Where to look for work?
Within the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), freedom of movement for people is a basic right, allowing EEA nationals to work in another EEA country without a work permit. Free movement of workers will apply to citizens of the new Member States subject to the transitional arrangements set out in the Accession Treaties . The section following on "The Transitional Arrangements put in place for the New Member States." deals specifically with questions concerning New Member States.
What practical things do I need to consider before looking for work?
Living and working in another European country can present some obstacles, such as adapting to a new culture, working in a foreign language, and familiarising yourself with unfamiliar tax and social security systems. You can best prepare yourself by being well informed about the country of your choice. Your own personal qualities and determination also play a role in finding a job as, of course, do your qualifications and foreign language knowledge.
Before you start your job search, it is important to realise that it is not necessarily easier to find a job abroad than it is in your home country (the overall European Union unemployment rate is still high). Nevertheless, some sectors on the European labour market may offer considerable opportunities, such as the tourist sector and the service sector (financial services, management consultancy, the construction sector, the IT sector and some segments of the health sector) as well as seasonal work in agriculture. You should also remember that there are considerable differences in job opportunities between regions in the European Economic Area and that the situation can change very quickly. Further information on this can be found in the "Living and Working" section.
How to start a search?
To help find work before leaving, you should:
- Visit the EURES job mobility Web portal, where you will find job vacancies, information on living and working conditions, labour market information as well as links to other useful information. There you can also make your CV available for potential employers all over Europe.
- Contact a local or regional employment office for advice. They may have a EURES adviser who can provide you with more personalised advice. He/she can check job offers in the EURES system and with EURES advisers in the country you propose to go to.
- Check the vacancy advertisements in the newspapers of your "host" country (major public libraries will usually receive them on a regular basis). Remember that many specialised magazines advertise vacancies for particular professional fields.
- Contact the host country Public Employment Service, who should be able to advise you remember that as an EEA national you have the same rights in another Member State as that State's own citizens. Ask to speak to a EURES adviser who is experienced in helping foreign citizens.
Other less common routes for finding a job
Remember that the most common way of getting information on job vacancies is through the Public Employment Service.
However, the following are also worth trying:
- In many Member States, there are private agencies, specifically geared towards finding temporary work. You should check if they charge for their services and find out the nature of their employment contracts beforehand.
- Private recruitment agencies also exist but usually target managerial level jobs or particular sectors such as computing or finance.
- For students, job fairs and career guidance centres can play a very important role in the job search.
- Spontaneous applications to firms are becoming increasingly common. You should find out as many details about the firm as you can, as success may depend on your ability to demonstrate how well you would fit into their structure and requirements. You should set out your application in a letter, giving your qualifications, experience and the reasons for your particular interest in the firm. Alternatively many companies have their own online recruitment sites, where you can sometimes submit an electronic application form.
- Networking is very important in most countries, as the first notification of many vacancies is often by word of mouth.
- Spending some time in the country of your choice on a traineeship or work placement is an ideal way of getting to know the country and provides the opportunity to job search on the spot. Many large companies organise such work placements.
Points to consider when applying for a job
One of the most important elements is finding out how to get your qualifications recognised in the 'host' country. The crucial point, for those with professional qualifications, is whether the profession is regulated or not. The regulated professions are those professions that are restricted to persons holding certain qualifications (lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers, paramedics, doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists and architects, for example). In some of these professions, a list of recognised and equivalent qualifications has been established, while in others, the equivalence is judged on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the course length and content. If your profession is not a regulated one, you may start practising as soon as you get a job, but you must observe any necessary procedures applicable to that profession in the host country, and which may be different to what you are used to.
What other points need to be considered?
You should ensure that you have drawn up a clear, well-structured Curriculum Vitae, targeted towards the specific job. You should also get it translated into the host country language, together with your qualifications (see above). Most Member States expect the subject of your degree or diploma to be directly related to the job applied for, while others place less importance is placed on this. The EU has adopted a European Standard Curriculum Vitae. Suitable for both vocational and academic graduates, this EUROPASS CV gives a clear picture of a candidate's aptitude and skills across EU-borders. This CV format is currently available in 20 EU languages in EURES CV-Online.
How to prepare for a job interview?
As in your home country, you should prepare yourself thoroughly for a job interview. Make sure you have background information on the firm and be ready to ask questions both about them and particular aspects of the job. You will also be expected to prove your command of the host country language and illustrate how your key skills and attributes fit in with the employers' requirements for that particular job. Many large firms throughout the EU use assessment centres to judge how potential employees would perform in real life situations.
What documents to bring with you to the interview?
Usually you will need:
• several copies of your CV in the appropriate language;
• a certified translation of your diploma (usually available from your education institute or the relevant ministry);
• photocopies of your school leavers certificate, university degree or other qualification;
• your passport or a valid identity card;
• a copy of your birth certificate;
• the appropriate E-form entitling you to health care coverage (eg. E111); and
• some passport photos.
Can I transfer my unemployment benefit if I move to another EEA Member State without having a job offer?
If you are currently out of work and you want to look for a job in another EEA country, you may transfer your unemployment benefit for 3 months. However, there are strict rules and conditions for the transferring of benefits and you are therefore advised to contact your local employment service or the appropriate benefits agency before taking any action. If you have not found a job after 3 months, you may be asked to leave, though the authorities may be lenient if you can prove that your chances of finding a job are good. Other sections such as the "Living and Working" section contains further useful information on this.