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FAQ - Work-related rights

  • What exactly does "equal treatment" mean?

    If you are working in another country, you and your family must be treated exactly the same as your colleagues who are nationals of that country. This applies especially to:

    • your right to look for work and receive help from national employment offices
    • working conditions (salary, dismissal, etc.)
    • benefits and tax advantages
    • training opportunities
    • joining trade unions and exercising the related rights.

    Equal treatment prohibits not only open discrimination, but also any rules that indirectly place you at a disadvantage, such as measures limiting your free movement.

    For example, a rule that required you to live in the country for a long time before you could access a particular public service would be illegal.

  • If my family joins me in my new country, will they be entitled to work there too?  

    YES — whatever their nationality (even non-EU), your family members:

    • can work on an employed or self-employed basis without needing a work permit.
    • are entitled to the same treatment as nationals of the country.
  • When I complain about working conditions that appear illegal under Austrian law, my Austrian employers say Romanian workers are subject to different rules. Are they right?

    NO — not at all. You are subject to temporary restrictions on access to the Austrian job market, but this does not affect any of your rights as an EU citizen, including the right to be treated exactly the same as local workers.

    If your employers persist with this attitude, you should report them to the Austrian labour authorities.

  • What can I do if I feel my employer or the authorities are discriminating against me?

    If you think that a rule or decision affecting you is against EU rules allowing you to work abroad, you must first take your case to the authorities in the country where you work.

    Depending on the exact problem, you might also be able to get help from the EU assistance services.

  • If my brother is eventually allowed to stay with me in Slovakia, will he also be able to work there, even though he's not an EU citizen?

    YES — if he's recognised as having the right to stay with you in Slovakia, he'll enjoy the same rights as you.

  • As an EU citizen, am I entitled to the same income support in my new country of residence as nationals?

    YES — under certain circumstances.

    If you're living there legally, you're entitled to the same basic welfare assistance — called also social assistance in EU law texts — as nationals of that country. Depending on the country, this may include income support or other benefits that are independent from previous contributions you may have made to the welfare system of that country.

    However, your new country may decide to withhold your entitlement to income support — or other benefits — for the first 3 months of your residence (for example if you came as a seasonal worker, worked 1 month and then applied for income support), and for even longer if you arrive in the country as a job-seeker.

  • I'm hesitating between starting a whole new business in the UK and just offering cross-border services from Ireland. Where can I find out about the formalities?

    Each EU country is obliged to set up a point of single contact to act as a one-stop shop for service providers.

    The UK point of single contact will give you all the information you need either to start a new business or to provide cross-border services. It will also enable you to complete — electronically — all the administrative procedures in one go. You won't have to contact all the relevant authorities individually.

    If you want to provide cross-border services, you will normally have to deal with less formalities than if you want to set up a business. For example, you should not be required to obtain prior authorisations or to register yourself with UK authorities — this may be required for example in case of environmental concerns, health and safety requirements on the business premises or other procedures linked with the place where the service is provided.

    If your profession is regulated in the UK, you may need to get your qualifications recognised by UK authorities. This can also be done via the UK point of single contact.

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