Dear Lifehacker, I just got back from spending four weeks in Europe, my first time overseas. It was an amazing experience and I don’t quite understand why anyone would move from Europe to Australia. What is the best way for an Australian to go about looking for employment in Europe and the UK? Thanks, Fresh Europhile
Plane picture from Shutterstock
It’s wonderful that you enjoyed your trip, but I’d feel slack if I didn’t start off by pointing out that the experience of a country when you’re visiting on holidays is not the same as living and working there full-time. As our own Elly Hart can tell you, there are aspects of life in Australia that you may not appreciate until you’re living somewhere else. That’s not to say that spending time working overseas isn’t a great idea; it’s just worth remembering that it won’t always be as rosy as your current happy memories.
Despite the existence of the European Union, individual countries within Europe generally have their own specific rules regarding whether foreigners can work overseas. Assuming you don’t already have a passport for an EU member country, you’re going to need a working visa, which isn’t always easy to obtain. The rules vary depending which country you’re aiming for, so you probably need to pick a target country before proceeding.
The UK is a likely choice, if only because you won’t have language issues. The conditions under which you can score a working visa for the UK are quite strict. You can see detailed information on the UK Home Office site, but it boils down to three main possibilities:
- If you have at least one grandparent who was born in the UK, you can apply for work there.
- Find an employer who is willing to sponsor you for a role that can’t be filled by a local. Obviously that depends on your qualifications and experience, as well as the willingness of an employer to sponsor you.
- If you’re under 31, you can apply under the Youth Mobility Scheme for a temporary visa. You need to have at least £1800 saved up before doing this, and your stay is limited to 24 months.
If you’re young enough, the Youth Mobility Scheme is definitely your best bet, though it won’t let you stay permanently. Otherwise, sponsorship is your only choice, and you’ll have to hunt through UK job listings. Note that many positions specify quite explicitly that sponsorship isn’t an option.
Good luck! If readers who have worked in other European countries have additional tips, we’d love to see them in the comments.
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