The need for a visa (short for the Latin "carta visa") is a formal barrier that hinders the international mobility of job seekers. It is not the only hurdle we find when we move abroad in search of a professional opportunity, as we also have language, academic validations, social security coverage and cultural barriers.
For EU member citizens, our job market has expanded extraordinarily in recent years; currently our labor market is the European Union.
Free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the European Union Treaty that entitles EU citizens to:
- look for a job in another EU country
- work there without needing a work permit
- reside there for that purpose
- stay there even after employment has finished
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages
EURES is the job mobility portal of the European Union that aims to provide information services, counseling and job search to European workers and entrepreneurs. An increasing number of Europeans are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the European labor market.
Outside the EU, we will have to face the challenge of obtaining a visa or work permit. Typically, work permission is granted by a country through its consular office or embassy.
Visas are normally issued for a purpose and for a specific period. It is important to understand the rights and limitations granted by each visa and use them respectfully. In most countries, it is considered a very serious matter to break the law and take advantage of a visa to perform unauthorized activities.
Considering the purpose of the trip, some of the main visa categories are :
• Tourism: for holidays and tourist activities.
• Business: to attend business meetings and trade shows. Normally this visa is different from an employment visa, and therefore, these kinds of visas do not allow to perform work. In case of doubts, do not hesitate to seek advice to find out what the appropriate visa is.
• Temporary work: allows performing work during a defined period. They are usually more difficult to obtain and can give right after years to get permanent work permit.
• Family: allows entry to the family members accompanying the Expat. Normally the laws favor the legally married wife/husband and the children of the couple. Be careful when analyzing this topic, as there are countries whose immigration rules do not recognize non-legally married partners or same sex couples.
Before accepting an Expatriation, it is wise to double check that you can obtain the visas for yourself and your family. In many cases, a ring to the Embassy or talking to a specialist may be needed to ensure that you are not going to encounter any issues.
As soon as possible, you can start preparing basic documentation typically requested on all visa applications, for example:
• Academic Title, in my experience one of the documents that typically delays visa processes. ("it's in my parents´ house", "I cannot find it" , "It is still in my University", etc. . )• Passports for the whole family, please check when they expire
• Curriculum Vitae, etc .
All documentation that you can prepare in advance will help you save time later. The period of time to obtain a work permit can vary greatly depending on the country and circumstances.
Using Maslow's terminology, we could say that the visa is a "Basic" need. Everybody assumes that the work permit will be obtained in a short period of time, and nobody will consider it a major accomplishment. However, if not obtained, dissatisfaction is huge and the Expatriation, simply, cannot start.
Some hints to avoid a frustrating immigration process are:
- give the work permit the importance it deserves
- in doubt, contact an expert for advice
- make a preliminary analysis of the possibilities and the expected timing of obtaining permits
- prepare documentation as soon as possible
- make a rigorous monitoring each step of the procedure
Finally, do not forget to make a note of the visa expire date and start the renewal process in time.