and any other location within the city is subsidized by the government. Did I mention I get 25 days of vacation a year and paid maternity leave, should I so need it? There are pluses and minuses about working in any foreign country, but working and living in London is truly a joy. I can hop to another European city for a weekend at a low fare and bank holidays are abound. Too bad one could not have the same opportunity to do so in the US (depending on your field of work and your visa status).
London/Seattle, WA USA Wed 04/23/2008
disregard the question below, already worked out what the pay will be...
however, does anyone have any insight as to renting rooms, or apartments in Madrid?
pr, USA Thu 03/06/2008
Is 2000 euros a month good for Madrid?
Thanks in Advance
PR USA Fri 02/29/2008
Three months will be your limit in the Schengen Union (essentially the EU minus UK and Ireland) unless you get an extended visa in advance.
Also, unless you have a passport from an EU country or travel with an established program, you will NOT be able to work on a tourist visa. Work permits, which are required to work, usually have to be obtained by the employer and must be obtained prior to leaving the US.
There are some options for college students, those just out of college and few program for au-pairs etc. However, unlike in the past, the un-skilled European job market is fast closing to non-Europeans. Europeans get first dibs on job over non-EU citizen and there are WAY to many people moving westward from the new EU countries for non-EU folks to get a chance.
So if you intend to work, you need to plan and get the proper visas BEFORE you leave the US. Getting caught working illegally could result in expulsion and not being permitted back in the EU.
Scotland Sat 02/23/2008
I need help too!
All of this has been helpful for my trip planning. I am unclear thou on what exactly I'm going to need going into Europe from America. I want to go for three months.. maybe longer.. if I work in Finland can I then travel after to the other European countries? Ah... this is a little scary!! :) so exciting!! thanks for replying to me!
MAple Grove, Mn USA Mon 02/04/2008
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or free healthcare)!
JJ is spot-on.
My wife and I have both been to surgery (doctor's office) and hospital in Scotland several times. While I have never paid money directly to either surgery or hospital, income taxes are higher (though corporate taxes are much lower) and there is 17.5% VAT (value-added tax...sales tax really) on almost everything.
You cannot pull doctors or hospitals out of thin air, and the doctors here are paid well (and not subjected to the outrageous lawsuits American doctors are) - someone must pay for these things! To think otherwise is silly (and dangerous because it shows a fundamental lack of understanding reality). I know that's harsh, but people need to wake up!
Having said that, I've been very pleased with the health care I've received here in Scotland relative to that in the U.S. The U.S. system has a lot of flaws (too much gov't intervention and too great of a reliance on employer provided health insurance) that need to be addressed.
But part of the great thing about travel and living abroad is the wonderful opportunity to see how others live, challenge your viewpoint, and re-consider the best solutions to human problems!
Edinburgh, UK Tue 01/22/2008
work and healthcare in Italy
I actually agree with JJ. What happens is that most people, at least in Italy, Spain and France, take home only about 40% to 50% of what they earn. However, many people get paid 15 months for 12 months of work, in Italy 30 days holiday. All of my meds are free as are doctor visits unless I chose to see a private doctor. I have never had long waits either. However, while the maternity leave is great for women, it is true that when a woman goes on leave, other workers pick up the slack, OR a young person is offered a terrible short term contract. As well, for women in their 30s it is DIFFICULT to find work for a good company, because even though it is illegal for employers to ask about family life and your marital status, they will often discriminate against women in this age group based on the fear of hiring a person and them leaving the minute they get their contract. the problem in Italy is that many people really abuse the system, making it bad for people who actually work. I live and work in Italy, but I am married, so I dont have to do all the illegal jobs like teaching english andf tour guiding. It doesnt matter anyway, at least for tour guiding here. It is run by the Mafia and they dont recognize American Univeristy degrees since the EU passed a law saying the tour licence in Italy was not standard to the EU, and that EU members with the appropriate degree have the right to work as guides(I mean in Art History, Archeology, or the classics) Italy is really one of the most corrupt places. So unless you are young and just want an adventure, I suggest avoiding the place. Most people between 25-40 make about 1200-1500 a month yet living expenses are very high.
florence, LO ITALY Tue 01/01/2008