Hello to all from sunny Portugal! 🙂 My name is Anja. I live and work for a year in Portugal as a full stack developer in a big IT company. I want to tell you my story about finding a job in Europe and moving to a beautiful sunny country!
I’ve been thinking about moving to Europe since I was a little girl. I never liked the climate in Russia, and the Moscow pace absolutely did not suit me. In 2016 I graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in mathematics and computer science and got my first job. It was then that I became familiar with the working conditions in Russia and the absolute social insecurity.
By the end of 2017, our department was downsized, and I went free-floating. I tried freelancing, did turnkey projects, enrolled in English courses to improve my speaking skills. Around the same time, I got in touch with a former classmate, and I found out that she lived in Italy for three years. She moved here with a work visa and soon plans to get citizenship. Immediately I remembered my childhood dreams about life by the ocean. Then it seemed to be something not serious, but what prevents me now? After thinking it over carefully, I decided that next year I will definitely move to Europe!
First steps to a new life
Earning is great, but to succeed, you have to think it through carefully. And it was definitely worth starting with a detailed plan. I spent the first few months reading the forums, looking at tutorials, and talking to other emigrants online. It turned out to be a lot easier than it looks! To summarize, all I have to do is find a job in an EU country. Once I had the labor contract, I could apply for a residence permit and then citizenship.
There were two important questions that I had to deal with: the choice of the country of immigration and, of course, the search for a suitable job.
Choosing a country for immigration
I initially looked toward central Europe, like everyone else. Agreed, German or Austrian citizenship sounds tempting. But all my dreams of a life in Paris were shattered by the harsh reality that it is almost impossible to get into central European countries through labor immigration. I foresee a reasonable question: “Aren’t there any good specialists in demand there? Of course, they are, but there is one difficulty on the employer’s side.
If you look at it from the applicant’s point of view, the whole process of job search and employment in Germany is simple and trivial: you place a vacancy or contact the employer directly, have a successful interview. You are ready to apply for a work visa. But on the part of your employer, there is a complicated and lengthy legal process, during which he has to provide arguments as to why he needs exactly you, and not any other local specialist. And here we come to the very problem: The Central European IT market is so saturated, and the quota for foreign workers is so small that it is not profitable for your potential employer to look for specialists abroad.
The sad thing is that I understand this now, but no one explained it to me in 2019. I kept sending out resumes and letters to dozens of offices, and in response, I would get a message that they would definitely consider my candidacy and contact me soon. Needless to say, no one showed up after that.
This is how the next two months went. A new job opening, and my response, followed by the usual “we’ll call you back.” My hands started to droop, and I seriously began to think that it was a mistake.
In the meantime, I kept on talking to the guys in the thematic forums and groups on FB by inertia. Naturally, I shared my problems and, suddenly, my luck decided to smile on me. I met a girl who had found a job in Portugal and lived in Lisbon for two years. That’s when she made me realize that I shouldn’t get hung up on a popular destination
Cooperation with MoveToCascais and first success
By the time I had decided to look for a job in Portugal, I no longer had any desire to learn the ins and outs of the process. The last two months had cooled down my confidence, and I made the most important decision of my whole move to Portugal – to go to the experts in my field. In the first place, of course, I started looking for a recruiting agency.
After several unsuccessful conversations with the employees of various agencies, I absolutely accidentally came across a mention of service MoveToCascais – a consulting agency that offers assistance in moving to Portugal.
The first consultation immediately put everything in its place. During one hour of a telephone conversation, I learned everything that I could not understand for the last two months. How could I find a job in Europe? What kind of visa was good for labor immigration? How to find my first home in Portugal? For all of these questions, I was given a brief and very informative answer. I will answer all of these questions further down the line.
With the guys at MoveToCascais, we are still working to this day. Any problem I had was solved within minutes – all from a remote location! With them, I found my first job in Portugal in just two weeks. All in all, if you don’t want to waste your time, I highly recommend using a consulting agency.
How to find a job in Europe and get a work visa?
Let’s talk more about the hardest question you might encounter with labor immigration: how to find a job in Europe? In fact, it’s quite simple if you know what to do.
The first thing you need to do is compose a suitable resume and cover letter. On the //insert link// portal, you can find a template to follow. Fill out all the fields, and the CW is done!
Okay, we have our CV and letter, but where do we look for openings? You have a couple of options from here:
- The first and most common option is to use specialized job resources.
It’s the same as with similar Russian job portals: you register your profile, upload CW and search for the right jobs. Why is this method good? First, it is absolutely free. Also, company managers are always looking at new resumes, so you get regular updates.
Now here’s the fly in the ointment. Unfortunately, the best jobs don’t show up on these sites. You will be receiving dozens of low-paying job offers in remote parts of the country, but it will be hard to find anything really worthwhile. The reason for this is simple: the competition is overwhelming. Even if such a vacancy appears on the resource, a hundred responses from applicants with more experience will be accumulated in the first hours. In addition, large companies mostly recruit through recruiting agencies we will talk about.
- Researching for a job through a recruiting agency
Surely the most secure method of all. The principle is straightforward. You would have a short interview with the agency manager. Based on the interview result, your profile would be prepared, added to the database of potential candidates, and then proposed to prospective employers.
You might ask, “why is looking for a job through an agency the best option?” The biggest plus is that your job search is handled by a professional. You have no idea how many trivial mistakes can be made at the stage of the first dialogue with the employer. This will not happen here. In addition, as I have already written above, many large companies start their search for new staff through recruiting agencies, so you will always be among the first candidates for a job. If you add it all up, you’ll likely find a new job in as little as a week. I, in turn, did it in two.
- Finding a job “on the spot.”
Frequently, I encounter a common opinion that the fastest way to find a job in another country is to look for one on the spot. It looks something like this: you go to a foreign country on a tourist visa without knowing the language, type CW, and go to the offices to propose your candidacy in person. Of course, you might get lucky and find the job of your dreams, but most likely, it will just be a waste of time. If you have a student visa and are at the end of your degree or language school, it is wise to look for a job on the spot. Then for many employers, your education or language skills will be a plus.
Well, to summarize all of the above. Always combine active and passive job hunting. If you want a guaranteed job in Europe, I strongly recommend you look into a recruiting agency’s services. In this case, your chances of getting a good job will increase many times over. And, of course, don’t forget to post your CW on job search portals.
Labor immigration to Portugal. Getting a Visa.
Back to my story. As I wrote above, finally, I found a job in Europe, and the last step was to apply for a work visa. As I found out from the MoveToCascais consultants, there are two types of work visas:
- D1 is an ordinary work visa. There are no special requirements for its obtainment, except for the standard set of documents and availability of the employment contract.
- D3 – visa for highly qualified specialists. Here everything is a little bit more complicated. Even if you have an employment contract, you also need to meet several criteria, namely:
- Your salary must be at least 1.5 times the minimum salary in Portugal.
- You must have professional qualifications related to the activities that are specified in your employment contract. In some exceptional cases, you may need confirmation from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, which will assess your qualifications.
I was going on a D3 visa – for highly skilled professionals. At first, I thought it was a bad idea, and I should have chosen an ordinary work visa, but as it turned out, in fact, everything is much easier. Let’s look in detail at the requirements to obtain it.
- Wage must be at least 1.5 times the minimum salary in Portugal.
It’s quite simple. IT salaries in Portugal starting at €1,400 per month, and that’s the bar you need to meet. Considering that the average salary in the country is 1200 euros per month, this requirement should be no problem.
- You should have a professional qualification related to the activity that is stated in your employment contract.
For many, the scariest point 🙂 To decipher, you are required to have a graduate degree in your field of study. The main condition is that your university must be internationally accredited.
When all the basic and additional conditions for obtaining a visa are met, there remains a short interview, after which you only have to wait for the approval. Usually, the whole process of getting a visa takes a maximum of two months. In my case, it took one and a half.
EU Blue Card
Many people wonder why a highly skilled person even needs a visa.
The main advantage that this permit provides is the opportunity to participate in the EU Blue Card – the equivalent of an ordinary Portugal residence permit, which gives the resident a number of advantages. Among them:
- You are entitled to the same working conditions and wages as EU citizens.
- If your work contract has expired, you will have 3 months to find a new job. And it is possible to look for it not only in Portugal but also throughout the EU.
- The Blue Card will also simplify immigration for your spouse: he or she will be immediately granted residency status even without a work contract.
- And of course the best part. The period after which you can apply for citizenship is significantly shortened for you. Instead of the standard 5 years, you can apply in as little as 21 months.
Apply for the program as you would for a regular residence permit – one month after arrival. This takes three months in total. The Blue Card itself can take up to six months, but it is much faster in most cases.
The Beginning of a New Life
After receiving my visa I traveled to Portugal. I initially perceived this country as the first step to my future life in the EU, but everything changed when I visited Lisbon for the first time. At first sight, I fell in love with this beautiful ancient city: its cozy streets, the beautiful view of the ocean, and, of course, the local people. If you have never been to Portugal, I highly recommend you visit this wonderful country. I live in Portugal for the second year now, and I am planning to apply for citizenship soon – the EU blue card allows me to do it in only 21 months. I am thrilled that I decided to move to this beautiful country, and once I get my citizenship, I don’t plan to go anywhere. I hope it works out for you too. And, remember, it’s always worth going after your dreams, because nothing in the world is impossible!
Know why moving to PORTUGAL is a great solution for 2021.
*The material reflects the story of the hero of the article as interpreted by the author; concerning the described methods and processes of obtaining a residence permit – they may not coincide with the actual opinion of the editors of move to cascais on this subject.