Working abroad with a disability: what you need to know

We’re aware that employment situation in Italy is tricky, for everyone but, even more so, for disabled people. Despite of policies that, since decades, have tried to promote the inclusion of disabled people in the world of work, there’s still a very high quote of people with disability who are unemployed. Brain drain is a reality, with so many qualified (mostly young) professional leaving Italy to look for job opportunities abroad. But, what do you have to do if, besides having to find a job, you’ve also a disability?

Working abroad disabled

If your new year resolutions include looking for a job abroad, the first thing you should keep in mind it that not all the countries have something similar to our “disability hiring quotas”. Countries such as France, Germany and Spain have laws similar to the Italian one, while others (including Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom) don’t have any “disability hiring quota”. Furthermore, there are countries (for instance, Finland) where there aren’t laws specifically aimed to the working inclusion of disabled people, because they are totally included in the society: Finland, to go on with this example, is among the countries with the highest employment rates for disabled people. In the UK (one of the favourite destinations for our “brain drainees”), since 2010 there’s a law, the Equality Act, aiming to guarantee equal opportunities for everybody (including disabled people), in every area of life, including work.

So, what has the disabled person to do when willing to look for a job abroad? First, a disabled person willing to work and, in general, leave in a foreign country, benefiting from any facilitation it would foresee for certified disabled people, must ensure to get a disability certificate compliant with that country specific laws: now, the Italian invalidity certificate isn’t enough, neither in the EU, to get hired abroad as disabled workers or benefit from allowance or other services reserved to disabled people. Then, you have to know the local law and get a disability certificate valid in that country.

But don’t panic: luckily, there are various services and associations, almost everywhere, you can ask for help and to clarify any doubt, avoiding problems. Then, if you are determined to look for a job abroad, I advise you to get as many information as you can about the specific laws in the country you’re interested in (also looking beyond work: after all, you’ll have to live there also beyond working ours, won’t you?) and, if you can, before planning the definite moving, spend some time there as a tourist to get info directly there. And don’t forget to learn well the local language or, at least English (that helps everywhere): it will boost your chances to find qualified jobs fitting with your disability!

Good luck and, should you have info about specific countries, please share them in the comments!

University and students with disability: the facilitations

Choosing the university studies represents a fundamental stage in young people life, often reached after long reflection and evaluations. That’s even more true for aspiring university students with a disability. In addition to the course of studies and the employment perspectives, they must evaluate the accessibility of the building itself and of the city they’ve chosen (you know, we don’t live only to study, mostly when we’re young, do we?) and, according to the specific cases, the availability of different assistance services for students with disability.

università - ragazza

Current laws (and, especially, the 17/1999 law) guarantee the right to education to all the students, both disabled and not, not only during the compulsory education, but also for all the university course of studies. Nowadays, all universities make assistance services (both educational specific and general) available to their students with a disability or learning specific diseases, to enable them to fully live their university experience, minimizing the inconvenience. Together with educational and administrative assistance, many colleges offer dedicated transport and accompanying services towards the most important railway stations or on public transport, dispended by selected and prepared volunteers, and sometimes even taxi vouchers.

Should you need these services, before enrolling, make sure that the university you’ve chosen offers them and find out how to request for them and how long does it take for benefiting from them getting in touch with the university Disability Office: so, you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. Furthermore, if you have a motoric or sensory disability, it’s strongly advisable a “reconnaissance tour” of the university building, classrooms, and all the offices you’d need to visit during your course of studies.

università - ragazzo

Moreover, take into account that many Italian universities have reduced boarding costs (and sometimes the totally free admission) for students with disability, in addition to dedicated scholarships (for the worthiest students) and to the priority as regards the assignment of rooms at boarding schools, halls of residence and so on. To benefit from these facilitations, when enrolling, you’ll have to present your invalidity certificate and the ISEE documents (if the facilitation depends on your income).

Is everything clear? Then, enjoy your choice and studies!