European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Want to go to the EU for a job?

Breaking down barriers and moving to the European Union to expand your horizons

Have you ever thought of moving to the EU to work but you do not know where to start? Perhaps your ability to find a job in the EU is limited by language barriers, or the need to obtain a work visa?


Or maybe the cost of travelling to the EU, or the level of salary the company can afford to pay you is an issue? It may be your first time as an international job seeker, or you find it difficult to get a job because you have no previous experience. (How do you start to get experience if employers refuse to consider candidates without any?!) Nevertheless, all these barriers should not put you off from trying!


Where to begin


The EURES website is a very good place to start, as it brings together all of the job vacancies published in the official state-run jobs websites in the EU countries. Other jobs portals at a European level include Eurojobs, Eurobrussels, Euractiv and Jobs Europe, and a quick internet search will bring up many more national recruitment websites in every country.


Many of the larger multinational companies also publish job openings on their own websites, so surf the websites of the companies you are interested in to check where they have vacancies. It is sometimes easier for larger or multinational companies to hire someone from another country and help with the necessary permits and visas. Also, there is a growing trend for the working language in multinationals to be English, even in non-English speaking countries, which may be of some help if that is one of the languages you speak.


As mentioned above, it can sometimes be difficult to find a paid job without having previous experience. Doing an internship or taking part in a long-term volunteering project is often a good way to start putting into practice what have you learned in the classroom, and it can also help you to understand what you like and what you don’t. Interns and volunteers can sometimes also end up being offered a full-time job, although this is not guaranteed.


Volunteering or doing an internship with a non-governmental organisation might also be a good alternative to doing a traineeship with a commercial company, depending on which field you want to work in.


The EU's Drop'pin website lists hundreds of open traineeship posts across Europe, and would be a good place to start your search for an internship. The Erasmus Student Network, Eurodesk and Eurasmus websites also have databases of internship opportunities.


If you want to volunteer, the European Youth Portal also has a database of European Voluntary Service projects which are looking for young volunteers – use the filters to find which ones are recruiting young people from your country. The Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations also list volunteering opportunities.


In addition, most EU countries have national networks of organisations offering volunteering placements, and many of these networks can be found through the European Volunteer Centre. Many NGOs list opportunities for interns and volunteers on their websites.


You might also be interested in looking into projects providing training for young leaders. Finally, employment and internships is often a big topic of discussion in expat websites, so do a search for these types of websites, especially in the cities you are interested in moving to.


Short-term work


If you simply want to work abroad on a short-term basis, you might be interested to explore the possibilities visiting the following resources: Jobs Abroad and Transitions Abroad. Temporary jobs can be found in most of the EU countries.


Even if holidays and work doesn’t go together, you can consider investing your free time to develop your skills while earning some extra cash. Whether you're a student or unemployed, seasonal work might help you on your way. For summer or winter holidays, pick up some ideas in this article.


Brainstorm jobs


If you love working with kids, working as an au pair might be a good option for you. An au pair is hired to take care of children and to help with household tasks in exchange for accommodation, a monetary allowance and the opportunity to learn the language and culture of the country. There are many different websites offering au pair placements.


English teaching jobs are also a great way to live abroad. However, you must know that many language institutes and schools across Europe require a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), a certificate that you need in order to teach English in a country where English is not the native language.


Work and residency permits and visas


Immigration rules vary from country to country across the European Union. To help make it easier to understand, the EU Immigration Portal has a lot of information for people wishing to come to the EU to work, do an unpaid internship or volunteer. It goes into detail about the conditions you must meet, what papers are required, and what permits are needed to stay in the EU.


There are also links through to specific information about the rules for each separate EU country.


It could also be worthwhile to visit the website of the embassy for the country you want to go to.