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EURES: Helping to ease the move

When Portugese engineer Isabel Doutor was posted to Belgium for three months in 2000, she developed a taste for the country and decided to find a way to make the move permanent. So upon her return to Portugal, she began looking into living and working in Belgium. Isabel, having completed her studies in Electronics and Telecommunications at the Instituto Militar dos Pupilos do Exército in Lisbon, had been working for a large German telecommunications company in Portugal but was eager to try working abroad again. ‘I was never afraid of moving around’, said Isabel. ‘Actually, I enjoy it!’

While updating her CV prior to moving to Belgium, Isabel was searching the Internet for information and came across the EURES Job Mobility Portal. Isabel said that the portal and the services offered by EURES appealed to her as it was clearly a professional, European service, which was exactly what she needed.

After consulting the portal she contacted a EURES Adviser in the Belgian region of Charleroi and was immediately provided with a detailed booklet entitled ‘How to work and live in Belgium’. Among other things, the booklet provided information on social customs and habits, social security, and health insurance. Isabel found that her EURES Adviser was both knowledgeable and willing to provide her with all the necessary information.

Knowing that it is useful for jobseekers to remain in touch with experts in their home country, the Belgian team then put Isabel in touch with Portuguese EURES Adviser Helena Lourenço who provided information on the issues that needed to be taken care of before she left the country. This included everything from declaring her departure to the tax department, to making sure her employment contract was formally finished. Helena was also able to provide indispensible advice on the Belgian paperwork Isabel needed to get settled in the country, including a taxation programme which prevents expatriates having to pay taxes both at home and in their country of destination.

Isabel has been in touch with Helena by phone and email and they have met on several occasions. She says ‘Helena has been very helpful. I would now consider her a friend!’

Isabel is now happily settled in Belgium, working for a French company, specialising in aerospace telecommunications, defence and security. She is working on her French language skills more and more every day, and plans to stay in Belgium for as long as possible. She admits that her move wouldn’t have been half as straightforward had it not been for the help of the EURES Advisers!

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