Working abroad

If you're moving abroad for work, find out what rights you have under your destination country's employment law.

Moving abroad for work

As a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union (EU) country, you have the right to work in any other member state, without the need of a work permit.

You will also have the same rights as nationals of your destination country in working conditions, pay and social security matters.

Let your tax office know if you are moving abroad, and if you are claiming benefits, talk to your Jobs & Benefits office. Even if you are going abroad as an employee for a UK-based firm, you may not have the same employment rights as if you were working in the UK.

Requirements for working hours, annual holidays and public holidays can vary.

Ask your employer if they will pay you any allowances and if are there any schemes to help if you wish to return to the UK or any support schemes for a partner or children travelling with you.

Check if you and your family need work permits, resident permits or visas for the country. In some countries you may be required to register with the local British embassy or consulate once you have moved there. Other things to consider are:


  • is the salary enough, taking into account the cost of living?
  • what are the chances of promotion and salary increases?
  • what currency will you be paid in?
  • are there any arrangements for temporary accommodation when you first move?
  • if you have a property to sell in the UK, will your employer give you time off to return to the UK to sign documents and finalise a move abroad?
  • if your job ends and you wish to stay in the country you have been working in, what permits would you and your family require and what are the chances of finding a new job there?


Not all qualifications are recognised across the EU and EEA, and some professions have employment restrictions. You will be able to check your qualifications against occupation information sheets produced by EU member states, which will allow you to see if your UK qualification is acceptable.

Language skills and fluency levels may also be an issue when seeking work.

More information

Information is available from the European Commission about moving to another European Union country, getting your qualifications recognised, successful job-seeking, paying taxes and your rights.

Check the European Union website for details.

Help is also available from EURES, which is a network of employment advisers throughout the EU.

More useful links

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