What is the easiest country to immigrate to in Europe?
April 21, 2005 11:42 AM   Subscribe

What is the easiest country to immigrate to in Europe?

I want to live in Europe. I am not a "skilled laborer", I do not want to go to University, or marry someone either. I would like to just fly to a country, live off my savings until I find work , and get naturalized at some point. I realize this is next to impossible to do in some E.U. nations. (I have looked into Ireland, United Kingdom, and France) but are there any other countries I am not considering? How about Iceland, Norway, Finland, Poland, Germany, Denmark or Austria? Ideally, I would like to be able to just move there, work and be naturalized at some point in the future. Again, I am not a Doctor; just a student and a bad one at that. All I want to do is just move there and work like I could do within the U.S. if I were moving from state to state. I realize language would be an issue, but I willing to learn a new one before I leave.
posted by Livewire Confusion to Law & Government (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
In two words: dream on.

This is extremely difficult to attain. I can't think of any country, at least none of the ones you listed, that would take you without an advanced degree or a desirable career. Some countries will allow you to naturalize if you invest a considerable sum of money in their economy, but we're talking considerable.

Are you of European descent? Some countries (Germany is one, I believe) will allow you to claim citizenship by ancestry extending over several generations.

Your only other options, as I see it, are marriage or University.
posted by ori at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2005

escapeartist.com has good resources for people looking to restart their lives outside America.

If you go to the Europe section, they have links to pages full of naturalization information for each country.
posted by ori at 12:15 PM on April 21, 2005

Again, I am not a Doctor; just a student and a bad one at that.

They have enough bad to mediocre students earning small paychecks doing service jobs. Why should they need you to help? In other words, ain't gonna happen.

If by "savings" you mean "hundreds of thousands" or "millions," then you can probably emigrate to one as an investor, but you'll have to plop your money into a $COUNTRY firm.

The only other option would be if you have near-enough ancestry from Ireland, Germany, or other countries with a blood-citizenship aspect.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 PM on April 21, 2005

None are easy unless you marry a Yurpean or your parents are from there. Most European countries seem to be getting significantly tougher to emigrate to.

If you're excluding skilled worker type visas, student visas and marital visas isn't all that's left investment visas? Buy a business, get residency. That's if they even exist in all European countries.

I think your best bet would be to fix on a place you really want to live, whether Ireland or Estonia or wherever, go as a tourist, make sure your impressions of the place line up with reality, and concentrate your efforts from there. Even if you're not "skilled worker" material you can surely get sponsorship from some employer. Or alternatively find a US company (asssuming you're American) to place you over there?
posted by dublinemma at 12:24 PM on April 21, 2005

Also here's some info on the French Foreign Legion, if you're that type of guy.
posted by ori at 12:31 PM on April 21, 2005

dream on indeed: I emigrated from the UK to the US with a healthy bank account, a good job, and my company taking care of the immigration procedures, and it was still tough. And without a bank account and social security number you're going to be as good as homeless. My ex's sister tried to do it your way and lasted 2 months. Essentially, it's ill-advised until you have your s#@! together....
posted by forallmankind at 12:33 PM on April 21, 2005

If you're a university student, you can use BUNAC to get a 6-month work visa in the UK. Maybe once you're there, you can convince some company to sponsor a longer-term visa.
posted by medpt at 2:30 PM on April 21, 2005

From what I've read, Italy's population is shrinking pretty quickly; I bet they'd be happy to have you.
posted by luriete at 4:04 PM on April 21, 2005

I did exactly what medpt suggests back in 1999. Worked for me... (That was during the IT boom though, so it was much easier for my company to make a case that they really needed me.)
posted by web-goddess at 4:23 PM on April 21, 2005

1.) Impregnate a woman and plan to have her give birth while you are in Italy. The child will be an Italian citizen and supposedly as the parents, you are allowed to stay. (this loophole may be closed because a lot of eastern euro folks were abusing it).

2.) I have a friend that has been living (and working illegally) in Switzerland for nearly 6 years. Occasionally leaves but never has problems re-entering. Doesn't cause problems or call attention to himself and he seems to get by just fine.

3.) I think you can go to New Zealand and work until 28. (Yes, I know it isn't part of Europe...)

4.) If you backpack (staying in hostels) a bit throughout Europe you will meet people that will employ you and hook you up with the right people for illegal work. There is a network of people that help non-nationals find work (albeit often crappy work). There are loads of migrant worker jobs if you don't mind hard labour.
posted by shoepal at 9:59 PM on April 21, 2005

I don't want to hijack the thread, but I have a similar question. What if you are financially independent and just want to live in the UK or France? Not work, just buy a house and live there. (I am not financially independent at the moment, but if I ever am I would like to do this.)
posted by HSWilson at 1:36 AM on April 22, 2005

"What if you are financially independent and just want to live in the UK or France? Not work, just buy a house and live there. "
I think this is possible because many (upper) middle class folks retire to France, Spain, etc..

As for the initial question, you can start by getting an American firm to employ you in their european offices, and start rebuilding you life from that point upwards. Eventually, you'll be able to rent a flat, open a bank-account, etc..
But all this does take a lot of determination since you'll be essentially starting from ground zero.
posted by ruelle at 2:46 AM on April 22, 2005

From http://www.intemperance.net/carolyn/emigrate.html

Some ideas for establishing yourself overseas:

Marry a citizen of another country.
Get a position with a firm, either American or foreign, with offices in both America and other countries. This option appears to be more difficult now as the American government severs its ties with the rest of the world.
Go to school—get either a bachelor's degree or a graduate degree overseas. It's much more difficult to get financial support for overseas study, particularly if you are an undergraduate, but it can be done. American student loans can be granted for overseas universities.
Work in science or technology—it's still relatively easy for scientists and engineers to find positions overseas.
Work in academia, or in the arts—these occupations have international ties, and it's relatively easy to find work in other countries if you have this background.
Write a book, or do something else that you can do anywhere.
Work "under the table," as a nanny or housecleaner.
Teach English--this is still a viable option, particularly in eastern Europe and East Asia.
Many countries will grant you a visa if you are an independent businessperson--but unfortunately they usually require you to demonstrate that you have a substantial amount of capital. Still, it may work if you can find investors.
From Jana Amon--work for the UN: There is employment with them--all kinds--specialists, clerical, IM types. Once you've worked for one of them, it is pretty easy to hop around or at least I think so. Once one is vetted into the system... (Jana also suggested working for the State Department--aside from this being a difficult process, I would think that those of us leaving America in protest wouldn't be that inclined to do so)

Also - if you don't mind being there illegally finding work (such as being a waiter/waitress) and an ok place to live isn't that difficult in Dublin, Ireland. I'd had a work permit allowing me to work there, but was never asked for it.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 8:38 AM on April 22, 2005

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