As part of the UK’s membership of the EU, UK citizens have the right to seek work in any other EU member state. Whilst the exact figure of those already making the most of this right is difficult to quantify, even the most conservative figures would suggest there are over 1 million British people living and working in other EU member states. This includes seasonal workers on a gap year or career break, people on short-term secondments and placements, and those that have built a new life for themselves outside of the UK.

With this in mind here is our top 8 reasons why working in Europe is something everyone should consider…


1 – Visa Free Travel

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The removal of barriers to trade which came about through the creation of the Single Market included the introduction of visa-free travel between EU member states. This has brought about benefits for even the casual business traveller. Whilst we now think nothing to catching an early morning low-cost flight (another innovation brought about by EU policy) to Paris or Vienna, spending the day in meetings, before returning on the evening plane home, it is easy to forget the red tape and delays which made such trips almost impossible before.


2 – Bigger Labour Market

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The free movement of people across the EU also means that UK jobseekers have access to a far larger pool of jobs. You may not be able to find your dream career within the UK, but with another 27 local labour markets also open to you, finding a career that suits your skills and ambitions becomes far more likely.


3 – Rights of locals

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When you do make the move, it is not just the lack of visa restrictions which makes working abroad a great option. As EU citizens UK workers must be given the same rights and access to services as locals (e.g. healthcare, social services, welfare support etc). This is a massive difference to workers from countries outside the EU, who often either cannot access, or have to pay to access the same services. Therefore, EU citizenship helps to eliminate one of the potential costs of working abroad.


4 – Access to services such as Europass and EURES

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The culture and expectations which surround the job search – from writing a CV to completing an interview – differ widely across member states. Therefore, the EU provides practical support to work-seekers in order to help them more easily find jobs abroad. The Europass initiative promotes a common European CV template, making it far simpler to explain your skills and experience to potential employers. Similarly the EURES network compiles vacancies from across the EU (as well as the EEA), making it easier to discover what openings are out there.


5 – Key employability skills

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Even once you find a job, the simple challenges presented by working abroad mean you develop key personal skills. Figuring out where and how to open a bank account, rent somewhere to live, or even simply buy your groceries may seem like mundane tasks, but you are learning (amongst other things) to be flexible, communicate with others and take initiative. All of these skills are well regarded by employers and will help you stand out in future job applications.


6 – Not just for foreign language speakers

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Whilst there is no doubt that speaking some of the local language is a massive help, this does not mean that an inability to speak Slovenian, Hungarian or Swedish limits UK workers’ opportunities. English is the working language of more and more businesses across Europe, whilst the rise of high-speed internet means that many expats now work remotely for English-speaking businesses and clients. Indeed cities such as Berlin and Barcelona have growing English-speaking communities which are so large you can be forgiven for wondering if you have even left Britain at all!


7 – Climb the career ladder

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Lots of UK businesses are part of larger international organisations and so the opportunity to transfer to another office abroad is a feasible option for many. The challenges involved may be daunting but this risk usually pays off in the long term. The international experience and skills you gain mean that you are able to differentiate yourself from your colleagues, something that only helps when it comes to end of year reviews and promotions.


8 – Learn about new cultures and have fun

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Whilst it may be a cliché to think that working abroad helps you to escape the rat race, moving to a new country places you in a new environment, with a whole range of fresh and exciting experiences to explore. You are able to get under the skin of your new home, with evenings and weekends spent roaming some of Europe’s most historical cities and museums, trying new foods and meeting new friends.