Europe is well known for being a difficult place to move to for non-European citizens trying to relocate for work.
Some countries in the EU - tiny nations like Liechtenstein and Vatican City, for example - have some of the strictest immigration rules in the world.
But countries across Europe are now facing severe labour shortages which have caused major disruption in recent months. Many are now making it easier for migrant workers to move to the EU for work.
Here’s a list of the countries where it’s easiest to obtain a work visa for non-European citizens.
Are work visas available for Germany?
Germany has recently launched a new ‘opportunity card’ to attract skilled migrant workers.
Using a point system, the ‘Chancenkarte’ allows those looking for work in Germany to move to the country before having found a job or apprenticeship, rather than having to apply from abroad.
Applicants must be under 35 years old, have sufficient language skills to live in the country and at least 3 years of professional experience on their CV.
They also need to prove that they can afford to pay for living expenses for the time they’d be in Germany before finding a job.
For more details, check our explainer here.
Is it easy to get a work visa for Denmark?
Denmark is also in dire need of workers in all kinds of industries and is looking for professionals from other countries to step in and help.
Skilled workers are required from fields like science and engineering to legal and healthcare professionals, from teachers and IT specialists to electricians, blacksmiths and metal workers.
A full list of professionals needed is available on the country’s Positive List for People with a Higher Education and the Positive List for Skilled Work published by Denmark’s Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI). The lists were introduced on July 1 and will remain effective until December 31.
If you’re offered a job in one industry included on the two lists, you can apply for a Danish residence and work permit. Your residence permit will be valid for as long as your period of employment if you have a contract shorter than four years or will be four-year long if longer.
If you apply for a job on the list from abroad, you’ll be given a residence permit valid for one month before you start working so that you can settle in the country, provided that you prove you can sustain yourself in that period.
According to Statistics Denmark, there are currently 71,400 vacancies in the private sector in Denmark, with the highest number of these job openings being in the capital Copenhagen.
What visas are available to work in Ireland?
Getting a work visa is relatively easy in Ireland, which offers a number of options ranging from the short-term to the long-term.
While it’s necessary to already have found a job before being able to apply, the country is actively seeking migrant workers to fill vacancies in sectors which are experiencing significant shortages.
The country has two main work visas, the Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly skilled workers and the General Employment Permit. The first one covers professions deemed critical to growing the Irish economy, while the second covers all kinds of jobs. After receiving these permits, it’s relatively easy for people to apply for permanent residency in the country.
Ireland also offers a working holiday visa to citizens of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and the US between the ages of 18 and 30 or 35.
Under this visa, migrant workers can stay in the country for up to 12 months, with the exception of Canadians who can remain for a period of up to 24 months.
What can apply for a Portugal Work Visa?
Portugal has recently launched a short-term visa for workers who intend to stay in the country for only one season. Under the Portuguese Work Visa, you are allowed to stay and work in the country for a maximum period of nine months. You are also allowed to work for more than one company, as long as it’s for a seasonal job.
Any other longer-term work visa will depend on your profession. Applications are known to take several months before being finalised, but once you obtain one you are allowed to stay in Portugal for one to two years.
Those who have lived in Portugal for five years are able to apply for permanent residence, after which they no longer need to apply for a work visa.
What visas are available for Finland?
Finland has launched a 14-day fast-track process to get highly skilled workers into the country, as well as their families. Those who can benefit from this service are defined by the Finnish government as “specialists” and start-up entrepreneurs.
After 90 days in the country, non-EU workers must apply for a residence permit.
What about other countries in Europe?
Other countries in the EU including Spain and Italy have recently announced they’re working on opening up more opportunities to non-EU workers, and will soon publish lists of vacancies they need migrant workers to fill.
What is the easiest EU country to get citizenship? ›
What make Portugal the easiest country in Europe to gain citizenship is that there are no physical presence requirements. Meaning you only need to hold your resident permit in order to qualify for naturalization. You don't need to spend most of the year in the country like most other countries.
Ireland. It is very easy to get a work visa in Ireland. The country offers short-term and long-term visas. It is necessary to have a job before applying for a work visa in Ireland.Can non EU citizens work in the EU? ›
Non-EU nationals may have the right to work in an EU country or to be treated equally with EU nationals as regards conditions of work. These rights depend on their status as family members of EU nationals and on their own nationality.How do you get a job in Europe as a non EU? ›
If you belong to a country that is part of the EU, then there are no restrictions and you can work in any EU country without a work visa. However, if you are not a citizen of any EU country, you should get a work visa to search for a job and work in any European country.
- ST LUCIA. St Lucia launched its citizenship-by-investment program in 2016.
- DOMINICA. Dominica established its citizenship-by-investment program in 1993. ...
- GRENADA. ...
- ANTIGUA & BARBUDA.
- TURKEY. ...
- MONTENEGRO. ...
- MALTA. ...
Italian citizenship by descent is one of the easiest to obtain. You may be eligible for citizenship if you have Italian heritage. To acquire citizenship, you must have an ancestor who was a citizen of Italy on March 17th, 1861 or was born in the country after that.Which country hires foreigners easily? ›
Cambodia is not only the easiest country to get a work visa, it's also one of the best countries to get a work visa! The popular business visa is easily renewable and you'll be surrounded by other expats, living and working in a paradise, surrounded by fascinating history and culture.
Which are the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US? Portugal, Malta and Spain are some of the easiest countries to relocate to from the United States. American citizens can either gain permanent residency or apply for citizenships via each country's Citizenship by Invest programs.Where is the best place for an American to live in Europe? ›
If you can handle the cold, Germany and the Netherlands are two of the most popular countries for expats, both offering international communities and unique residency options. Switzerland: Although many European countries offer a better quality of life than the U.S., Switzerland takes the cake.How can I work in Europe as an American? ›
American citizens have no automatic right to work in Europe. You can stay for a maximum of 90 days on a tourist visa but must apply for an EU work permit in your destination country to take up employment.
Can non-EU citizens work in Italy? ›
There are three different ways to have a non-EU citizen in Italy for business/working reasons: with an employment contract (hiring and Italian payroll); with an international secondment or; with a business visa (only for business activities, work is not allowed), trough an invitation letter.How can I move to Europe without a job? ›
The best way to move to Europe without a job is by getting a student visa and studying there. Whether it's for your Bachelor's or Master's or even just a language school, this is the most common and easiest entrance into a lot of countries in Europe.Which European country is best for unskilled workers? ›
- Laundry assistants.
- General cleaners.
- Bus drivers.
- Seasonal workers.
- Bar and restaurant staff.
Employment rate in the European Union in 2022, by country.
- The 15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Live In. Romania. Bulgaria. Hungary. Poland. Latvia. Lithuania. Slovakia. Croatia. Czech Republic. Portugal. Greece. Estonia. Slovenia. Spain. Italy.
The picturesque Greek Island of Antikythera has a population of around 20 residents and is paying people to move there. If chosen to be part of the program, people will be given land, a house, and a monthly stipend of about $565, or around ₹45,000, for the first three years.
The living criteria are fulfilled by spending only 35 days in the country within the five years of your investment. In comparison, Malta has one of the fastest citizenship programs in the EU—only a year after your investment is finalized. However, it comes at a higher price of €750,000.Which country sells citizenship? ›
Many countries worldwide offer citizenship by investment programs, including but not limited to Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece, Vanuatu, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica, among others.What is the strongest citizenship in the world? ›
Which countries have the most powerful passports? Just below Japan, with visa-free access to 192 destinations, come South Korea and Singapore in joint second place. In third are Germany and Spain with visa-free access to 190 different destinations followed by Finland, Italy and Luxembourg with a score of 189.What is the most powerful passport? ›
According to the 2023 Henley Passport Index, Japan is the world's most powerful passport. This month, the International Air Transport Association released the 2023 Henley Passport Index, which reveals the world's most powerful passports.
Which country gets job easily? ›
According to World Rankings, some of the top countries that have the highest job prospects and scored well on their Opportunity Index include Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, Australia, and more.Which countries easily give work permit? ›
- The Netherlands. The Netherlands is known for the work-life balance that it offers. ...
- Germany. ...
- Australia. ...
- Singapore. ...
- Canada. ...
- New Zealand. ...
- FAQs on Countries Where it is Easy to Get a Work Visa.
- The Netherlands. The Netherlands has a flexible attitude to work visas. ...
- Cambodia. Another favourite of the expat community, Cambodia is one of the most popular destinations for relocated workers. ...
- Germany. ...
And you don't need to go broke while living and working there, because Costa Rica is one of the cheapest countries to live in for Americans. Bargain flights from the US can also be found easily, making a trip to Costa Rica even more attractive.
- Canada. If you have your heart set on living in North America but don't qualify for any visas in the United States, their neighbor to the North might be a good choice for you. ...
- France. ...
- The Caribbean. ...
- Spain. ...
- Mexico. ...
- Croatia. ...
Refugee Agency lists just 426 American refugees in 2021, with Germany, the U.K. and Canada being their top destinations. That's vanishingly small compared with 6.8 million from Syria, 2.7 million from Afghanistan or 2.4 million from South Sudan.Which European country is friendliest to Americans? ›
1. Ireland. Countless global reports have continually dubbed the people of Ireland as some of the friendliest and most welcoming to visitors in the world, and our readers feel the same; voting it into the top spot for the friendliest countries in Europe.Which US city is most like Europe? ›
New Orleans, Louisiana
Settled by the French, turned over to the Spaniards, then passing back through French hands before landing in America's lap, New Orleans might be the most outwardly European city in the nation.
Depending on your preferences, some of the best countries in Europe to move to are Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Malta. With warmer climates, friendly people, and a more relaxed way of life, these places are favorites for America's citizens to relocate to.Is it hard to live in Europe as an American? ›
Most European countries have difficult paths to residency but don't worry, there are still plenty of countries with long-term living options. There are 16 European countries that are easiest for U.S. citizens to move to, including popular destinations like Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia.
How can an American legally live in Europe? ›
Options for Moving to Europe: To legally reside in a European country long term, you need a foreign residence and/or work permit. The first step is usually applying for a visa from your home country. Once approved, that visa allows you to enter the country you're moving to with your U.S. passport.How long can non-EU citizens stay in EU? ›
You can stay up to 90 days in a 180-day period in each of these countries without a visa.Can I work in Italy for an American company? ›
You can work in Italy for a foreign company as long as you comply with local regulations. This includes having an appropriate visa and a work permit. When living in Italy long-term, you will also be subject to taxes in Italy. Working remotely in one country and living in another isn't that easy.Can I just up and move to Italy? ›
American citizens can move to Italy, with some caveats, as with any country. If your parents or grandparents were born in Italy and immigrated to the U.S., you can get an Italian passport, which grants you the right to live in Italy without going through the extra hurdle of getting a visa and/or permanent residence.How long can a US citizen live in Europe? ›
With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.Where can I live in Europe without a visa? ›
These are Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. What is this? These Schengen countries have a border-free visa agreement that lets residents move throughout the Area without needing to show their passport every time they cross a border.What is the easiest way to immigrate to Europe? ›
You should always apply for a visa or residence permit directly from the authorities of the EU country you plan to move to. There's no EU institution that handles applications or issues visas or residence permits on behalf of individual countries.Which EU countries grant citizenship to the most people? ›
Five countries account for almost three quarters (74%) of new citizenships granted in 2020: Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Sweden. Italy granted citizenship to 131,800 individuals, some 18 percent of the EU's total.What is the fastest way to get EU citizenship? ›
The preferred and easiest way to apply for European citizenship is through your ancestry or descent. If you have parents, grandparents, and in some cases, even great grandparents from any of the EU countries like Poland, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, and many others, you can apply for citizenship.Which European country gives fastest permanent residency easily? ›
The Golden visa program in Spain provides investors with an opportunity to obtain residency permits in 2—3 months. This is the fastest residency-by-investment program in the EU. Ten years after acquiring their residence permit, investors can apply for a permanent residency.
What is the cheapest European citizenship? ›
What is the cheapest EU golden visa? Malta's new Permanent Residency Program (MPRP) could be Europe's cheapest Golden Visa program. The basic cost is just €100,000. This is not an investment, but instead a donation to the government.Which citizenship is most powerful? ›
According to the report released on 10 January, Japan continues to top the list of the world's most powerful passport. Japanese citizens can travel to as many as 193 countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival access destinations around the world.How can an American become EU citizen? ›
There are several ways of claiming or applying for citizenship in Europe as an American: You can have citizenship by descent, by naturalization, by investment, or by exception. Citizenship by descent requires you to have a family history tied to the second nation.How many countries are waiting to join the EU? ›
There are eight recognised candidates for membership of the European Union: Turkey (since 1999), North Macedonia (2005), Montenegro (2010), Serbia (2012), Albania (2014), Moldova (2022), Ukraine (2022), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2022).Which EU countries give visa easily? ›
- Lithuania. Lithuania is one of the easiest European countries to get a visa. ...
- Estonia. Estonia is next on the list of the easiest countries to get a visa in Europe. ...
- Finland. ...
- Iceland. ...
- Slovakia. ...
- Latvia. ...
- Czech Republic.
Canada. Having garnered a reputation for being one of the most welcoming countries for immigrants and being ranked as one of the most liveable places in the world, Canada is definitely the best and easiest country to immigrate to.Which EU country can you buy citizenship? ›
After a few years of permanent residence, you can get a permanent residence permit, then citizenship. Citizenship by investment is offered only by two EU countries: Malta and Bulgaria.Which European passports are easiest? ›
Ireland, Portugal, and Italy give citizenship easily if you have the right ancestry. Malta gives citizenship easily if you have enough money for its citizenship by investment program. Portugal give citizenship easily (even without Portuguese heritage), if you maintain residency in the country for five years.Which country gives free permanent residency easily? ›