Professional Jobs in Europe
There are times when the lure of a particular country is just too strong to ignore and you know that you want to permanently reside and develop your career there. Or it may be that you are in a profession whose demand is particularly hot in Europe right now. Either way, the kind of jobs you are looking for are quite different than a person enjoying a gap year in Europe before starting college.
There are any number of careers that are possible in Europe; really anything you can imagine here at home you can also do there. While there is a huge demand for skilled technical people, particularly in IT, any skilled tradesperson or someone with a university degree has a good chance of going over to Europe as a skilled worker on a longer term basis.
For long term immigration or job prospects, you are going to want to go over on your new country’s version of a highly skilled visa.
Most of the countries have a visa category similar to this, designed to keep a certain number of visas open for skilled workers in fields where there is an obvious shortage of local workers.
Getting a skilled worker visa can be quite difficult and may require sponsorship from a company in the country. Another option is to first go to Europe on a tourist visa to look for work. Once you have made some contacts there, you will have a much better chance of finding a company to hire you and sponsor your visa application. Even better is if you can get your current company to transfer you to a branch office somewhere in Europe. In that case you don’t even have to worry about visa requirements at all!
If you are looking for a job in this category, odds are you have some sort of formal training in your profession; this may be a trade certificate, university degree, or certification from some other formal program. You may or may not also be part of an official umbrella organization in the US or Canada, such as the National Society of Engineers, that acts as a body to confirm appropriate standards for its members. You will want to contact the equivalent body in the European country you are interested in to check that your professional standing and accreditation here in North America will be accepted in Europe. You may have to go through some legal hoops or even write some tests, but this is a crucial first step in being confirmed as a skilled worker. You can check with your local professional society for contact information for equivalent bodies in Europe.
Professional jobs are the type that you will find through the most traditional means; local (to there) newspapers, country specific internet job sites, and career pages on specific company websites.
Recruiters are another particularly good way to go for job searching in the professional arena. If there is any kind of shortage of your type of skill in the workforce in the European country you are interested in, recruiters will know about it. You will have a much better chance of landing a job using their many contacts because they will do a lot of the leg work for you. A couple of the larger recruiting firms that operate in Europe are Volt and StepStone.
If you are already experienced in the type of work you are looking for, there are not going to be a whole lot of surprises in the work when you get to Europe.
While you still need to watch for cultural differences, and while there may be some procedural differences that trip you up, you will hopefully be able to transition smoothly into your new position.
Going the professional route for a work visa is one of the best paths to permanent immigration, but it can be expensive and time consuming. Skilled worker visas tend to be the most expensive because you are expected to be able to afford it. Also, there are only so many of these visas offered by any country in any given year and it becomes much easier to get one if you have a job lined up. Of course, it can be difficult to get a job offer if you don’t already have a visa, and so on. Just remember that patience and perseverance will see you though.