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!