Kieron O’Connor: Working as an Expatriate in Luxembourg

The workforce in the Grand Duchy is continuing to grow, with an additional 20,000 more people expected to arrive in 2016 alone. While some of the new jobs will be filled by people already here, most will be filled by expatriates moving to Luxembourg for the first time.

Going back 15, 20, 25, 30 years, the main reason for expatriates moving to the Grand Duchy was to work directly or indirectly for the European Institutions here – the European Commission, European Parliament, European Investment Bank, European Court of Justice and European Court of Auditors; then the financial service centre started to grow, particularly in asset management, with many people starting at ground level and working their way up. After the financial crash in 2008/09, the market evolved and more specialist positions, including risk management, needed to be filled. At the same time, the ICT sector was evolving, with the gaming sector, online payments and eCommerce attracting more and more staff.

So, how is working abroad as an expatriate differ from working at home? Technically there may be no difference, but socially there are massive changes. Not only are you more likely to work in a more multi-cultural and multi-lingual environment, but you are faced with similar challenges socially too. You may not have as extensive linguistic skills as many already here, but this presents the opportunity to present yourself with a new skill-set.

You have left behind your friends and you need to acquaint yourself with new ways of doing things, including renting/buying accommodation, changing driving licences and buying a new car (or re-registering one that may be a right-hand-drive). You will probably need to get a local phone, so you need to look through the different account possibilities, as well as looking at getting Internet at home, posing the question of getting a fixed telephone line or a mobile wifi router… And there is the challenge of shopping in supermarkets and trying to find what you are used to back home….

Some companies use relocation agents to help staff settle in when arriving, but often it is the employment agency that can point you in the right direction, answering at least some of the questions you may have when moving to Luxembourg to start a new job…