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Working Abroad - European Perspectives

Working Abroad - European Perspectives

Traditionally, emigration was a lifelong commitment to settle in a land far away for a chance of – or at least hope for – a better life. These days, there are as many reasons as there are individuals. Sometimes it is love, sometimes money that feeds the drive. Or adventure. Escape. For some, a few years spent abroad improves the chances of advancing their professional growth. It may even be a prerequisite for their later career. Others follow a dream, grab an opportunity, or just “give it a shot”. Whatever your motive may be, the actual step of packing up your belongings – or leaving them behind – and moving abroad, to survive in a different culture, requires a solid dose of courage and at least as much preparation. You are leaving your comfort zone, after all.

This ebook is for European nationals who want to work abroad, either within “Europe” or elsewhere in the world. For the purpose of this book, “Europe” means the European Economic Area (EEA). Nationals of an EEA country who want to live and work in another EEA country can do so on the same terms as that other country’s own nationals (with certain conditions and exceptions).

An expatriate detached or seconded by his company usually has a support structure available. Via its human resources department or external consultants, the company will provide assistance when sending a member of staff to a posting abroad. This book may serve as an additional resource. It may also serve as a concise source of advice for individuals who do not have access to such support. The book sets out to provide as much information as can be summarized within a 50-page pdf book and to offer answers to the most frequent questions.

There are many issues you must think about before you leave. Some are of a general nature; others are specific to the country where you plan to live. Others again relate to your job or to the employer you will be working for. Your new country may well turn out to be very different from what you anticipated. That idyllic holiday island might have been wonderful for a holiday, but it is another thing to actually live there, to be part of the local fabric on an everyday basis. Family issues matter. Your company may have given you a prestigious post and an enviable job-title, but once you interact with the local way of life on a daily basis you may find that the global network you are part of has local flavours for which you are not prepared.

As explained in the Introduction, you will have to deal with numerous administrative matters before you leave. You must settle your taxes, sort out your medical needs, secure your social security and other accrued rights so as not to lose them – to list a few things. You must learn at least the basics about your new country, its culture and its language(s). You may well find yourself taking on a novel legal status, whether as resident or as employee. You might need to arrange for recognition of diplomas, face restrictions concerning ownership of property, have questions about availability of work, and so on. At a later stage, changing your immigration status on the basis of one type of visa might be more difficult than on another. Your social-security rights and pension arrangements may be affected. Formalities for acquiring a driving licence or an electricity supply can be, well, bureaucratic.

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