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My husband and I would like to relocate to Europe for several years. Our lives are busy and we would like to give our children (11 and 4) some real culture and change in pace. Having visited Ireland and the UK we know that those would be at the top of our list. Germany & the Netherlands would come in close behind.

My husband has a very stable job with a good income in the states and we would like for him to keep this position. He has the ability to work remotely from anywhere. However, with the research I've done it looks like this might be impossible. His company does own a small company outside of Amsterdam that we had hoped would allow them to somehow sponsor a work Visa but its not looking like that would be possible.

Does anyone have ideas on how to make the situation work like we hope it will or which route to take in trying to find a position with a European company that will sponsor a visa? He is a software engineer, so in most countries he would qualify for a "critical skills" position.

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    If his company would hire him as a contractor, he might be able to incorporate in Europe as an entrepreneur and get permission to stay and work thereby. I believe this was possible in the Netherlands, at least, around 15 or 20 years ago. See ind.nl/EN/individuals/residence-wizard/work/…, which also mentions the Dutch-American friendship treaty. – phoog Apr 26 '16 at 4:45
  • What about this: make-it-in-germany.com/en/for-qualified-professionals/visa/… Take a look, it is in Germany! – HelloWorldGuy Aug 5 '17 at 12:11
  • You should consider asking around on news.ycombinator.com under AskHN. A lot of people frequent that site who have experience of international remote working in software. – user16259 Oct 27 '17 at 14:03
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Well you've got several barriers regarding your basic plan. For one, most countries set up immigration schemes with the idea that the immigrant will come and stay (immigrate). Temporary schemes are meant to fulfill local/regional requirements and are normally very short term. There isn't really an in-between ground here as there is simply no reason for any country to offer such a thing, with the exception of perhaps certain cultural exchange programs (usually aimed at students) and inter company transfers, and even those are limited in duration.

Another problem here, as you seem to have uncovered in your research, is that most countries don't yet really have a good concept of remote working outside of their own country (and even remote work inside a country is still not well considered). There don't exist visas for this, or atleast none that really cover this concept completely for any of the countries you've listed, and maybe no country on earth.

This all leads to a third issue which you have alluded to, that of him trying to find a job that will sponsor him for a position. I just don't know how many companies anywhere will want someone to join for just a couple of years and leave, which sounds like what you want to do for your children to experience these varying cultures. That's a terrible investment for any company to make. There are contracting companies out there that target migrants, but this is risky 'work' and these companies are questionable in nature on several levels.

You will have to make a discrete plan and look into the details for each country specifically and decide whether this is really a viable route for you and your family. You said you already live busy lives. It's hard for me to imagine that dealing with a stream of immigration applications after immigration application after immigration application will help that aspect of your life in this regards.

  • Seems to me that software developers very often work on short-term and medium-term projects, and as long as a developer doesn't drop out during a project, it's generally neither a problem, nor unusual, for employees to come and go like that. So almost all of your comments about what's usual and a country or company having "no reason" to allow such a thing, don't make much sense to me. – Dronz May 29 '16 at 15:47
  • Well sorry, but countries aren't interested in what makes sense to you. If a country wants skilled immigrants to add to their culture and society, then that is what immigration tracks they are going to offer. If they want temporary skilled labor for local/regional positions, then that is what they will offer up. Other routes are available as a nation sees fit. The problem the OP has is that no country really offers a 'come and work remotely' visa. The reasons for this may vary, but the most fundamental reason is probably that it is just not in their best interests at this point in time. – ouflak May 29 '16 at 18:59
  • For a permanent job, no company is interested in somebody who is just going to 'come and go'. It's a big investment to hire a permanent skilled professional position, especially in the UK and Germany with their respective labor laws. Contract work is obviously a different sort of working altogether, no matter what the field. But the contracting companies in the UK notoriously disreputable and far too many prospective employees find themselves out thousands of pounds and in deep immigration trouble. They are flat out illegal in Germany. If this doesn't make sense to you, that is your problem. – ouflak May 29 '16 at 19:03
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    I just want to add that it is the contracting companies that target overseas migrants that have a terrible reputation and put prospective immigrants in bad positions. The local contracting firms are normally of the high standards one would come to expect for the kind of work they try to meet the demands for. – ouflak May 29 '16 at 19:06
  • Looking at the Irish web site on visas etc., it looks to me like they do. Seems like they just want to talk to Garda about your intent and show that you can support yourself. – Dronz May 30 '16 at 14:52

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