How Difficult is it for Expats to Find Work Abroad? 5 times more difficult

“Together in diversity” was the 2008 slogan of the European Union. As a journalist, I had attended many of the media events at the European Commission that year and all were focused on equality, opportunity, freedom of movement of goods and people, cultural exchange, solidarity and mutual understanding… All the good stuff. All this talk made me forget I am an immigrant, and all the negative connotations that usually go together with this definition.

Technically, all of us, expats, are, in one sense or another, immigrants. We move from country to country (especially those of us in the European Union) without any trouble, we are free to pack and leave or unpack and settle as our hearts desire. Or so we are told.

A migrant worker in Europe has to make up to five times more applications than a local resident before getting a job offer, announced the International Labour Organization earlier this week. Expats have to be 500% more active in their job search to ensure themselves the same opportunities that locals have. And who on earth would not put their 110% in their job search to begin with?! This is what ILO said “A person with an immigrant origin or appearance has to apply four or five as many times to get one positive response in any stage of the application process”… origin??? or appearance???!!!

This conclusion was made based on research done in 10 European countries – all of those countries where probably you are either living already or planning to immigrate to – France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

There is, of course, the objective argument of language, but that is pretty much the only one I can think of which can be objectively and quantitatively valid. Do you see any other?

It is sad, that in the 21st century people are still discriminated against (and I mean at all levels of the social ladder) because their family name finishes with the wrong letter.

I have had so much trouble finding a job in Barcelona. I luckily had someone who helped me tremendously, but that is by far not the typical situation. Has that happened to you? I was wondering if you had experienced some problems finding a job because you were not local? I am looking forward to your answers.


About Maria Bakardjieva

I am a licensed Social Media Strategist and Networking Coach who helps business and people position, grow and develop. I work at Explicata - an online marketing experts company. You can find us at
This entry was posted in Belgium, Пътешествия, Spain, Work in Barcelona and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Difficult is it for Expats to Find Work Abroad? 5 times more difficult

  1. Mary Mimouna says:

    I live in Morocco and jobs for foreigners are restricted. A company has to prove that a Moroccan could not do the job before being able to hire a foreigner. Thus, foreigners mostly are relegated to having their own business, or teaching English, or working in tourism, usually as undeclared workers.

  2. mbakardjieva says:

    Yeah, I heard that happening in Germany too. and I am guessing around the world. In theory the national goverments have to look out for the nation first… its horrible though

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