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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article19 July 2019European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion4 min read

6 steps to starting a professional career abroad: Part 3

The final part of our three-part series looks at the important points to consider when planning to move abroad and settling in a new country.

6 steps to starting a professional career abroad: Part 3

Step #5: Moving abroad

Moving abroad is a big step, but with a bit of planning you can smooth the transition and make the process less intimidating.

What should I think about before moving?

  • Work contract: You should receive a copy of your employment contract and confirmation of your salary before you leave.
  • Important documentation: Make copies of your important documents (e.g. passport, insurance papers, birth certificate) so that you can take them with you when you move.
  • Language courses: If you’re not already fluent, then consider taking a course in your host country’s language (or the language you’ll be using on a day-to-day basis).
  • Bank accounts: You might want to open a bank account in your new country (and may need to in order to get paid). It’s worth researching your options in advance so that you know where you stand, and if that account can be linked to your home one.
  • Insurance: Take your European Health Insurance Card (or equivalent insurance if you’re a non-EU citizen) so that you’re fully covered. It might be good to invest in travel insurance, too.
  • Accommodation: Where are you going to live? If you can, it could be good to get your accommodation dealt with before you start your new job. If that’s not possible, then you can do some research into potential options and prices.
  • Social security: Contact your social security institution before you leave your home country to obtain all the necessary information and the required EU forms. It can also help to learn about the setup in your new country and formalities relating to the transfer of social security rights (e.g. social benefits, unemployment benefits).
  • Taxation: The relevant authorities in your home country should also be able to provide advice on taxation agreements with your new country.
  • Family: You and your family have the same rights as native workers. What this means is that your family members can accompany you to your new country, go to school and find work (with the support of EURES).
  • Education system: EURES Staff members are a great source of information about the schools and education system in your new country, as are the websites of the relevant education authorities.

What should I think about just before I leave?

  • Bills and contracts: Make sure that you’ve legally and properly ended any contractual relationships with service providers (e.g. gas, phone, water, internet).
  • Local authority: You may be required to inform your local authority when you move abroad.
  • Postal address: Update your postal address on all relevant websites and with all relevant institutions.
  • Tax and benefits: Make sure you inform the tax and social benefits administrations of your home country that you’re leaving.

Step #6: Settling in a new country

A new country represents both a challenge and an opportunity. There’s a lot to think about, so we’ve highlighted some of the points that you might like to prioritise.

  • Secure your accommodation: If you weren’t able to set this up before you arrived, then it should be a priority. Your employer may be able to help and if not, you can start with a temporary place and find somewhere permanent once you’ve got yourself settled.
  • Understand the legal requirements: There are probably going to be some legal and administrative formalities that you have to go through in order to get set up in your new country. Doing research on this is recommended in order to be aware of your obligations.
  • Know your rights: As an EU/EEA citizen, you have the same rights to social security benefits as native workers (e.g. sickness pay, maternity leave, pensions), so make sure you exercise those rights!
  • Open a bank account: Your employer is likely to require this in order to pay your wages and all EU citizens are entitled to open a basic bank account in the country where they’re working.
  • Learn the language: If you’re not already fluent, learning the native language is a great way of integrating into a new country – and meeting new people who may be in the same situation.
  • Research transport options: You’re probably going to have to commute to work, so working out the best transport options can help you to save time and money.
  • Embrace the culture: Even if you’ve just moved to a neighbouring country, the culture is going to differ from what you’re used to. New sights, new sounds, new people… the best way to adapt is to immerse yourself in your new surroundings. Your colleagues, employer or neighbours can probably offer advice about the most interesting locations and activities in your local area.
  • Seek advice: There are more than 800 EURES Staff members available to provide advice and assistance on a range of subjects. You can search for relevant staff in your new country via the living and working section of the EURES portal.

You can find out more about steps 5 and 6 on the EURES portal and if you want to start at the beginning of the series then part one and part two can be found here.


Related links:

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Living and working section

EURES portal


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Articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. Their content does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Labour Authority (ELA) or the European Commission. Furthermore, EURES and ELA do not endorse third party websites mentioned above.