There is a thriving TEFL job market in most of the bigger countries in Western Europe. Unfortunately, almost all countries are now part of the European Union (EU) so it is virtually impossible for Americans/Canadians to find legal jobs in most EU countries unless they hold or can obtain an EU passport. In spite of this, many Americans and Canadians still work, usually illegally, in EU countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece. Most teach in the less reputable schools with poor working conditions and no job security. They have to pay their own airfare and find their own housing.
The best countries for non-EU citizens who want to try for a legal job in Western Europe are Italy and Germany. Italy is currently experiencing an EFL boom and work permit restrictions have recently been eased. Germany has always been comparatively liberal with regard to the issuing of work permits to non-EU citizens and particularly to US citizens.
North Americans with an EU passport are in great demand for legal jobs. However, even they cannot usually arrange jobs in advance, and so have to travel to Europe for interview and to confirm jobs.
TEFL Job Tip: Western Europe
If you have a parent (or even a grandparent) from an EU country, you may be able to obtain an EU passport. Contact the local consulate of the relevant country. The process takes months but it is worth considering if you really want to work in Western Europe.
Two other points are important when considering teaching in W. Europe:
- Most TEFL jobs start in either October (75%) or January (20%)
- The CELTA and the Trinity College TESOL Cert. are the only TEFL certificates widely recognized by employers in Western Europe.
Many Central and Eastern European countries joined the EU in January 2005. These countries will eventually apply the same work-permit restrictions as other EU countries. However, in most cases, it will be several years before the new restrictions are introduced.
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