In most EEA countries EURES Advisers are part of the Public Employment Services (PES). However, in Germany some work through non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Sabina Hoffmann, EURES Adviser with the catholic relief agency, Raphaels-Werk, explains how this unique relationship works.
As an NGO working with EURES, what kind of advice can you give?
Sabina Hoffmann (SH): As with all EURES Advisers, we provide our clients with advice on all aspects related to free movement, such as social security issues, taxation, pensions, how to find accommodation, cross-border working, and so on. Recently I helped a man from Cyprus who had been resident in Germany for 23 years to overturn a decision refusing him permanent residency. Without the help of EURES Germany he wouldn’t have been aware of his rights and therefore wouldn’t have appealed the decision.
And do employers approach you too?
SH: Employers also contact us with specific questions such as, for example, the social security regulations for sending an employee to another country.
I’ve been in this role for 25 years but I never stop learning. We have to keep abreast of the latest changes in taxation and employment legislation, and social security regulations.
What is Raphaels-Werk and what does it do?
SH: Raphaels-Werk is an independent NGO that was founded in 1871 by German catholic bishops to protect emigrants before, during and after their departure from Germany. We counsel German citizens, nationals from other countries, refugees and bi-national couples with professional, objective advice and, most importantly, a patient and friendly ear to hear and discern the troubles and concerns that are often below the surface.
To meet the growing demand for workers, EURES Germany recently decided to allocate more of its resources to helping German employers find workers from across Europe. How does the work within Raphaels-Werk relate to this?
SH: Since joining EURES in 1993, the scope of our work has widened to provide specific counselling for EU citizens looking to move within Europe, as well as those who are already living in Germany. In 2011, we received an increasing number of enquiries from jobseekers in Spain and Portugal. If employers and employees are interested to placement services, we refer to the international placement Service (ZAV) of the public employment service of Germany.