Due to its status as an economic powerhouse and relatively high standard of living in a lot of its member countries, the European Union is gaining popularity as a work destination for people worldwide.
Are you one of those who are looking to build a better future in the EU? Read this article to get a better grasp of what you need to work in the EU.
Which permits do you need?
The permit and/or visa you need to work legally in the EU depend on your citizenship and your status, as well as the regulations in the specific country you’re going to work in.
Generally, if you’re a citizen of an EU member country and would like to work in another EU member country, you don’t need a visa. You are free to move around and work within the EU.
If you’re not a citizen of an EU member country, you will need to apply for a work visa of a specific country: there is no Schengen equivalent of the work visa. You will need to get a work offer from an employer in the country you’re applying in.
Another option is the EU Blue Card, granted to foreign highly qualified professionals to work and live in EU member countries. This program was launched in 2012 to stimulate economic growth in the EU by encouraging foreign workers to work in occupations that are in short supply.
If you’re a foreign student studying in a university in the EU, the permits you need depend on where you study. In some countries, like Germany and France, you would need to have a work permit to legally work in those countries. In others, like Sweden and Estonia, a student visa already gives you the right to work. In any case, contact the international office at your university to understand your rights better.
Which jobs are in demand?
As is the case in other parts of the world, generally the jobs in the highest demand are highly specialized jobs, such as jobs in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field, such as engineers, doctors, highly skilled technicians, architects, biologists, chemists, IT scientists and engineers, including researchers and academics in those fields.
Some jobs in the humanities are also in high demand, usually the ones that are in short supply and/or highly specialized. Lawyers, political researchers, as well as social workers are some examples from this field.
Usually, highly specialized jobs that require high qualifications and a certain amount of experience are also in short supply, so if your occupation is highly technical, you’ll find it easier to find a job in the EU.
Job search tips
In this era of hyperconnectivity, it is now easier than ever to find a job that fits your qualification in the country of your dreams. Here are some tips you can use to find a job in Europe.
Job posting sites
This is usually the first place you go to when you’re looking for a job and might not even need mentioning. However, there’s a range of job posting sites that you can consider to find your dream job in the EU.
There are international job posting sites that cover multiple countries, which would be ideal if you’re not looking for a job in a specific country. However, the massive cover of such sites is also a disadvantage, as employers often prefer to hire people who are based (or going to be based) in the country. So you may not get the whole picture of the job market.
Therefore, even if you don’t have a specific country in mind, it is useful to check more localized job posting sites.
In any case, make sure your future employer is ready to help you with your visa, permit, or other needed documents.
If you’re employed in a multinational company, you may have a chance to relocate and work in the EU, if your company has an office in an EU country you can work in.
Check for openings in your company to be placed to work in an EU country.
This approach is less focused, as it’s practically talking to a group of people online. However, on online forums, you may find like-minded folks or people who have gone through the whole job searching ordeal who might help you by sharing their experiences.
So how do you make sure you get the help you need on online forums? Look up expat forums of certain countries, you’re bound to find foreigners of all kinds who can help you and even connect you to the jobs you need.
LinkedIn is your friend
When it comes to professionally representing yourself online, nothing beats LinkedIn. Not only can you show your latest resume and display your interests in a way that shows that not only are you skilled, but also an overall pleasant person.
On LinkedIn, you can look for jobs based on your skills in countries that you want, even apply straight away. You may also use it to look people up from your industry and try looking for a job that way.
Widen your network
As they often say: it’s often not what you know, but who you know. A lot of jobs aren’t even posted on sites and just travel from mouth to mouth. That’s why checking expat and work forums, as well as sites like LinkedIn, are so important because they allow you to know new people and contact them personally.