The details of work permits will vary, perhaps greatly, from country to country, but basically, a work permit is “permission” for an employer to employ you, a foreigner. In general, employers are required to find a citizen of their country (or in many parts of the EU, a citizen of any EU country) to fill a position before hiring a non-citizen, and if they can’t or don’t, they generally need to show why you, a foreigner, are better qualified than a local. Fortunately for native English speakers, one “requirement” for teaching in many schools is merely being a native English speaker, but your BA and TEFL certificate help show that you are qualified beyond having the good fortune to be born in an English-speaking country. Employers and expats talk about work permits in many ways, but generally a work permit is not something you “get” for yourself and then go work wherever you’d like — it is very often connected to and valid only for a particular employer.
Connected to a work permit is residence, which more or less official permission to reside in the county. The requirements again vary from country to country, but often include the offer of a job that pays a living wage, proof that you have no criminal record in your home country, a signed lease, and proof of health insurance. Sometimes there is a catch for teachers who go overseas to do their course: you are supposed to apply for the work permit at a consulate in your own country — but if you haven’t completed a TEFL course or traveled recently to the country where you’d like to work, you are unlikely to have a job offer or a signed lease.
There are often ways around this, such as applying for your permits at a consulate outside the country you intend to work in but in a neighboring country (e.g. if your job is in Hungary you go to the Hungarian consulate in Austria). If you don’t have a signed lease, you may be able to get a written statement from a local with housing that they will accommodate you.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES
It’s rarely simple, but be warned that the requirements for working or even traveling in the US (and other English-speaking countries) are probably some of the strictest and most rigid in the world, so be careful before you publicly complain about regulations in another country.