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Hi everybody,

I am American (early 30s, single) who will do about anything to get to Europe. After research and reading, my best bet is finding a job with an American corporation and getting transferred to Europe. I need help getting pointed in the right direction so I can do a job search in earnest.

I speak excellent French as I have a master's degree in it and speak Spanish well. I teach both languages in a high school here in the States. I lived in France as an exchange student and as an assistante in a lycée. I can't get any sort of EU passport because all my ancestors immigrated to the US well before 1890...I checked with the British, Irish, German and Polish consulates.

While my background is mostly education I have non-profit experience, freelance translating, some business background and am pretty good with computers (not programmer good, though). I have spent hours scouring the web and I need help getting pointed in the right direction. Can someone please tell me what would be good companies to connect with? Or are there reputable employment agencies who recruit Americans to fill jobs in Europe? For bypassing the agencies and going straight for the jugular, I am looking for American companies with branches in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, UK...I am not dead-set on any particular location, although France or Belgium would be my first choices. Is there like a list of US companies with branches in Europe available online?

Or, can anyone recommend a good place to network? I have a LinkedIn profile but I'm not sure how to use it to connect with the "right" people. Are there any other ways to network online? :ranger: I have tapped out my own personal European network...no luck there.

Please don't tell me there are no jobs; I know the market is very tight. Please don't send me to Monster or Indeed dot com; I've been there. I know if I make my own luck there is something out there. I need some guidance from Americans who are making/have made the leap. I know I'm NOT the only one out there and I know there IS a way. I am at a great point in my life to pick up and move over. But I need help in that first step. Thanks for insights on resources available.

Thanking you in advance,
Annie

PS--Message me if you want to see my CV or LinkedIn profile if you have any ideas!
 

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Hi Annie. What you're looking at doing isn't impossible, but it will probably take some time (like, years) to accomplish.

Your first inclination is a good one - getting hired by a large, multinational company with branches in Europe. The trick is, what type of job you get, because not all jobs are considered "transferrable" especially to highly desirable locations like France, Belgium, Spain, etc.

Some US based companies reserve such transfers to long-time employees, usually those in reasonably high level positions. So your strategy needs to be to develop a career with the company, putting your language and other talents to use for them to demonstrate that you "deserve" the sort of cushy transfer that everyone in the company would probably like to get.

One way to set yourself up for that is to get involved in multi-national projects once you have a job in a large company. Offer to show people around when they are in the office from out of town, especially from Europe or other foreign locations. (One thing our European visitors used to comment on was that, while the European offices made a point of taking visiting US colleagues out to dinner, they were left to entertain themselves when they were visiting the US offices.) Volunteer to make business trips to Europe, where you can meet some of the overseas colleagues and perhaps they'll think of you when there is an opening in their offices that could use someone with good ties back to the US headquarters.

Look at this as a long-term project (say, 5 to 10 years) and you can probably figure something out that will work within your company and for your particular job area. That's more or less what I did - I was 41 when I finally moved over here for good (after a one year stint with my employer).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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One way to get to France

Hi Annie;

My wife and I got to France in a little different way.

I have been self-employed as an electronic engineer for 35 years in the USA. We decided to move to France about 3 years ago, and did some research. The "Visiteur" visa (long-stay visitor - "D") allows you to work as self-employed in France. You do need to make a statement that "I do not intend to have in France a paid professional activity which needs a work permit". You also have to show that you have enough personal resources to be able to live in France (for a while without becoming a burden on the social system). This is the clinker for most people. We had enough resources to qualify.

Once you have your visa and are actually living in France, you need to go through some administrative procedures, but especially, you need to register at your prefecture. Through them, you need to get a certification that you have the right to work as self-employed in France. This you take to URSSAF to set up as "Autoentrepreneur", best starting bet. If you make less than about 33,000 euros per year, this is where to begin. Even if you might make more, start here - you can switch to "Entreprise Individuelle" later. A suggestion - try to stay as "Autoentrepreneur" for the first year to allow time for your "Carte Vitale" paperwork to clear. I changed mid-year and it delayed the "Carte Vitale" process.

For your skill set, you might also try to get jobs translating from French or Spanish to English as an independent while in the US. This would allow you to move to France and still have income from these clients. Again, the French would want tax returns showing your self-employed income for a number of years. They also might look at other resources you have.

As Bev has mentioned elsewhere, rules in France are always changing, so do your homework.

When we were in the USA, I also found differences between the French embassy websites. Most useful were Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC. I was going to apply in Chicago, and there they said I would have to provide a letter promising not to engage in any employment in France. Boston clarified this to the phrase I used above.

As a cultural thing, it appears that the French system does not consider self-employment as "employment". Before the "Autoentrepreneur" business model was established, it was extremely painful to be self-employed, and it really seems still to be a bit of an alien concept.

Currently, my wife and I have been living in Lyon, France for 18 months. She is "Autoentrepreneur", providing English teaching (she has a certification for TEFL) and research services. I am "Entreprise Individuelle", providing services as an electronic engineer to a client I found in France about 20 months ago, and to previous clients in the US and Germany. I also have my certification for TEFL, but use it very little. I also provide a style of massage that is unknown and un-certifiable in France, but I can provide it as a Naturopathe under my business umbrella. Officially, the kind of massage I provide is "Painless Deep-Tissue Massage". This portion of my business will take time to build, since it is so different from what French expect -- they know "Kinésithérapeute" - in practice very like "Physical Therapist" in the USA - major certifications, covered by insurance, and restricted to working in 30 minute sessions to what has been prescribed by a physician. They also know "Massage Bien-Etre" - voluntary certification requiring at least 100 hours training from one of their "approved" schools. And "Spa Massage" - no training required, no certification, no ethics needed - don't bother.

I also found this forum as a great starting-point for information and ideas when I first started looking at moving to France. I especially appreciated the information from Bev and her dedication to the forum.
 
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