Working In Mainland Europe And Living In The UK (Or Vice Versa)

TransferWise content team
3 minute read

One of the major benefits of having EU citizenship is the entitlement to work anywhere else in the EU without needing a visa.

This freedom of movement has meant that millions of UK citizens are now holding down jobs in other EU countries - and vice versa. While EU residents are lucky with the simplicity of the system, compared to people from other countries who need copious amounts of paperwork and visas, there are still various factors to take into consideration when it comes to payment and tax.

If you work abroad, or it’s something you’re considering, then take a look at our short guide - it will give you some pointers as to the sorts of things you will want to be aware of, depending on your situation.

Working Remotely For A Company Abroad

Many EU citizens are resident in one country, but work remotely for a company based in another country. EU law is quite straightforward in this case: As a general rule, you are subject to the laws of the country in which you are a resident. If you live in the UK, even if you get paid by a French or German company in euros, you are still liable for UK tax.

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Taking A Secondment Abroad

This is another very common situation, especially for people who work for large multi-national companies. If your company normally operates in two or more EEA countries, or your secondment is for two years or less, then you should still keep paying your UK National Insurance contributions and tax there. If it is going to be for a longer period of time then you may be liable to pay your social security contribution to the country you are seconded to.

You will definitely want to take independent advice on this, as it may affect your future finances and pension.

Commuting Between Countries

If you are going to be physically working in a different EU country to the one you are resident in, then the rules depend on how often you return home. If you go back once a week or more then you are defined as a “frontier worker” and it is the country where you work that is responsible for your social security benefits - this will be important if you ever need to claim unemployment benefits, and it also brings up issues around healthcare.

Working In More Than One Country

With thousands of people across the EU freelancing and traveling, the number of people who actually work in more than one country is large.

The rules are quite complex, and depend on various factors including: How much activity you do in your country of residence; whether you work for several employers in different countries; where the majority of your work takes place if you are self-employed, and whether your work is a mix of self-employment and employment. Check out the EU website for more information.

If you are a cross-country worker, and one of those countries is the UK, then the chances are that you are being paid in one currency but operating in another. And if that is the case, take a look at our guide about dealing with multiple currencies.

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