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Q&A: What are the limitations of living in an EU country on a work permit?

job in norway for foreigners
by quapan

Question by OneDay: What are the limitations of living in an EU country on a work permit?
i’m mainly speaking of ireland, UK, Spain.

Can you live there as long as you want or until you quit your job?
Any other limitations..like on taxes and things like that?

Thanks for all your help!

Best answer:

Answer by Rowena D
Depends which work permit you get. In Ireland you can get this open work-visa type which gives you options to change jobs and it’s more flexible (they used to give it US citizens on some reciprocity scheme basis). Basically, if you get work permit from one employer, you get work permit for that job only. But in many countries in EU there is serious lack of qualified work force (not enough people) and you might land open type work-visa. But once when you got your first work permit, usually it’s not a problem to extend it or change it (if you didn’t commit crime or something similar). Work permit gives you all the rights that local employees have – minimum wage, holidays, etc. When you get work permit, you should get residence permit from local police office or immigration office, which will enable you to travel freely in all other EU countries. Try to get ID card as well (I’m not sure they are issuing it in Ireland, but they do in Spain and Scandinavia – it’s great for foreigners, it’s issued for five years and it’s valid in almost every EU country (I think Norway too) and it gives you much more flexibility, you don’t need to use your passport any more plus makes changing countries much easier. You will have to pay local taxes, but when you leave the country you will get procentage back (depending on the country). You are also entitled for tax return and social welfare if you loose your job.

Give your answer to this question below!

Question by kevin maxwell: What countries could I start a life in?
I’m 18, currently awaiting University acceptance or rejection, I need to decide on a plan B. I’m banking a lot of hope on being accepted. Granted I’d opp for school as I can’t imagine my life without learning but if worse comes to worse I’d very much like to start my life on an adventure of sorts. I’m talking 1 way ticket to a random country, work a few jobs see places for a couple years. I’m pretty much alright with every continent. I’m Thai, only know English, Educated at a Private School. The floor is open. Thank You.

Best answer:

Answer by conley39
Your plan B doesn’t really work. You can’t just buy a one way ticket to another country, show up and look for work. The problem with this plan is that it’s generally illegal for you to work in another country without first obtaining a visa that allows work. Those are difficult to come by. It isn’t easy to get a work visa in most countries right now. For example, European regulations require employers to advertise jobs and demonstrate that there are no viable European candidates for a job before they can offer a position to a non European. In the best of times non-Europeans have to have specialized skills, education and/or experience that cannot be easily duplicated by European job seekers.

Right now, the overall unemployment rate in Italy is around 12% and it’s around 37% for young people. In Spain and Greece, the unemployment rate is 27% overall and much higher for young people. In Portugal, the unemployment rate is 18% and France is seeing record high numbers of unemployed people. In the UK, the unemployment rate is 7.8%, but at least the number of jobless fell in June. Sweden is a little higher. The lowest unemployment rates are in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway. Right now, the chances are not good, but it might get easier as the economy improves.

My direct experience is with Italy where I lived for the past 13+ years (working for a Swedish company); other countries here in Europe will have similar rules. It’s not all that different anywhere else. The site for visas in Italy is: http://www.esteri.it/visti/index_eng.asp . The site has links to the application, the additional information you need to supply in order to get the visa and where to apply. It also includes education visas which are somewhat easier to get than work visas. You can find similar information for other countries on their consulate websites.Visa information on the website of the French Consulate in New York is here: http://www.consulfrance-newyork.org/-Vis… . You can find other consulate websites with a fairly simple search. Note that you’ll need to apply to the consulate that has jurisdiction over the state where you live, but you can find the necessary information on any of the consulate websites.

A work permit is separate – you cannot apply for that yourself in many countries. The company has to apply and they have to be able to demonstrate that there is not a viable EU candidate for the job. As a result, jobs for foreigners including Canadian or US citizens are pretty much restricted to people with special education, knowledge, or experience … and you would have to be able to speak the local language. However, the level of English is high in Scandinavia and most adults speak it very well. You would be able to manage well while learning the language. Right now, as noted above, the best bet would probably be something in the health care field which is a fit for you. When I moved here, it was through a transfer of the job I was already doing in the US to the Italian office. Even so, it took 8 months to put all the paperwork in place to apply for a visa. If you already have a job offer, the company will provide you the information you need for your visa application and take care of things like work permits.

It’s useful to check the expat sites for information about living and working in the places you might be interested in:




You can find other sites by searching for “expat” and the name of your target country. These sites will tell you how to register your address, provide information about health care, banks, and so forth to ease you into daily life.

You need to be aware that if you are a US expat, you would need to file tax returns in the US as well as in your host country and that can get to be expensive.

Add your own answer in the comments!