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6 Things To Keep In Mind When Relocating Employees To Europe

Posted on: August 15th, 2022

In previous blog posts, we have discussed the numerous advantages that talent mobility can have for the future of your business. But anything strategy that’s worth implementing will not be without its share of difficulties. In particular, companies that are unfamiliar with European immigration, tax, and work permission laws will face many setbacks in their corporate relocation initiatives if they are not well-prepared. We created this list to help forward thinking employers develop and implement a global mobility strategy that is as profitable and painless as possible.



Immigration Laws Vary Greatly

Checking immigration laws is the first thing you need to do once you have decided to relocate an employee to Europe. Not every country requires Americans to have an additional visa to remain longer than 90 days. However, in almost any country in the EU, immigrants will need to register with the police to receive an immigrant ID card. Since there isn’t any standardized procedure for this across the EU, look up this information before the move so your employee is prepared for the appropriate steps for immigration.


Getting Work Permission Extensions Is Possible, But Not Easy

So you’ve got your work visa, which typically lasts for about a year in most EU countries. Applying for an extension is possible, but they don’t make it easy. In most cases, the employer must demonstrate that the position cannot be reasonably filled by an EU citizen. The paperwork will clearly outline the requirements in your country, but you should be prepared to file a lot of paperwork ahead of time to deal with delays well beyond the estimated 30-60 days.  


Tax Systems Are Not Unified

In the US, your Social Security number is assigned at birth and essentially serves as your tax ID for life, wherever you live. In the EU, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As soon as you get anything resembling a permanent address, even if it’s a hostel, you will need to file for a tax ID. Without it, there will be additional taxes leveraged on you (that will be refunded once you file the appropriate paperwork).


Choose Your Bank Wisely

For better or for worse, European banks are much more highly regulated than they are in the US. That means there are a lot of fees and stipulations regarding what you can and can’t do with your money. Almost every kind of transaction (aside from withdrawing cash) requires a fee, and the hours are typically only between 9-4, M-F. Choose a bank closer to work rather than home so you can make important payments, etc., during your lunch break if necessary.


Public Transportation Is Key

Unlike most metropolitan areas in the US, people in the EU rely almost exclusively on public transportation for their commutes and daily travels. For this reason, cars are not only mostly unnecessary, they can be a huge burden. Parking and insurance premiums are much more expensive across the pond, and the roads do not accommodate the commodious vehicles we like to drive in the states. Additionally, US drivers licenses only qualify provisionally in the EU—and obtaining an EU license is far more strenuous and drawn out than it is in the US. Stick to the buses and tubes!

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