June 07, 2016 - Comments Off on Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part I – Luxembourg

Milburn Lewis – Making the Move Blog. Part I – Luxembourg

Milburn Lewis is a recruitment business that conducts cross border searches for our clients, the Big 4 and other international accountancy firms. Most of the professionals we work with are not just considering a career move, but also relocation.

Today we launch our Making the Move Blog (which can also be found on our website www.milburnlewis.com) with a look at Luxembourg.

Welcome to Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of Europe’s hidden gems. In addition to living in one of Europe’s most beautiful and historic countries, the residents of Luxembourg enjoy an excellent work/life balance, a diverse culture and easy access to the rest of Western Europe.

Luxembourg is at the heart of Europe, both metaphorically and literally. It is a landlocked country that borders Belgium, France, and Germany, giving professionals the opportunity to gain valuable experience in Luxembourg but also across Europe’s largest markets.

Luxembourg is one of Europe’s smallest countries at just under 2,600 km2; around two-thirds the size of Rhode Island – the USA’s smallest state. The total population is circa 560,000, with roughly a third classified as immigrants.

There are three official languages: French, German, and Luxembourgish. English is widely spoken, particularly in the workplace.The polyglot nature of Luxembourg means that most newcomers will find it relatively easy to make the transition and assimilate into Luxembourgish culture.

There is a healthy immigrant community throughout Luxembourg. Luxembourg attracts professionals from all over the world, so it is highly likely that wherever you come from, you will be able to find fellow expats from your country of origin. And, if you’re Portuguese you’ll really feel at home with 15% of the country’s inhabitants (over 1/3 of all immigrants) coming from Portuguese ancestry.

People are always asking us about the weather. Unsurprisingly, Luxembourg has a similar climate to the rest of Northern Europe. Having an oceanic climate, its summers are characterised as being cool, and its winters as being relatively mild. If you’re looking for a year-long tan, then Luxembourg might not be for you. However, we have been told that the climate “is a perfect fit for the picturesque country”.

Working in Luxembourg

All the major international accountancy firms have a strong presence in Luxembourg and it is a country that offers a great deal for career advancement in both the audit and advisory spaces.

Featuring a solid economy and excellent work-life balance, we believe that Luxembourg has the potential to attract top-level talent. On offer is one of Europe’s most culturally diverse, economically strong, and totally beautiful countries. The career development prospects with our clients in Luxembourg are strong too.

Politics and the Economy

Luxembourg enjoys a stable, prosperous political system and economy.

The state is governed by a Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy (similar to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Head of State is His Royal Highness Henri, The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and its head of government is currently Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. Like in most monarchies across Europe, the role of monarch in Luxembourg is now almost totally symbolic, and the Grand Duke no longer has any formal role in the legislative process.

Luxembourg has long been a prominent member and strong advocate for the European Union. In fact, Luxembourg was a signatory of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which was the first incarnation of the EU. Professionals holding citizenship of a fellow EU country have the right to live and work in Luxembourg without the need of a visa.

The economy is frequently characterised as being strong and stable. Its primary industries are banking, steel, real estate, and industrial. The strength of the Luxembourgish economy was demonstrated in the aftermath of the 2008 Recession, with it surviving relatively unharmed – especially when compared to some of the larger European economies. This resilience is valued by our clients and continues to help drive the growth in their businesses. In 2016, Luxembourg’s economy continues to be strong, with the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world.

Between 1944 and 1999, the Luxembourgish franc had the exact same value as the Belgian franc, with both currencies being accepted as legal tender throughout the country. However, in 1999, Luxembourg chose to join the “Eurozone” countries and replaced both currencies with the Euro. This again makes it easier to travel across Europe, with over 19 EU states using the Euro as its currency.

The quality of life one can expect in Luxembourg is very good. According to the EU, Luxembourg has the highest minimum legal salary in the EU, and the second highest in the world after Australia. In 2013, it was €1,874.90 ($2,404) per month or €10.83 ($13.89) per hour for unqualified workers over 18. These minimum wages are reflected in the higher salaries professionals can earn in Luxembourg. The prospects of finding a role are also positive, with Luxembourg’s average unemployment rate of 3.3% between 1982 and 2013 rating as the lowest in Europe.

The Practicalities: Right to Work

Citizens of EU member countries do not require a visa or work permit in order to reside or gain employment. However, if you are a non-EU citizen the process is more complicated. It is important to note that it is not impossible. Under Luxembourgish law, non-EU migrants must apply for both a visa and work permit prior to arrival in Luxembourg.

If a non-EU candidate is offered a position, they are required to apply for a “temporary residence permit”, which will be sponsored by their future employer. This process can be completed at any local Luxembourgish consulate or embassy. However, if individuals do not have an embassy or consulate available in their country, these services can be accessed at either a Dutch or Belgian embassy.

Professionals looking to stay longer than a year, (i.e. the vast majority of our appointments), are required to apply for a “foreigner’s identity card” and register with the communal administration. After a period of 10 years living and working in Luxembourg, they can then apply for citizenship as long as they are fluent in all three of the official languages.

Concluding Remarks: Luxembourg

Luxembourg offers a compelling career choice for many of the professionals we work with. If you’re committed to a move to Luxembourg, or simply curious to know more about our clients and the roles they are hiring for, email info@milburnlewis.com

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