Updated : 10/2013
As an EU national you have the right to go and look for work in another EU country.
If you stay looking for work in another EU country for less than 6 months, you will need a valid identity card or passport.
As a jobseeker, you don't need to register as a resident for the first 6 months. But some EU countries do require you to report your presence to the relevant authorities (often the town hall or local police station) within a reasonable period of time after arrival.
In many EU countries, you need to carry an identity document (national identity card or passport) at all times.
You can be fined or temporarily detained if you leave these documents at home - but you cannot be expelled just for this.
If you are receiving unemployment benefits from your home country, you will have to register with the employment service in your new country. You and your family will still be covered by the social security system in your home country - e.g. for healthcare costs.
Even if you don't receive unemployment benefit from your home country, you may still be covered by its social security system: check with your local authorities before leaving. As long as your home health insurance covers you during your stay abroad, administrative procedures can be simpler if you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Marta is Portuguese and moved to Spain four months ago to try to find a job there. At present, she is living at a friend's house. The Spanish police asked her to register her residence at the town hall, and to prove she had sufficient means to support herself while in Spain.
In fact, as a jobseeker, Marta is entitled to stay in Spain for at least 6 months without having to register her residence there. She only has to prove that she is a jobseeker who is actively looking for a job. The Spanish authorities cannot require her to demonstrate she can support herself financially.
If you have not found a job during the first 6 months of your stay, the national authorities can assess your right to stay.
For this, they will want evidence that you:
Always keep copies of your job applications, responses from potential employers, invitations for interviews and so on.
You are not required to register with the employment services in your new country (unless you are exporting unemployment benefit from your home country) but if you do, it will help you to prove that you are actively looking for a job.
In exceptional cases, your new country can decide to expel you on grounds of public policy, public security, or public health - but only if it can prove you pose a serious threat.
Expulsion decisions must be given to you in writing. They must state the reasons and specify how you can appeal and by when.
As a jobseeker, you are entitled to be treated in the same way as nationals of your new country with regard to:
Your new country might wait until you have established a genuine link with the local job market before granting certain types of financial support to help you find work - such as low-interest loans for unemployed people to do training courses. Being in the country and looking for work for a reasonable amount of time may count as a genuine link.
However, during your stay as jobseeker, you don't have a right to non-contributory welfare benefits.
If you have been working in another EU country and you lose your job or work dries up (if you're self-employed), under certain conditions you can keep your right to live there.
How long you can stay will depend on how long you've been working in your new country and the type of contract you had before you lost your job.
If you are temporarily unable to work as the result of an illness or accident, you can stay for as long as this condition continues.
If you had a permanent contract or a fixed-term contract for less than 1 year and you lost your job before the end of the one-year period, you have the right to live there for at least another 6 months, provided you are looking for work. The 6-month period will start from the moment your work contract ended.
You must register with the employment services as involuntarily unemployed and look for work.
Sabrina is a German national who went to Greece to work in a small hotel. She had a 9-month contract but her employer decided to stop her contract after the first 4 months. After she registered as involuntarily unemployed with the Greek unemployment services, she was allowed to stay for another 6 months while she was looking for a new job.
If you lose your job after working in your new country for more than 1 year, you have the right to continue to live there, provided you are registered as a jobseeker and continue to meet the conditions to count as a jobseeker.
To keep the right to stay in your host country when you lose your job or are not professionally active (self-employed), you must register as looking for work with the employment office in your new country.
You can stay as long as you are registered as a jobseeker with the employment service and continue to meet the conditions to count as a jobseeker.
If you are involuntarily unemployed and begin vocational training, you have the right to stay in your new country for the whole duration of your training.
If you are voluntarily unemployed, you have the right to stay in your new country for the whole duration of your training, only if that training is related to your previous employment.
If it is not, you can stay in your new country under the same conditions as students.
See rights and conditions for students.
To keep the right to stay in your new country for the whole duration of your vocational training, you must first register as a jobseeker with the employment office in your new country. This also applies if you are voluntarily unemployed.
During the time you're allowed to stay in your host country after being employed there and then becoming involuntarily unemployed (see above), you should continue to enjoy the same rights as nationals of that country (welfare benefits, access to employment, pay, benefits to facilitate access to work,etc.)
Your new country of residence can, in exceptional cases, decide to expel you on grounds of public policy, public security, or public health - but only if it can prove you pose a serious threat.
It can also ask you to leave if you cannot prove that you have a realistic chance of finding work there.
Expulsion decisions or requests to leave must be given to you in writing. They must state the reasons and specify how you can appeal and by when.