Access to employment
You are entitled to be recruited under the same conditions as nationals of
the country in which you are seeking work and cannot be asked to meet any
additional requirements. This means that you can apply for any job vacancy
advertised in any EU country, including public sector jobs. However, certain
public service posts may be restricted to nationals of a particular country
where the job in question involves safeguarding public order or the interests
of the state, for example, the armed forces and police.
Recognition of qualifications in the EU
Some EU countries require diplomas, titles, certificates or other special
qualifications as a condition for access to certain salaried and self-employed
occupations. It can be difficult to have your own training and skills fully
The EU has therefore set up systems
for recognising diplomas and training that enable you to make full use of
your training and skills in another EU country. The basic principle is that if
you are qualified to exercise a profession in your home country, you are
qualified to exercise the same profession in any other EU country.
A general system of recognition of qualifications that is applicable to most
regulated professions has been put in place across the EU. So, if you wish to
work in a profession (as a teacher, lawyer, engineer or psychologist, for
example) that is regulated in the country of employment, you must apply for
recognition of your qualifications in that country. The authorities have 4
months in which to reply. If they consider that your training is significantly
different in terms of duration or content from that given in the host country,
you may be asked to obtain either additional professional experience completing
your training, or to take a training course or to take an aptitude test.
If you are a doctor, a general nurse, a dentist, a midwife, a vet, a
pharmacist or an architect, your national qualifications are in principle
If your profession is not regulated in the country in which you wish to
work, no recognition of your qualifications is required.
Looking for a job in the EU
The EURES network was established by the European Commission to help
European citizens looking for work in another country in the EU/EEA. EURES has
a network of advisers, known as EURES advisers, who can give you general
practical information on legislation, social security, living conditions,
useful addresses, information on pay levels, taxes, contracts, recruitment
practices, etc. They also have access to the EURES job vacancies database with
vacancies in the EU/EEA. If you are interested in working or seeking work
within the EU/EEA, make an appointment with your nearest EURES advisor. Contact
nearest employment services office or Intreo
centre for more information.
You can access the EURES job vacancies
database yourself from the EURES site. Each vacancy in the database is
provided with contact details at the bottom of the page.
If you are unemployed, you have the right to live in another EU country for
a "reasonable period" of time in order to look for a job. In the absence of a
definition of "reasonable period", most EU countries are now operating a
6-month period, though some EU countries are still operating a 3-month period.
You are advised to check the exact situation with the national authorities of
the EU country in which you are looking for work. However, no matter how long
you have to look for a job, you cannot be asked to leave the country if you can
prove that you are genuinely looking for a job and that you have a real chance
of finding one. For example, you have still got interviews or tests to
You can register at employment agencies and centres without being resident
in the country in which you wish to work and you will be given the same help to
find work as nationals of that country.
Transferring your unemployment benefit
If you are drawing unemployment benefit in one member state, you may
continue to draw benefit from that same country for up to 13 weeks after you
move to another member state. This is provided that you have been available to
the employment services in the country where you have been drawing unemployment
benefit for at least 4 weeks.
apply to transfer your benefit it will be paid directly to you. You will
still be required to register with the employment services of the country where
you have gone to look for work within a week. Also you may now transfer your
benefit more than once while you are unemployed provided you do not exceed the
maximum period of 13 weeks. If you do not find work, you must return to the
first country within 3 months, otherwise you will lose your right to
If you are leaving Ireland to move to Northern Ireland or
Britain your Social Welfare Local Office will issue you with the Form U2
(formerly Form E303) which you take to the UK social services. If you are
moving to another EU country the Department of Social Protection will send the
U2 form to your new address in that EU country.
As an EU national working in another EU country you have the right to live
there. You are not required to have a residence permit. You are subject to the
same working conditions as nationals of the country you are working in as
regards, for example, pay, dismissal, hours of work, maternity leave and health
and safety at work. You are also subject to the same conditions as nationals of
the host country with regard to the principles of equality between men and
The basic aim of EU policy is to ensure that you are part of a social
security system and that you do not lose your rights, regardless of the member
state you decide to work in.
In principle, you are insured for social security purposes in the country
you work in. You, and in certain circumstances, your family are entitled to the
same social security benefits as nationals of the country in which you work.
These rights cover sickness and maternity benefits, disability, old-age and
survivor's benefits, benefits payable for accidents at work, occupational
illness, death and unemployment, as well as family allowances. You are required
to pay the same level of contributions as host country nationals. You cannot be
excluded from benefits on grounds of nationality, for reasons of residence, or
for any other discriminatory reason.
You can find more information in our document, Leaving
Ireland and your social security entitlements.
By working in another member state and by transferring your residence there,
you are likely to become "resident for tax purposes" there. The definition of
fiscal residence varies from one member state to another. You must comply with
the laws of the country where you have established your residence. The laws on
personal taxation vary considerably from one member state to another and you
may be liable for taxation in more than one country. In general, you are
subject to income tax in the country where you are living but this may not be
the case if you are a “posted worker” – see below. In general, property
is taxed in the country in which it is situated but, again, there are
Tax agreements have been concluded between most of the member states of the
EU, which are intended to avoid double taxation, if you derive income from
In general, national fiscal rules must respect the fundamental principle of
non-discrimination against nationals of another EU country.
Workers posted to another EU country
You have certain specific rights if you are a posted
worker, that is, you work for a limited period of time in a member state other
than the one where you normally work. If you are to be posted for a period of
more than a month, your employer must inform you in writing, before you leave,
of your pay and working conditions while you are abroad.
You will usually remain affiliated to the social security system of your
country of origin. You may pay income tax in that country as well but the
situation varies between member states. You can find out more about social
security for posted workers in this guide
or see 'further information’ below.
Freedom to provide services
You may choose to offer your services in another EU country without
establishing yourself there permanently. If you comply with the rules of the
profession or trade that apply in your own country, you can, in principle,
offer those services anywhere else in the EU. You can travel to assist clients
located in another EU country or you can provide paid services from your
country of residence without travelling there.
You are a cross-border
commuter (also known as a cross-border or frontier worker) if you live in
one EU country but work in another and you go home at least once a week. As a
cross-border worker, you must be treated in the same way as an employee who is
a national of the country of employment as regards the right to apply for jobs,
working conditions and social benefits.
Therefore, the general rule is that you pay social security contributions in
the member state where you are employed and you are subject to the legislation
of that state even if you live in another member state.
With regard to benefits, generally you get short-term benefits from the
state where you last paid insurance and long-term benefits proportionately from
all the countries in which you paid insurance.
For cross-border workers, the rule in relation to unemployment benefit is as
- During partial or intermittent unemployment you get your benefit from the
country of employment
- During periods of being wholly unemployed, you get your benefit from the
country of residence.
So, for example, if you are living in the State and working in Northern
Ireland you can claim Jobseeker’s Benefit from your local
social welfare office or Intreo
centre, if you lose your job. If you are employed or self-employed in 2
member states, you pay social security contributions in the state where you
The Border People website is a
source of information for people living in the border counties of Ireland and
elsewhere in the island of Ireland. It provides cross-border mobility
information on taxation, social security and job seeking, health and education
as well as banking, housing and telecommunications. The information is about
rights and entitlements in Northern Ireland and Ireland with sections about living, working and studying both
north and south of the border. There is also a list of frequently
asked questions on topics such as motoring, employment, tax, healthcare,
consumer and social welfare.