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American Moving to Europe (Dual Citizen)

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Feb 18th, 2013, 01:00 PM
  #1
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American Moving to Europe (Dual Citizen)

I am an American looking to explore living abroad. Due to my Irish grandparents, I was able to acquire dual citizenship with Ireland. Have the necessary paperwork, and my Irish passport. I am now considering a move to Europe, and was looking for some advice and insights. I have undergraduate and graduate business degrees, and assorted experience. Unfortunately, I only speak English, but am willing to learn the language of the country I relocate to, and would likely do so before moving. What I'm hoping to find out is...

- How difficult would it be to obtain a job, being an American?
- Which countries would you think would be the ideal starting point? We've considered the UK, Nordic countries, Germany and the pricier Austria and Switzerland. I have a friend in Barcelona, so Spain's on the possible list.
- Are there any countries right now that I should steer away from? Safety, political turmoil, unemployment, etc.

Any other input would be greatly appreciated. Oh, as far as my exposure to Europe, I have visited England, Ireland and Italy. I have travelled to other places abroad, so I am comfortable outside of the US, but I've never stayed anywhere longer than 2 months. Thank you for reading this, and I look forward to hearing from others' experiences...

SD
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Feb 18th, 2013, 01:07 PM
  #2
 
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You really need to learn another language, but your Irish passport definitely opens all of Europe to you. You would definitely have a certain advantage finding employment in certain countries where English is not as prevalent as in Scandinavia or the Netherlands. Every other country understands the importance of English and puts a premium on native speakers if they have the other skills needed for the job.

But as you know, English is not sufficient all by itself. If you have exceptional qualifications, some companies will pay for you to learn the local language, but you should not count on this.

My own suggestion would be to look for something in the "capital of Europe" -- Brussels -- where English is the lingua franca for just about all of the companies.
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Feb 18th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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Don't lead on your CV with American, state your nationality as Irish first and secondly American. This will show right up front that you are legal to work in the EU.

I also have found employers want to know that you are sticking around and have roots here, so they don't train you only to have you leave in 6 months because you don't like it and are homesick. So think about how you can convince them.

I would start my search in Ireland or the UK as you won't have as much of a language barrier, although Brussels is also a good idea.

As far as safety or political unrest, I can't think of any country in Western Europe where that is a huge consideration. Obviously all countries in Europe are having economic issues which can create some social unrest, same could be said of the USA right now. Do your research and see what you are comfortable with. And almost all have quite high unemployment so that will likely hinder your job search, so you will likely need to show you can overcome anything that puts you at a disadvantage (as I mentioned above, your ties here that will keep you long term).

Hope this helps!
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Feb 18th, 2013, 06:32 PM
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I think you need to identify what type of job you want and where those are available. There is no point is looking where there is a glut on the market.

And considering how long it takes to be fluent in a new langusge - I would focus on companies that operate primarily in English while you get up to speed in the local language. Many of the pharma companies opearte in english globally (at least in management jobs) so if you have any experience in that area - or can develop some while you start to learn a new language - that would be helpful.

Not sure what you mean by assorted experience - but remember that you are competing with locals who are already fluent in the language and will be given priority. So starting with international companies is definitely the way to go.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 12:26 AM
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You will be joining the thousands of Irish graduates looking for jobs, many of them emigrating to other European countries and to the US. Other than for an entry level job, employers will be looking for specific skills and experience that will benefit their company. What do you have to offer?
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Feb 19th, 2013, 12:42 AM
  #6
 
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I'd start in the UK, possible to a US company in your chosen field but I would also post CVs in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Netherlands. Many international businesses in those countries work in English and while most UK emigrates tend towards Oz and NZ a few (including people I know) are moving to the 4 mentioned.

I would avoid Ireland and any of the southern European countries.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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You might explore employment with a US firm with international offices. Apply for jobs in the US for posting in countries that are of interest to you.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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"I would avoid Ireland and any of the southern European countries." I agree, unemployment rates are higher in those regions. Unemployment in the UK is pretty much identical to the US at the moment, and lower in Germany, Switzerland and the Scandinaivian countries, countries more likely to be interested in English speakers.

As for opportunities, this is really going to depend on your experience. Employers in London, for instance, won't care that you are American, they'll be interested your experience. Also, what is your area of expertise? This is really going to influence where you end up. Much much easier to get a job in advertising/media in London than, say, Zurich, for example.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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I don't think being American is likely to be an issue - we are all pretty multicultural here and it's common to find several different nationalities in a company. I've worked with, I don't know, people from probably over 30 different countries, at least, in my life. Our small firm of 12 people has seven different nationalities in it.

Employers are interested in
a) can you work here legally
b) are you fluent enough in the local language (not all of our people are completely fluent in English, but good enough, depending on their role)
c) are you the best person for the job ref qualifications, experience, fitting the role and organisation, doing well at interview.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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I have friends in Germany and from what they say, the odds of an American getting a professional job in Germany would be very slim, even more slim if they don't speak German. it is very bureaucratic there and hard even for some Germans to just change jobs if they want. I knew an American who spoke some German and was married to a German citizen and he couldn't get a job there (an engineer).

Maybe there is some skill that is in demand that they wouldn't mind hiring a foreigner, but your CV sounds pretty vague, you don't mention any particular skill you have at all.
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Feb 19th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Switzerland has a number of large international corporation that operate primarily in English - so might be one place to look, (I have worked with 2 companies there and many employees are from engish-speaking nations around the globe - a few US and Canada, more UK, Ireland, Au, NZ, South Africa - and of course Switz Germ and the other english-speaking euro countries)

BUT, you need to take into account the very high cost of living when looking at the salaries offered.
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Feb 21st, 2013, 09:58 PM
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Unemployment here in Ireland is very, very high. BUT many in work are Eastern Europeans who will do the menial jobs others refuse. eg checkout and shelf stacking in LIDL .It depends what kind of work you are seeking and willing to do. Maybe the only way is to arrive and seek.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 12:02 AM
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With citizenship of an EU country, you may work (and live) anywhere in the EU.

It's a great deal more complicated in Switzerland, where although EU citizens have superior working rights to other foreigners, there are restrictions on their residence permits which may even force them to live in the French suburbs of Geneva or Basle and commute across the border. Obviously even this isn't an option for jobs in places that don't have an EU border a mile or so away.

In reality, anywhere other than the UK really isn't an option for someone who can't speak any other language (would you, with all your "business degrees, and assorted experience" hire someone who couldn't speak English?)

The sensible option right now, frankly, is to get hired in the US by a business like Citibank, BP or Omnicom and move around with them. But you DO have the right as a paper Irishperson to travel freely to most of Europe and investigate all this for yourself.

Incidentally, you are - at least technically - Irish. Having another citizenship might sometimes be an advantage in getting a job. But it certainly isn't always, and in many cases will worry employers who might conclude you'll move elsewhere.

As in everything to do with CVs, you need to tailor the information you provide to your best judgement of what will get you interviewed and subsequently employed. Your dual citizenship might interest you: I've never encountered an occasion where it was something that motivated an employer positively.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Picking a place to live in Europe will depend on one's finances. Do you need to obtain a job? Or by living in an inexpensive location do you have enough funds to carry on an acceptable standard of living?

How difficult was it to obtain an Irish passport?

Thank you
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Feb 28th, 2013, 05:37 AM
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Unless you learn the language pretty quick there are not many openings in non English speaking Europe. Even in Brussels - where I work - 2 or three languages are expected - even with American companies. They prefer people with language skills rather than without.

Austria has the lowest unemployment rate in the EU, however, without German its almost impossible to work there. The pay is generally low in Austria but the cost of living is not all that high.

There are zero jobs in Spain so you can cross that off the list and practically none in Ireland - although some US companies in Ireland are always looking out for talent - eg Google.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 05:47 AM
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I have no idea what sort of work you are looking for but consider Norway.

Most of Europe is in recession and unemployment is rising in many countries which would normally be a safe place to look for work as an American, such as Ireland or the Netherlands.

With your Irish passport you should be able to get work in Norway. There always seems to be lots of vacancies there. It costs a fortune to live there, but salaries match that I believe.
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Feb 28th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Norway is not part of the EU, so how are the rules concerning residency and work permits for EU citizens there?
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Feb 28th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), and as such, EU citizens are allowed to work there. That's not the real problem, though — like most countries, a foreign job applicant needs to have a skill that is in demand, and would be at a disadvantage if not able to speak the language. It would be possible to get an unskilled position, but I doubt wages would cover the high cost of living.

Here is an interesting webpage: http://mylittlenorway.com/2009/01/wo...ts-for-norway/
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Mar 2nd, 2013, 11:37 AM
  #19
 
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"I have friends in Germany and from what they say, the odds of an American getting a professional job in Germany would be very slim, even more slim if they don't speak German. it is very bureaucratic there and hard even for some Germans to just change jobs if they want. I knew an American who spoke some German and was married to a German citizen and he couldn't get a job there (an engineer)."

I know Americans in Germany with professional jobs, so I don't think that is necessarily true.

Not speaking German is a major problem since it restricts the choice of jobs to positions where the working language is English. Some German isn't good enough but one needs to speak it fluently.

As for changing jobs in Germany, I'm not aware that there's any hurdle other than finding someone willing to employ you if you're an EU citizen.

SD, what kind of job are you looking for?
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Mar 2nd, 2013, 12:00 PM
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roughly 30 years ago DH had a contract job in IT in Paris with only tourist french, though it was with a US company.

I wouldn't rule anywhere in the EU out.
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