Working abroad

According to the European legislation, a resident of the EU can work in every member state of the EU, and by extension in the European Economic Area (EEA), while working in wage labour as well as while being self-employed. In other words, you can’t be discriminated according to origin within these borders. 

Working outside of the EEA is much more difficult because you will need a work permit. A lot of countries are strict when it comes to migrant workers. Just think of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, … In some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, a residence permit is linked to a work permit. This entails that when your work permit expires, your residence permit expires as well.

When a work and residence permit are linked, it’s sometimes hard to find a job from Western Europe. Employers often want to make sure the aspiring emigrant is granted a residence permit before hiring them, which creates a vicious circle. When you want to practise a regulated profession, you often have to obtain a recognised national degree. Within Europe, the necessary regulations have been set up but outside of Europe, this is another story. Though, sometimes people performing a certain profession are given priority. For example, Australia, Canada and New Zealand work with a priority occupation list. Which means your profession could help in selecting a destination. Take into account that there is a difference between leaving as an expat and leaving with a local contract.

Are you looking for work abroad? VDAB helps you with:

  • ​Tips for setting up an internationally used CV
  • Job vacancies through international and professional EURES-network

  • Information about how to arrange your paperwork correctly

All of this information, and more, can be found at, send an e-mail to or call the free number 0800 30 700.

VIW offers different services for people who want to work abroad:

  • A collection of vacancies abroad. We offer jobs which are mostly interesting for Dutch speaking applicants.
  • Social, fiscal and legal information concerning working abroad.

  • VIW offers its members a personal service. As a VIW member you can e-mail us your specific question, with a description of your situation, via the contact form. We will try to help you figure out the details of your emigration.

  • An overview of interesting companies and organisations abroad.

  • Experiences shared by expats and emigrants in the VIW magazine