That long-held dream of packing up and working from a far-flung destination has, for many of us, suddenly come within reach.
Post-pandemic, the rulebook of work is being ripped up and re-made. Big tech companies are making it possible for their people to work remotely for extended periods of time – or even all of the time – and EU member states themselves are introducing new legislation to allow for flexible and remote working for their own citizens or creating “digital nomad” visas to welcome foreign remote workers.
Portugal introduced new legislation in December 2021 which included the right for workers not to be contacted outside working hours and both Italy and Estonia have introduced new digital nomad legislation to encourage people to live in their countries and work remotely for companies located elsewhere.
As travel restrictions have eased, work-related migration flows have also started to recover. A June 2022 report from Indeed Hiring Lab across Europe’s largest economies looks at the issuance of work-related visas, and notes that it has bounced back from pandemic lows in 2021.
The report also says that Europeans are increasingly searching for jobs outside their home countries, both within Europe and out, and that jobseekers outside Europe are increasingly searching for jobs in Europe too. “This suggests pent-up demand for moving across borders for work, which may make recruitment easier for employers in countries and sectors that rely on migrant workers”, the report says.
According to Indeed, from January to April 2022, Europe was the destination for 62% of cross-border searches by Europeans. So, where are the top destinations for Europeans looking to move to for remote working?
A 2021 report from Expat Insider looked at 33 cities on the European continent for its Expat City Ranking; these five came out on top.
This southern Spanish city scored the top spot in Europe for a number of reasons. “The locals are friendly and cheerful people,” says a worker from the UK. It has an affordable cost of living, it is easy to find affordable accommodation and post-work, it is a great place for socialising and leisure. “Málaga has everything to offer for downtime,” says another foreign worker. The stellar weather is another big point in its favour which helps to offset the downsides: access to job opportunities and career progression is not as strong here as in other cities.
One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Prague is building on its reputation as a tourist destination and adding to that with newfound tech hub status which specialises in cybersecurity. You can check out jobs at Avast, a cybersecurity software firm that is one of its big successes, as was Apiary.io, which provides tools for companies to build their own APIs. Since being bought by Oracle, it has moved its base of operations to San Francisco, but there are plenty more startups and scaleups here, which makes the city a great place to move to for work and to further a career. Centrally located in Europe, this makes Prague a good base for travel and it enjoys a cheaper cost of living than other neighbouring countries too.
The Swiss city of Basel has lots to recommend it in infrastructure terms: A foreign worker noted that,“The public transportation system is excellent – there is no need to own a car.” It is a very safe city, however the cost of living is high here and some foreign workers find it hard to integrate. As a location for career opportunities, it has a lot to offer: Basel is a leading healthcare and life science hub, and is home to more than 700 life sciences companies, 1,000 research groups, and an emerging health tech sector. Right now, there is a Software Developer (m/w) role available at yellowshark in the city. You’ll be designing and implementing new solutions, and analysing requirements and developing suitable solutions as well as participating in exciting cloud projects.
Another Spanish city scores highly on the Expat City Ranking and that is Madrid. Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon all have presences here as do IBM and Google. The city scores highly with those who move here to pursue work thanks to a number of factors: good weather, healthcare access and friendliness towards foreign residents are all key elements. “The locals are quite friendly to foreigners, even when they struggle with the local language,” says one expat. Hubspot, the CRM company, recently opened offices in both Madrid and Barcelona, and you can check out its open roles here.
The Austrian capital has a good startup infrastructure with plenty of coworking spaces and accelerators, which provide vital support for entrepreneurs. Vienna counts mySugr, Runtastic, Bitpanda, and ready2order among its success stories. Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and big data are the dominant tech trends among companies here, and there are over 290 startups in the city, leading foreign workers to flock here to find opportunities. “I like that I have a good job with a great work-life balance and that it is fairly paid,” says a Russian worker.