Moving withing the EU (European Union)

I’m a British citizen (although I’ve been living in Canada for 12 years). I’m wonder what is required if I wanted to move to a EU member country other than Britain?

It’s my understanding that I can just up and go, no questions asked. Is this true?

What about taxes? Would I be subject to British income tax if I got a job in another country? Would the fact that I I’ve never paid taxes in Britain (I was too young) have any impact?

If I do go somewhere, can I vote in that countries elections?

Having heard that the IT job situation is really good in Ireland these days, I’m thinking about looking for a job there…


Uhm - sounds like a special case, perhaps you should check it out with the authorities ? Having the right to move and work doesn’t mean that there’ll be no formalities to go through.

In general, however, you’re right. You’ll pay local taxes, be entitled to local medical & social services etc. There’s paperwork (yeah, big surprise), but nothing insurmountable.

DO get the help of a relocation agency, even though it’s expensive (if you’re smart, get it as a perk in your contract). They know the tricks and can save you incredible amounts of hassle.

I moved from Denmark to Germany a year ago, and thanks to the relocation people, my employer was more of a paperwork challenge than the authorities. For instance, the authorities didn’t check my criminal record (not that I have one), but my employer had to under law.

Still, the details can turn around and bite you. Example: A friend of mine moved from Denmark to Germany, got pulled over after six months, and was informed that his 1994 Danish driver’s license was invalid for more than a 3-month period. Rules are rules, and of course they’d be happy to issue him a German one - it did, however, take eight weeks. OTOH, my 1996 driver’s license is perfectly valid. This is the kind of crap that you won’t find written down anywhere.

Get some help, read the small print, be prepared to overlook something and have fun. Heh - I’m considering Ireland as my next move, myself…

S. Norman

Wooba Hi,

Have a look at

There are very very few restrictions on british citizens living in Ireland. It is possible to move between countries without even a passport.

Moving between EU countries is not quite the frontierless experience that it was supposed to be.Generally speaking as a Brit you might expect to stay in any country for up to 3 months.

Any longer than that and you will be required to register at your embassy , with the police , with visa offices etc etc.

You are liable for tax in whichever country you are resident in except for the case of a person who is paid abroad. i.e. You come here to set up an office for Maple Tree Lovers Inc. and it takes you two years to accomplish. All the while you are being paid in Canada. You will be taxed according to Canadian tax rules. This will affect your standing in the country naturally.

The people to talk to though are :

Embassy of Ireland
130 Albert Street
Ottawa K1P 5G4
Tel: + 1-613-233-6281
Fax: + 1-613-233-5835
Ambassador His Excellency Paul Dempsey
First Secretary Maeve Collins
Secretary Christopher McCamley
or :

Embassy of Ireland
17 Grosvenor Place
London SWIX 7HR
Tel: + 44-171-235-2171
Fax: + 44-171-245-6961
Ambassador Ted Barrington
First Secretary Michael Gaffey

I would like to thank you both for your reply and information.

Just one more thing about moving to Ireland specifically.

Will the fact that I’m English and not catholic have any effect there?

I ask because two relatives of mine worked in Scotland and they were not made to feel welcome at all. I also have no idea how people in Ireland feel about the Northern Ireland thing. I personally couldn’t give a stuff about things like that, but I would hate to move to a country only to have everyone hate me.


My first reaction was to laugh out loud.

You really have nothing to worry about. We Irish are currently reserving our racism for the eastern Europeans.

Ireland really is a different place from the one where it was dangerous to walk around speaking in anything other than a brogue.

Not to say you wont encounter some dislike and perhaps even unpleasantness…but then you might encounter that in any number of places.

Not sure if this will be of any use to you, but just in case…

If you have IT industry skills and you want to come back over to Europe, you will be laughing. You can set up your own company and go freelance, taking 3-6 month contracts wherever and whenever you want. Setting yourself up freelance as a contractor is easy. There are literally hundreds of agencies who will find work for you, so all you have to do is sit by the phone and wait for the best offer. How do they know about you? Just submit your CV to one of the appropriate CV websites, such as Jobserve, and they’ll all have it within about a week. There is a lot of work in Ireland, it’s true, but it pales besides the amount of work, and the rates offered, in either London or Holland. I write as someone who has done all this. The money is staggering - it is not hard to get 1500 pounds per working week of 37.5 hours as a MINIMUM. From this your company pays 22.5% corporation tax, and then whatever you draw for yourself obviously attracts income tax at whatever rate is apt. You pay tax per financial year to whichever government regards you as domiciled in their country for that year or a significant portion of it, but the agencies who find you the work (see above) can offer lots of great advice about this and steer you through the minefield.

Best of luck. And oh, Ireland is one of the friendliest places in the world.

Thanks for the info…
Yeah, when I was visiting my brother in the UK a little while ago, the wages were quite a bit higher than I’d expect over here (having said that, it’s a hell of a lot more expensive to live there!)

Do you know how companies are about hiring people with little experience?

The reason I’ve started looking at Europe is because I can’t find a bloody job over here!!!
TONS of jobs, but they all want 1 - 2 years experience… I’ve only been out of college for 6 or 7 months…
Oh, I’m a computer programmer if it makes any difference…


Hi Wooba,

First of all, the demand for IT skills over here outstrips supply to an extent you wouldn’t believe. Friend of mine works at Hewlett Packard, and a couple of years ago they did some sort of official survey. They predicted that by year 2000, the demand for net-related IT skills (e.g. Java) here in London alone would outstrip supply by about 5000 vacancies. My experience within the industry certainly bears this out. I used to work for an established, successful e-commerce outfit that had a good name. At times, we had TWO people working full-time, x agencies and 1 headhunter on a retainer, solely to try and fill 1 week Java training engagements which were VERY well paid.

Regarding lack of experience, to some extent it’s like anything else, you’re in a vicious circle (no work without experience and vice-versa) so you just have to knock on enough doors until someone gives you that first break. But it is far easier to get that break in IT than in just about anything else in the private sector.

If you go the route I suggested, as a contractor for hire, then I doubt you will have major problems. When you start, your lack of experience means you can’t pick and choose the juiciest contracts - you have to take whatever crumbs come along that other, more experienced contractors have turned down. So you pinch your nose and sup it up, and it’s a great learning experience anyway. After that, your chances get a little better, because now you have 1 contract on your CV. But to some extent you still have to settle for second best. The magic number is THREE. Once you have three contracts under your belt (which will take less than 1 year) you will look, on paper, just as experienced as anyone else because many of the agencies only include details of the preceding 3 contracts anyway. Once you get to this stage, you will have work offered to you all the time, and you can pick and choose whatever YOU want to do, and more or less write your own hourly rate (just keep it somewhere more than ‘generous’ but less than ‘insane’ and you will find takers willing to pay).

Another option is to look for a full-time job over here, but I don’t recommend this. All IT companies in England these days are in and out like accordions. They go through a phase of rapidly hiring, then a few months later some bean counter says shareholder profits are down 1 percent so everyone gets laid off again. You can give 1000 percent loyalty to the firm, late nights and weekends etc., but the firm will show no loyalty to you whatsoever.

Another option is to stay put where you are, and start to work for yourself. It’s easier than you think and it means you don’t have to come and live over here. Ireland may be OK, but England is basically very hard to view patriotically since nothing works and nobody gives a damn. The advantage is that if you’re even slightly entrepreneurial, you can do very well because 99% of the rest of the population are most definitely NOT.

Incidentally, you can test the water, so to speak, free and at no risk. There is nothing to stop you getting your CV on Jobserve (URL is what you would think it is), and for now fibbing slightly about your availability, just to see what offers come down the pipe.

Good luck.