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tekn0lust's avatar

How can I move my family from the US to Europe for 4-5 years?

Asked by tekn0lust (1861points) December 14th, 2009

A little background: I spent age 4 in Taiwan, 6–8 in Munich Germany and age 9 in Rome. I have always looked back fondly at my time overseas and felt that it gave me a much more tolerant and open-eyed view of the world.

My children are 4 and 7 and my wife and I are exploring the possibility of moving to Europe for a few years to afford our children this same opportunity.

We are in a really great place as a family, we don’t own a home and have a lot of money saved. My wife is a brilliant educator and I have close to 15 years of high tech project management and architecture experience. We both have jobs now, but would give them up if we could somehow make this work. The downside is that we do have a close family network. We would have to leave our parents who we are used to seeing frequently. But with communications as they are now as opposed to when I was a child staying in touch is much easier.

Now the kicker is that when I moved as a child it was due to my father’s job. He was a contractor for the US military so we moved from base to base and it was all relatively easy. We do not have this luxury, we do not know anyone in Europe at all. We also do not speak any foreign language anywhere close to fluently.

My wife’s best friend lives in Australia and if moving to Europe is anywhere close to as difficult as it is to move to Australia this may not even be possible. She has been trying for 4 years to gain citizenship without success.

At the top of our list is the UK mostly because of no language barrier and we enjoy British history and culture. We are also considering Spain, France and Germany as well.

If you have any experience with something like this or have any comments we would really appreciate them. Especially about finding a good job.

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7 Answers

NadaNormal's avatar

Unemployment in europe is off the charts, if you are needing a job only chance is to get the job before you move – Zero chance of getting a visa without employment already waiting for you

hug_of_war's avatar

Getting a work visa in Europe is next to impossible for non-EU citizens. If you work in a “highly skilled category” you MAY be able to qualify to work in the UK but even if you do you may not be able to find any work anyway to support yourself. For the EU the rule is they have to show a EU person isn’t available for the job. Europe is seemingly every Amerian’s dream, but it is a very complicated process and to find out if this is even possible you should contact an immigration lawyer.

This can also be an expenssive process. Many people who are eve elgible have to hire an immigrant lawyer as a liason. Also your costs of living in Europe will surely go up. Also finding work in a non-English speaking country can be an almost impossible battle. Spain and France have HORRIBLE unemployment rates, in parrt due to the overmigration there. We’re talking upwardss of 19% unemployed in Spain.

bunnygrl's avatar

Unemployment is hellish here is the UK too.Thanks to our idiot PM not allowing us a vote on the Lisbon Treaty, which has now passed into law (talk about an elected dictatorship) we have an open door policy to the rest of the EU. Something which most of the other countries signed up to the Lisbon Treaty negotiated a 10 year clause to release them from. This past year has been the first time that our taxes have not been able to cover the bill for benefits being claimed. I do understand people wanting to live here but we are a very small island and the amount of people working can’t support the number of folks flocking here to take advantage of our health/benefits system. It’s all going to hell very rapidly.

I don’t doubt that you and your wife would be able to find work, but it seriously is not a decision to take lightly. Maybe its a grass is always greener kind of thing but lots of folk in the UK would be leaving here now if they could because of how bad things are with relation to employment never mind the steady erosion of our civil liberties. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you and your family every good fortune.
hugs xx

lovemypits86's avatar

after my dad retired he went back to turkey as a sub contracter or something like that for the air force. that’s something to look at.

caroj's avatar

Definately get a job before you go. There’s no way to settle there without. Try, which is the government’s job directory for civil service jobs. There are also civil service jobs in foreign countries and there may be something in your career fields.

walshman's avatar

My wife and I worked as civilians on a US Military base in Germany (Nuernberg) from 1991–1994. We were without kids then and I got the job first while residing in the USA. I am now being considered for a job with the military in Brussels and have 4 kids. I wanted them to experience living overseas too so I have kept my resume active for years on the CHRMA website. The benefits of working as a civilian for the military is you first obtain the job n the USA is that you get a tax free housing allowance, cost of living adjustments, and you can use the military benefits like the PX and commisary and obtain gas in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium at US rates. There are many other benefits also.

Undutch's avatar

Hello! Not sure if this is a decision you are still pondering, as it’s been over six months since you posed the question, but we just moved to The Netherlands from Seattle with our three kids (aged 6, 4 and 1) and have found it to be not quite as negative as most of the replies on this string. That being said, my husband is a Dutch citizen, which made it much easier for him to be hired from abroad. I would definitely find a job first and if the company is interested in hiring you they will sponsor your work visa. Unfortunately, it would probably be harder for your wife to attain a work permit because teachers are not often sponsored. There are many expat websites that can help with information. We moved to Eindhoven, and Philips, ASML and other english-speaking tech companies are located here. There is an international school as well, although we have opted to send our kids to Dutch school to experience the full impact of living abroad.

Good luck!

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