What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Tilburg is a town (pop. 180,000-200,000), situated in the North Brabant prov., South of Netherlands, near the Belgian border. Woolen textiles are the primary manufactured products. It is the site of the Catholic School of Economics and of the University of Tilburg. There aren't any international or large companies operating in the area. Most of the businesses are local owned: constructions, engineering, electrical, supply and logistics.
Most of the people here find their jobs through the Employment Agencies, but, again, the main requirement is to master Dutch language. You don't master it, don't come here. Unless you have plenty of cash to spend.
What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?
I work as a master researcher for UvT (that's the acronym for Tilburg University) doing a research project on International and European Law (Migration issues).
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How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?
Being an citizen of an EU member state I did not need a special work permit. I did apply though to the local Town Hall for registration, as soon as I had my rent contract signed and validated (mandatory procedure for anyone who is not Dutch, willing to settle in a Dutch community).
For those who need to apply for a work permit, in case your Dutch employer has not applied on your behalf, you can apply yourselves at the local immigration and naturalization office which is located in Den Bosh (cca 20 Km from Tilburg).
Advice for non-EU citizens: Do not attempt to apply for resident and/or working visa/permit in NL unless:
1. You have an employment contract from a Dutch/international firm in NL;
2. You are a highly skilled professional (master level or above) in fields that NL does need to fill up.
3. You are already or going to marry a Dutch citizen or a Long-term resident in NL.
Do not seek employment in smaller cities/town which do not have international companies if you don't speak good enough Dutch. Although Dutch people (on average) do speak English pretty good, the need for non-Dutch speaking employees is very low (almost non existing).
Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?
I've began studying Dutch before leaving my home country. I've worked on the language skills for about 4 months before I've arrived here, then with the day-by-day exercise with the neighbors and at the University, my Dutch got better and better.
If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?
Nope, no transfer from abroad. Just enrolled myself for this master research programme, paid the costs, and providing for myself and my family from our own saving account (at least until I complete this programme in summer). After that, we will move out of this area as there are no chances of finding employment in my field of expertise (although I am pretty good in Dutch).
What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?
Unless you are pretty good in your profession and your profession is in demand on the Dutch employment market, I would not advise anyone to move down here, in Southern part of NL, except in the area of Eindhoven and Maastricht where there are more chances for securing a job.