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Transferring unemployment benefits to other EU countries

Jobseeking abroad is possible


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in employment


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In these recessionary times, many people cannot source work in Ireland and have to go abroad to get jobs. This can be stressful enough in itself, but money worries can make it even more stressful. Most people assume that they are no longer entitled to their jobseekers allowance/unemployment benefit when they emigrate, however EU citizens are actually still eligible for unemployment benefits in most circumstances, as long as they stay within the EU.

If you are unemployed and move to another EU country for work, you can claim unemployment benefit in your home country while you search for a new job in another EU country. You may claim for up to three months. Some job centres may allow you to claim for up to six months, so check out your local job centre’s policies. Anyone that has been registered as an unemployed jobseeker for at least four weeks can apply.

How to claim

  • Send off for a U2 form before you leave your country of origin.
  • Register as a jobseeker in your new country of residence.
  • Fill in your U2 form and submit it to the national unemployment agency in your new country.
  • If you are staying abroad for more than three months, you can apply for a benefit extension from your country of origin.
  • If you return to the country that pays your unemployment benefits before the end of the period specified on your U2 form, you will still continue to receive the unemployment benefits you have been granted.
  • If you are unsuccessful in sourcing work abroad, you can return home and then go look for a job in another country. However you would need to fill in a new E2 form to be able to claim unemployment benefit again.
  • If you stay aboard for longer than three months (or six months if agreed with your local job centre) and do not claim an extension on your benefits, you will lose your right to all unemployment benefits as soon as the period stated on the U2 form ends.
  • If you would like to find out more about transferring unemployment benefits, click here to go to the Your Europe factsheet.
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Published March 11th, 2013
Last updated November 28th, 2016
Tags jobseeker benefits working abroad
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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