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Educated, mature English speaking woman wants to work and live in Europe

Educated, mature English speaking woman wants to work and live in Europe

Old Feb 16th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Educated, mature English speaking woman wants to work and live in Europe

I could use some advice from my family of world travelers. I am a mid forties, finance and accounting professional with big, big company experience and I've decided that I want to live and work in Europe for at least a few years. My target destinations are Belgium, France and Switzerland. I do not have EU citizenship, just U.S.A. and Australia. So I'll need a sponsor employer or advice on a work permit. I'm going to Paris next month to hopefully get some interviews. Please help! Anyone out there with a brillant idea on how to do this?
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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This is going to be very difficult to do at this time. Most employers (I live in the UK but I believe can speak for most of Europe) are not sponsoring expats these days due to stricter rules and the recession. The finance/accounting industry is fairly good here in London, but the expats I know that have taken jobs here have all had either Tier 1 visas or EU passports.

Your best bet is to do a transfer with your own company - I cant tell from your post if you work for one of the Big 4, but they all have internal transfers (I did one with KPMG a few years ago) but even that has dried up since 2008 and is more difficult.

You may need to look at getting a work visa, based on your qualifications you may qualify?
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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Unless you can find an Irish granny or you marry someone from an EU country your options are pretty limited to - well - nil.

Even the UK is restricting immigration unless you are either paid a lot of money or are top in your field.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 08:46 AM
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Just another thought - how do you plan to 'get some interviews'? In the Finance industry over here you use recruiters to interact with potential employers, and most wont really talk to you until you are qualified to work in the country they work in. They certainly wont set up interviews for you because part of their role is to vet stuff like this. You dont really contact companies here unsolicited...
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Do you speak French? That would be helpful in the 3 countries that you've mentioned. If not, now might be a good time to take lessons.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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You got some good advice already.
If you don't work for a big company that also does business in your target destinations, you could also check if any of the big potential new employers have subsidiaries in your country. The HR department of the local outlet may have more knowledge if what you plan is realistic or not.

The amount of red tape varies from country to country.
Last year, we hired an US college student who wanted to work for our company based in Germany. Since the internship was paid, he could not benefit from any legal loopholes for exchange students but had to get a regular working visa and residence permit.
The whole procedure was not exactly complicated and took less than 2 weeks to complete through the German consulate in the US (which is, by the way, staffed with the most brain-dead and slow civil servants they could possibly find in Germany), with one rather simple form for me to fill out.

But: This can differ substantially from country to country.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Well guys, how hard is it to get approved for a working visa without sponsorship (ie. just based on education and experience)? I have also been trying some of the UN organizations as well as those in Brussels for the EU etc. I'll keep plugging away with this. I'll even take contract work for a year or so just to polish up my French language skills and get my feet wet. I appreciate the responses. Come on experts add to the party! Others will undoubtably benefit as well as mine own self. K
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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I very much doubt EU organizations will employ non EU citizens.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 12:57 PM
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hi Kate,

one of your problems is that you have chosen a time when there is a lot of home-grown unemployment. there are quotas for employing skilled overseas workers, or if you have a very special skill [like being a top footballer or actor] you may get in. or lots of money - that usually works.

good luck!
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Do you have a UK-born grandparent, or born in what is now the Republic of Ireland prior to 31 March 1922? Then as an Australian and Commonwealth citizen, you can get a 5-year ancestry visa for UK that allows (indeed requires) you to work. While you can only live and work in UK, after 5 years you can apply for naturalisation as British citizen and then the whole of Europe (more or less) opens up for you.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Since you are a citizen of the USA, you might look into US Government/Department of Defense jobs.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 09:30 PM
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Your strategy is flawed.

There are, broadly, four sets of jobs you might qualify for:

1. A job with your current employer. For which you need to apply from where you are

2. A job with one of your own governments. Yes, they do a bit of hiring locally - but only from among people legally resident there already, which you can't be, and for pretty lowlevel jobs. If you want the kind of job that involves real professional skills, you MIGHT not be too old (lots of governments want to refresh their gene pool) - but you need to be in Canberra or Washington, not Europe, to apply. Start on the career section of the various departments' (not necessarily just DFAT, but sometimes departments dealing with defence, finance and overseas aid) websites.

3. A job with a supra-national organisation, such as the UN, WEF or the Commonwealth (obviously NOT the EU, for which you're spectacularly unqualified. Do either of YOUR governments hire Europeans who don't speak English for serious jobs?) Again, "local" hires are usually restricted to menial jobs, recruited from those with legal residence in the country concerned. Although a bit of browsing at http://careers.un.org might help, the best source for real jobs is the front pages of the last two months''The Economist' - and all future editions till you've found something, or a few reliable frequent hirers. Yet again, this is best done from where you now live.

4. Other, similar hirers. The Economist is strong on academic jobs: it's weak on non-political supranational organisations, such as the sports orgs (FIFA, the IOC, the ITF etc). You need to network, via the web, from home.

Almost without exception, you can't just get a working visa: it's virtually always attached to a job: lose the job, you go home. You can't "get a contract" for a year: the rules on ill-paid jobs are, obviously, far more restrictive (Europe, unlike Australia, can't just send its navies to stop the hundreds of thousands of poor refugees who come here every year, desperate.) than for hiring the world's leading expert on structured finance. And while the capitals of Europe are full of trailing spouses who've acquired proper jobs locally - they've got them by patient local networking, on the back of legal residence in the country . Which, again, you can't get. Contract work IS easy for Australians - but only if they're 30 or under (that's how the rules of 'working holiday visas' are structured), OR have both the local language AND an EU passport.

All your weeks of getting interviews in Paris are going to do for you is to learn what I've said the hard way. Ultimately: if neither your current employer nor your government is prepared to offer you a job, and you can't find one in academe or a supra-national organisation, you've had it. And you can only find those jobs from home.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 09:56 PM
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Hi aussiekate1,

You may want to do this backwards --

If you have a small nestegg, you could invest it in this project and go to school in Belgium (or Paris) for a year. Enroll in a French-language course in a university; student visas are relatively simple to get.

Once you've been there for six months or so and have improved your language skills, you can start looking around for a position. You already have the job skills, so all you need are the contacts. You'll find that you make local contacts more easily from a local university than from Australia or the US, of course!

I'd advise that you study in Belgium, since that's where you want to live eventually.

When I was younger, I spent a year studying in Paris, and there were lots of kids who were doing this. They would wrangle a job and a visa when school ended, and I assume they stayed for years.

Best of luck!

s
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 10:22 PM
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"Once you've been there for six months or so and have improved your language skills, you can start looking around for a position."

You can't.

Ot rather you can look, but you can't get a job. All that a student course does is let you live there.

It still doesn't solve the simple fact that a non-European cannot work in Europe .

Unless:

- they're internally transferred, OR
- they're working for their own government, or in a few cases for a government supplier on a government contract OR
- they're on a Working Holiday Visa (almost always restricted to the under-31s), OR
- they've been offered a real, specific, job in an occupation with a special exemption (essentially: academe, religious orders and supra-national organisations), OR
- they've got unique qualifications which can't be found in Europe AND the job offerer can demonstrate they've actively sought out those qualifications around Europe, OR
- they're investing substantial sums of their own, or investors', money, OR
- under some circumstances, they're workikng for themselves.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 01:02 AM
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I know this is for the UK - and if you read the announcement at the top you will see that its getting even tougher to get a work visa in the UK - but it will give you an idea of what is looked for and there is an online assessment to see if you would have the points required for I think the old Tier 1 system: http://www.ukvisaandimmigration.co.u...FUZP4Qodhm4WdA

Some info on Belgium: http://www.workpermit.com/belgium/em...rk_permits.htm
Looks like you need to have an employer already to get the permit there - which like we stated above is highly unlikely for a non-eu applicant.

Some info on France:
http://french.about.com/od/travelfra...rkinfrance.htm
After reading this you may understand what you are up against

Some info on Switzerland:
http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...zulassung.html
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 01:41 AM
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I don't want to further rain on your parade but there are a lot of highly qualified, professional people of your age in Europe without jobs. They are EU citizens, with language skills and they will always have priority over a non EU citizen when it comes to a job vacancy with an EU company. Plus ageism is rife, even though it is illegal, and that will further reduce your chances of a job.
To work for the EU organisation proper you must be fluent in two, preferably three EU languages. The more obscure the language the better generally. But you also have to be an EU citizen.

Even if you find you qualify for citizenship of an EU country through a grandparent you will not find it easy to find work, and will not qualify for health care or social security in Europe, so unless you have the means to support yourself, and sufficient health insurance, it is not a good idea to move to Europe on the off chance of finding something.

You could consider Norway though - they aren't EU it's true, and the climate may not appeal, but they do have a shortage of people and a surplus of jobs.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 03:02 AM
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How much do you make?

Denmark offers residence permits to pretty much anyone that has an offer in hand for more than DKK 375k (US$68k). Most professional jobs should easily qualify.

http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/comin...mit-scheme.htm

English language jobs are not uncommon, but you will have to do some legwork. Look at the big companies (Microsoft, Maersk, Vestas, Novo Nordisk, etc.) as they are often English-language workplaces. And, for the naysayers, I know for a fact that at least those I've specifically noted above are more than willing to hire non-EU citizens with the right skills.


I don't believe Switzerland is terribly difficult, if you have a high-paying offer in hand, either, but I'm not entirely versed in the specifics. IIRC, it does depend somewhat on the Canton, with some being much more lenient than others. Canton Zug is pretty easy, I believe, and has a lot of foreign companies. Canton Vaud is also, I believe, relatively easy. Others are a bit tougher - Canton Lucerne requires non-EMEA citizens to learn German to stay longer than a year, for example.

The UK used to be pretty easy, but my understanding is that, due to the change in rules, the Tier 1 visas will be very hard to get.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 03:05 AM
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aussiekate, you've got some really good advice from people who would know, especially about the visa requirements.

You might also like to consider why so many Australian expats and workers of all ages are returning home to Australia from Europe at the moment(born out by the figures).

Unemployment is severe in many parts of Europe, and as you should know, Australia is the exact opposite - desperate for skilled workers and with more jobs than workers in most areas.

I personally know 5 people , all in very different professions, ranging from architecture to librarianship, who have returned home in the last few months, and know through my extensive contacts in the not- for- profit and academic sectors that many more redundancies are in train.

Frankly you could not be choosing a worse time, to be seeking ANY employment in the countries you mentioned, particularly as you do not speak the language.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 03:22 AM
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Apart from her lack of language skills Aussiekate's age is against her, no matter which company she applies to.

Here in the Netherlands unemployment is back to 2009 levels and still falling - if you are under 35. 45 and overs are really struggling to find work. Over 50 and you can as good as forget it unless you are head hunted. The same is true in most if not all European countries.

I would be happy if she proved us all wrong and got a job - except for the fact that it could be a job an unemployed European desperately needs. Chauvinistic I know, but true.
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Old Feb 17th, 2011, 04:15 AM
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The problem is not getting the visa once you HAVE an offer. The problem is GETTING the offer to begin with. Recruiters and (legit) companies will not set up interviews with people that are not legal to work, especially given the field she works in.

Like we have stated above, local unemployment is high, and firms must (by law I believe) give preference to their local citizens, then EU citizens, and then non-eu citizens. They actually have to show that they have given due consideration to locals, EU citizens before they can even make an offer to someone from a non-EU company. So they would have to show that there was no appropriate candidates from their home country and the EU before they could offer to non-eu. In finance that is going to be quite difficult unless you have specialist knowledge in a particular sector that is short candidates.
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