I have been researching moving to Europe. I currently live in the United States. My first big decision is trying to settle on a place to move to. My two biggest concerns would be cost of living and ease of assimilation into the culture (primarily with the language barrier). What I would be looking to do is move there and work. Initially I was hoping to do so for 6 months or so and see where it goes from there.
If anyone has suggestions on recommended places to look at moving to that would be greatly appreciated.
Also, in terms of getting the necessary visas, etc. to accomplish what I'm trying to do can you suggest what my best options might be?
Thanks in advance for your time and input.
Your first concern should not be to which city/country to move to, but to investigate whether you job qualifications are needed or wanted in the EU. Getting a residency permit is not easy and it is even more difficult to get a work permit. Please give a bit more info on your professional background or it is impossible to point you in the right direction.
As a general rule the easiest way to immigrate to Europe is to graduate from a European university. If you already hold a degree, consider doing masters.
US citizens can also look at jobs offered on US military posts, these are work-permit free.
t_maia, thanks for your response.
Here are the major points of my professional background:
- College graduate (from US university) with a bachelors in Computer Science w/minors in Econ and Math
- 2 years work experience doing IT systems support
- 6 months programming experience developing business intelligence reports
- 1.5 years experience with running my own business
Also, I understand that a European employer will need to be able to illustrate that I have skills that other current European citizens do not possess. It's a bit of a broad question but are there certain industries in Europe that are in demand? Possibly having an idea of this could help me to market my skills to potential employers or target an area to try and find employment.
In another note, I have been looking at opportunities to do summer work in Europe. The lengths of the programs vary a bit but tend to be around 3-6 months in duration. I was curious if anyone had any experience with such programs and if you had any thoughts or suggestions about going this route?
Ok, Bachelor in Computer Science and work in IT is fine. No problem here. IT is very much in demand, if you can find an employer you'll likely get a residency and work permit.
Unfortunately I can't give you any tips on how to find a job in your field. You might want to pick a country and ask country-specific questions.
You could also move your business over (if this is possible), then you wouldn't need a work permit at all, just a residency permit which would be relatively easy.
What I do hope however is that you got some savings to tide you over the first few months - it would help immensely with the residency permit.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 5, 2007, at 1:27 AM by t_maia ]
So since the background I have seems to be in demand in Europe and if I can find an employer I should be able to work something out my next question would be do you have any recommendations for narrowing down where to go? My biggest concern I guess would be ease of assimilation into the culture, primarily with the language barrier and acceptance of, I guess you would say, ignorance for not knowing another language very well. I do have the most experience with Spanish and a little Italian and French mixed in there. I'm thinking a place that English is widely accepted would be a nice place to get started in Europe, but I am open to any and all thoughts/suggestions.
As always thanks for your time.
The only places that I know something about are Germany, the UK and Ireland.
As in terms of paperwork, Germany would be the least hassle.
First bc the German government has a special visa program for IT specialists seeking work in Germany (so called Green Card for "Computer-Indians") and second bc US-citizens can come over visa-free and worry about the paperwork later.
Your possible course of action would be to buy a one-way ticket to Europe, get to Germany and start looking for a job there. This is much easier than looking online from the US and you would actually be able to go to job interviews. You would only need enough savings to support yourself for a few months (1000 USD per month minimum at the current exchange rate). You must also apply for a residency permit ASAP after your arrival.
http://www.toytowngermany.com/ is the place to go if you need help from people who have done so. Alternatively you could email me.
I don't know much about visa to the UK or Ireland. Best contact the British or Irish embassy, maybe they also have visa programs for IT experts. Anyway, apparently they are more relaxed about visa issues. The Brits allow US citizens visa-free stays for up to six months for tourist purposes. You could come over similarily to Germany, look for a job and then when you have found one go back to the US and work on getting the work and residency permit from the British embassy with the job offer in your pocket. Just note that life in the UK is more expensive than in the rest of Europe, you might have a harder time making ends meet on your savings (especially in London).
The advantage however of the UK and Irelan is obvious: No language barrier.
I also heard some good things about the Netherlands for people seeking residency permit in Europe. Maybe a Dutch resident could answer?
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 8, 2007, at 1:13 PM by t_maia ]