EU Schengen Visa is NOT a work permit

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the Schengen visa really is.

The Schengen Visa was created by members of the European Union to enable visitors to travel freely between the member states. It has made traveling between its 25 member countries (22 European Union states and 3 non-EU members) a lot easier and contains a lot less red tape. Gone are the days that you had to get a visa for all EU countries you wanted to visit.

When you travel on a Schengen Visa you can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.

However, the Schengen visa is NOT a work permit. You can travel on a Schengen visa to go on holiday or on a business trip. It does not allow you to work in the Schengen countries. In order to work in the EU you need a work permit issued by the individual member state.

You can only get a work permit if you qualify based on the criteria defined by the individual member state. The company who wants to employ you needs to apply for the work permit and indicate why they can not find anyone in Europe to fill that position. Only then will a work permit be issued. The chances a company will obtain a work permit are very small as unemployment levels in Europe are very high and countries are trying to ‘protect’ their work force. (Read: protect the votes they would get in an election.)

Once you are lucky enough to obtain a work permit, you are stuck with the company that hired you. If you want to leave the company in order to join another company for a job anywhere in the EU, the whole process starts all over again. Your new employer will need to prove to their government why you deserve a work permit. If they fail to obtain it, you’re on the next plane home.

Some Schengen countries such as Norway, which is not a member of the EU, issue Skilled Jobseeker Residence Permits which allow you to live in Norway for 6 months and search for jobs & interview with employers. As with all work permits, this is limited to a certain period of time and once the period is up you are expected to leave the country again. Note that this is not a Schengen visa.

If you want to qualify you will need a Vocational training/Craft course/University Degree or a higher Special qualification from a Recognised University that meets Norwegian standards and is relevant to the job you are nominated for.

You must also have sufficient funds and medical insurance worth at least €30,000 to live in Norway for the duration of your intended stay. The funds required currently correspond to 107,450 Norwegian Crowns for a period of six months, which is approximately 17,000 US Dollars or 950,000 Indian Rupees.



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