How to get a visa/work permit in Europe

We constantly get asked the same question: “How do you get a visa/work permit for Europe?”

Let’s clear one misconception first. A visa is not a work permit. If you are from outside the EU you might need a visa in order to enter a European country to visit it for a business meeting, holiday, family visit, etc. This does not mean you can work and live in the country you want to go to.

If you are from outside the EU and want to work in a EU country, you Continue reading

Hypocritical Dutch extradite Abdul Ghafoor Ahmadzai

In case you don’t know who Abdul Ghafoor Ahmadzai is, he is an Afghan translator who worked for the Dutch and US army in Afghanistan. He risked his life working for them and had to flee Afghanistan when his brother was killed by the Taleban thinking it was him. He had to leave his 4 day (!) old son behind.

He then fled through Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Greece Continue reading

Jobs with UK work permit attached

Want to work in the UK?

No problem if you’re a EU citizen, but what to do if you’re not?

The UK government has published a list of jobs they deem ‘critical’ to the UK economy and are willing to give those specialists a work permit (or at least will consider it when the employer applies for it)

One drawback though, you have to stick with that job until the cows come home. You’re not allowed to move jobs, as the whole circus of applying for a permit will start all over again. (And the chance of not getting one….)

So, the best thing to do is to Continue reading

Buy EU passport in Bulgaria

Always wanted to live and work without restrictions in the European Union?

Now you can! Bulgaria has a foreign investors plan that will give investors who bring €511.292 (BGN 1,000,000) into the country a Bulgarian passport (but no job). As Bulgaria has signed up to the EU and the Schengen agreement you will eventually be able to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

This has been in place since 2009 and only recently attracted the attention of the UK based Telegraph newspaper, who blew it up into a big media frenzy. There is currently a bit of Bulgaria/Romania scaremongering going on in the UK media and this fits the bill for journalists who want to create sensationalist, finger pointing articles.

Had the Telegraph done their homework Continue reading

Slovakia tightens up work permit legislation

Slovakia’s overhaul of foreign work and residence permits imposes stricter rules and new processing time frames.

What does the change mean? Employers will face several stricter requirements, including an in-person meeting with the Slovak Labor Office for local labor contracts, longer notification of vacant jobs, and apostilled educational documents.

Employment law rights for apprentices in the EU

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular according to new government figures released last week, which showed an increase of 50,000 apprentice jobs compared to the previous academic year. With apprenticeships growing in popularity, it is more important than ever for apprentices to know their employment rights.

Apprenticeships are work-place training posts, which allow you Continue reading

Working abroad: Know your employment law rights

The news that unemployment in the UK remains at a high level and looks set to stay high for the foreseeable future has sent a shiver down the spines of many currently looking for work. The situation is even more acute in the 16-24-year old age group, where one in five is currently out of work.

Amidst the bleak economic outlook UK citizens are increasingly looking abroad for opportunities to work and gain experience. The UK’s legal status with the EU means that UK citizens are free to move to any EU member state to work and live, something that more and more seem to be attracted towards.

Understanding EU employment law

European member states enjoy considerable diversity when it comes to employment law, with each country entitled to implement its own spin on workers rights.

That said, there are some employment laws and rights that have been created by the EU and therefore apply across all member states. Important examples of employment law areas where EU law applies to all member states include:

  • Rights not to be discriminated against at work on the grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disability status or sexual orientation
  • Rights for women and men to be treated equally when accessing employment and training and in working conditions and pay
  • Rights to a maximum number of hours in a working week
  • Rights to an employment contract within two months of starting work
  • Rights to maintain your employment terms and conditions if your employer is taken over by another business
  • Rights to maternity and paternity leave
  • Rights to have your personal and private data protected

However it is worth noting that each EU member state has autonomy over the way EU law is implemented within their territory and therefore you will find variations in the way these rights are enforced from state to state.

A good example of this is the implementation of equality law in Germany, where freelancers and consultants are not entitled to benefit from anti-discrimination law, and where discrimination on the basis of age is lawful in some circumstances. As a result of these national variations, it is important for anyone considering working abroad to take legal advice on the employment law in whichever state they intend to work in.

National variations

Outside of the standard EU laws each member state is free to determine the level of employment law protection afforded to its workforce. The national variations can be quite subtle but no less important. For example in Spain, employment roles are categorised, with each category subjected to a different set of laws known as the ‘convenio colectivo’. Pay is divided into 14 payments, one per month plus two extra, one in July and one in December. Employees are entitled in Spain to time off for marriage, the birth of a child or the death of a family member.

Rights to a national minimum wage are not set EU-wide, and you will therefore find considerable variation between member states. For example Germany, Italy and Sweden have no national minimum wage law. Many EU countries do offer a minimum wage, but there is also variation with the amount, with Spain offering just €4.26 whilst Luxembourg offers employees €10.41.

This Eurojobs article was provided by 

Jobs in the Netherlands

Any citizens from the EU/EEA countries can live and work in the Netherlands, or Holland as many people call it. People from outside this area will need a work permit, which the employer will have to apply for. Employers will have to prove that no one in the EU could fill the vacancy before a work permit can be issued.

There are many ways to search for vacancies in the Netherlands, the Internet is one of the most widely used ways, but a lot of people initially use ‘Uitzendbureau’s” (or temp agencies) when they arrive in the country.

Thanks to the nature of temporary work, uitzendbureaus often have jobs that do not appear on the internet, and often offer jobs that are suitable for people who have just arrived in the country. Don’t expect to be appointed managing director of a large company through them, but they will be able to get your local career going. Many Dutch companies use temporary staff to have a form of extended trial period. Dutch law stipulates that the trial period can only be a short period of time. Hence temp staff.

How do you go about applying for a job in the Netherlands?

You have to be brief and to the point on your CV (resume) and in your application letter. It is important that you indicate why you are applying. Do not waste a company’s time by applying for a job where you don’t meet their requirements. You might think you are suitable, but if you don’t tick the boxes, you won’t even get a chance to talk to the employer. You simply get ignored. In this current economic climate, there are many applicants to choose from, so make sure you show why you are the best candidate. Equally important, you should make sure that your certificates and titles are valid in the Netherlands. If necessary have your diploma’s translated by a verified translator.

So, who can apply for a job in the Netherlands?

EU/EEA Nationalities

In principle, the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) allow residents of these areas to live and work in any member state. Current members are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. However, Bulgarian and Romanian citizens still require a work permit « Tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) »  in the Netherlands.

Social Security Number (BSN)

In order to be able to work in the Netherlands, you have to have a social security number (in Dutch, a BSN or Sofi number). This number means that you have registered with the tax authorities and the social security system. If you plan to stay longer than three months, you must register in the municipality where you live, which will issue you a social security number. If you plan to stay for a shorter period, however, or if you continue to live in another country while you are working in the Netherlands, you must apply to the tax authorities for a Sofi (social and fiscal) number.

If you are employed, your employer will withhold social contributions and wage tax from your salary, which will then be transferred to the government agencies concerned. For more information and the addresses of tax authority offices, see or ring 0800 – 0543 (inside the Netherlands) or +31 555 38 53 85 (outside the Netherlands).

Residence Permit

Residents of the EU/EEA member states do not require resident permits. After you have been here for three months, you should register with the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). For more information, see the IND website at IND

European Work Permit Overview

The harsh truth about European work permits

Despite it’s history of absorbing immigrants, Europe is not very welcoming to new visitors anymore. There are many reasons for this and they tend to be the same everywhere in the world: nationalistic politics, high unemployment levels, market protection, welfare states and high knowledge levels.

The economic crisis has hit Europe hard. Some countries in Europe have suffered more than others. Iceland, Spain and Greece have been hit hard, but the Netherlands seem to coast along nicely. Germany, France and the UK were coming out of the recession, but seem to be heading for another contraction again. The dreaded double dip recession! But Turkey continues to grow. It’s a real economic patchwork and this makes finding the right job not very straightforward.

Europe, as you may know, is not one country, but a constantly changing jumble of about 50 (semi) independent states. Some have grouped together in what is called the European Union, others have formed much looser alliances such as the European Economic Area and others remain fiercely independent. This all ensures that there is no standard, easy to follow solution to finding work in Europe.

However there are some basic guidelines.

– If you’re not born there or carry a local passport, you will need a work permit

– The European Union has, sort of, harmonised the permit requirements for member states. They are fairly identical in member states.

– If you are a EU passport holder you can work anywhere in the EU without the need for a work permit, but if you’re not and have a work permit for one member state, you might not necessarily be able to work in another member state.

– If you work and live in a European country illegally, you run the risk of being deported. You will not be able to benefit from the social security systems of the various countries. It is a myth that once you’re in Europe you will be paid loads of money if you are unemployed. Countries do pay the qualifying unemployed some money, but with the cost of living so high, this amounts to next to nothing and you’d be struggling to stay alive.

– So, best to stay on the legal side and earn your keep. Or if you can’t get into Europe legally, try finding a job with a European/International company in your country and become a specialist who can be sent out to Europe on behalf of the country.

Bulgarians heading for work in Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland has removed all restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in order to work in the country, five years after Bulgaria and Romania became part of the European Union.

The development follows evidence of a big drop in the number of people from both countries travelling to Ireland to seek work. This comes months after the European Commission had asked the Irish Government to examine if the restrictions were necessary.

“It has become clear that the basis for the continuation of restrictions on access to the labour market for remaining categories of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals is questionable,” a statement last night from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said .

“As such, the Government has decided immediately to bring forward the transition date for access to the labour market for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.”

Ireland becomes the 20th country from the EU and EEA to allow all access for Bulgarians to its job market, alongside Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Since the beginning of 2012, Germany has opened doors to Bulgarian seasonal workers and people having a higher education degree.