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Guide to Working in the EU

  • by: Vincenzo Segnale
  • On: 24, Oct 2018
6 min read

VHR recruit engineers, project managers and technical specialists from all around the world. But no matter where we’re recruiting from, one of the questions we’re always asked is: ‘How can I work in the EU?’

The European Union is attractive for a variety of reasons: a multi-cultural hub of different countries and traditions, a great place to network and make business connections, and most importantly for our candidates, lots of jobs.

Guide to Working in the EU

Everything you need to get a job in Europe


VHR recruit engineers, project managers and technical specialists from all around the world. But no matter where we’re recruiting from, one of the questions we’re always asked is: ‘How can I work in the EU?’


The European Union is attractive for a variety of reasons: a multi-cultural hub of different countries and traditions, a great place to network and make business connections, and most importantly for our candidates, lots of jobs.

Checklist for Getting Work in the EU

1. Passport – First things first, you need to make sure you have a valid passport to travel internationally. It must have a valid, in-date picture of you, and must be valid for up to three months after the date you plan to leave the EU. If you’re getting one for the first time, or renewing your current passport, they can take several weeks to be processed and sent to you,
so start well before you plan to move.

2. Starter Job – Next you’ll need to have a job secured and lined up for you to start in the country you want to move to. If you use an international recruitment company like VHR, they may be able to secure a work visa for you. This is also known as a Blue Card, and is only for university-educated professionals or people with five years’ experience in their field.

3. Work Visa – If you’re a non-EU citizen, you’ll need a work visa for the specific EU country you’ll be working in. The visa will NOT apply to every EU country, only the specific one you’re going to. If you’re a national of some non-EU countries, you may still be eligible to work in the EU without a work visa. Check here to see if you qualify.

If you do require a visa, it is your responsibility to begin the process to secure one. However, this can only be done by your employer, who must also have proven that there were no qualified candidates able to do the job already living in the country. The higher the salary is for the position, the more likely it is that you will be granted a visa. This is because a higher paying position will be more specialised and thus more difficult to fill, and because the host country may see more value in a higher-earning resident. Some EU countries also require you to have a residence permit to live there; this is something your employer may be able to help you with.


4. Registration – Once you’re there, register with the local police, and open a bank account so you can prove you live and work in the country. Other important documents you should have with you include your passport, your visa, and a copy of your diploma.

How Brexit Will Impact You Being Able to Work in the UK

Brexit may have an impact on how easy it is for you to live and work in the UK. This depends largely on
the kind of approach the UK government and the EU end up taking on the Brexit issue. Let’s look at how
each situation might play out.

Soft Brexit

Immigration to the UK from outside the EU has been rising in recent years, and is predicted to rise even more post-Brexit. To cover the loss of skilled EU workers who will no longer be coming to the country, the UK must look outside the EU to fill its drastic skills shortage. As the UK doesn’t have enough skilled workers in either the public or private sector, the government is considering implementing a work visa programme similar to the EU programme, where applicants will have to secure a visa from their employer. A skills-based system will be implemented, meaning there will only be a supply of workers to meet the demands that are not met by the UK population. Because of the UK skills shortage – in 2017 42% of Aerospace & Aviation business leaders named a lack of talent as the biggest threat to their company – there will certainly be opportunities for employment in almost any industry.

What’s more, EU citizens will not be given preferential treatment over non-EU citizens, meaning the UK may be more desirable than other EU states for workers. In any case, UK companies looking to hire any non-UK workers, regardless of whether they’re EU citizens or not, will have to pay a fee of £1,000. The current policy is to allow 20,700 highly-skilled workers into the UK each year on Tier-2 visas, as long as they make £30,000 a year. This number may increase, and high skilled workers such as engineers will be prioritised.

Hard Brexit

There have been calls for the cap of migrant workers coming into the UK to be scrapped. In the result of a hard Brexit, while no EU workers already living in the UK would be deported, there would still be a steep decline in people coming into the country to work. The cap on migrant workers may then be lifted to rejuvenate the depleted workforce. This would make it easier for non-EU workers to gain a visa to the UK. However, it is believed the fee for businesses to hire non-UK workers may still apply, which would make things more difficult.

No-Deal Brexit

Even in a no-deal scenario, EU workers will be allowed to stay in the UK after Brexit. What this means for non-EU workers is still unclear. But if there is no-deal, many manufacturing and production jobs will leave the UK and move to Europe, as companies scramble to save money and stay competitive. For those wanting to work in the EU and move from a non-Eu country into the EU, it will be vital to secure a work visa as quickly and seamlessly as possible. It may be that the EU relaxes its laws or streamlines its visa application process. Alternatively, the engineering and manufacturing jobs remaining in the UK will be drastically understaffed.

Summary


If you’re a non-EU technician or engineer looking for a job in the EU, finding a job may well be easier after Brexit due to an increased demand for skilled workers. VHR Technical Recruitment works all over the world, helping people like you to find jobs they love. Whether you’re looking for contract work or permanent positions, we can help you.

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