Estonian Health Insurance Fund
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Want to check and compare EU health insurance rules?
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Transboundary care in Belgium
Do you live near the French-Belgian border?
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The Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
“Know before you go” guide on healthcare for EU citizens moving to Ireland now available in 19 languages!
Assistance for job seekers
Since May 2 2018, the Brussels Employment Office (Actiris) offers job seekers the possibility to have access to the services of “Social interpreters” (available through non-profit organisation SeTIS). Interpreters can assist in nine languages, including Spanish, Romanian, English, Polish and Bulgarian.
The Official website of the French administration includes a section with detailed information for EU jobseekers. This website:
- Explains the EU residence rules for jobseekers;
- Provides information on the rules and procedures concerning unemployment benefits;
- Includes direct links to the job search engines:
- Jobseekers are also signposted to the relevant websites for obtaining information on their social security and healthcare rights:
- CLEISS – the French one-stop-shop website for information on social security and healthcare; and
The European Commission’s website on social security coordination rules.
The portal “Make it in Germany” is “the official multilingual website for international qualified professionals. It informs people interested in migrating to Germany how to successfully plan their move – from the preparations in their home country right through to their arrival and first steps in Germany”. It is intended to be a central hub for all questions about migrating to Germany, and bundles all the relevant information. It is notable because:
- It provides extensive information about immigration and visa procedures, job-hunting and everyday life in Germany. Entrepreneurs and researchers can find information specific to their field about their career chances in Germany. The site also points out the advantages of training or studying in Germany.
- It is a one-stop shop for job hunters: the “Make it in Germany” job listings help qualified professionals search for suitable vacancies and find out which sectors and regions lack qualified staff.
- It is a partner for businesses: employers in Germany can find out about the possibilities of recruiting and integrating international qualified professionals. Employers recount their real-life experiences of recruiting and integrating international qualified professionals and encourage others to do the same.
It gives access to competent & personalised advice: On the “Make it in Germany” site, people interested in migrating can get customised advice on issues such as job-hunting, getting professional qualifications recognised, visas and settling into Germany – via email, hotline or Web chat.
Since 6 January 2014, EU nationals are no longer obliged to register with the Dutch immigration authorities. In order to aid EU jobseekers who may still be asked for proof of lawful stay, the Dutch immigration authority (IND) has issued a letter that jobseekers can download from the IND website which is addressed to employers and informs them of the abolition of the obligation to register.
The Dutch employment authority (UWV), has a website – werk.nl – aiming to provide information and advice to jobseekers which is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Polish,
Romanian and Bulgarian.
The Slovenian EURES (http://english.ess.gov.si/eures) has established a contact point, designated for the promotion of equal treatment of EU workers, providing legal information regarding free movement of EU workers (and their family members) in the areas of:
– access to employment and residence,
– social security coordination system,
– health insurance,
– tax benefits,
– education, apprenticeships and vocational training.
They offer free legal advice for mobile EU citizens and their family members, which can be submitted by email, face to face upon appointment or via online chat.
One service which is especially useful to cross-border workers is the “Öresunddirekt”.
Øresunddirekt is an information service that conveys public information from the authorities to the citizens and the business community in the Öresund region. Their Information centre is open from Monday to Friday and citizens do not need to make an appointment to meet the staff from the authorities represented there: Arbetsförmedlingen (Swedish Public Employment Service), Försäkringskassan (Swedish Social Insurance Agency), Länsstyrelsen Skåne (County Administrative Board of Skåne), Region Skåne and Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency).
Among other things, the staff can assist in issues relating to looking for a job in the Öresund region, Danish apprenticeships, tax rules, social insurance when you commute between Sweden and Denmark, etc. The information centre annually serves over 25,000 visitors through direct customer contact, emails and telephone.
They also offer:
- Free information meetings every week: – working in Denmark and Danish apprenticeships;
- Appointments with business advisors;
- Tailored information meetings for companies before recruitment or establishment on the other side of the strait.
Öresunddirekt operates the following portals, which in turn are very useful:
- oresunddirekt.se – website in Swedish for Swedish citizens looking for a job in Denmark, starting to work in Denmark, who have or are going to move to Denmark or who wish to study in Denmark.
oresunddirekt.dk – website in Danish for two different target groups: Danish citizens looking for a job in Sweden, starting to work in Sweden, who have or are going to move to Sweden or who wish to study in Sweden. In addition there is information for Danes who have moved to Sweden but commute to work in Denmark.
ELDA (www.elda.at) is a system for the electronic exchange of data between citizens and the Austrian social insurance institutions. For example, the portable document A1 form can be applied for electronically via this site.
- Since recently, the family allowance is paid automatically as soon as the child’s residence is registered and it is no longer necessary to apply for the family allowance.
Students in Vienna can apply electronically for self-insurance.
Coming2Belgium is a section on the Belgian social security portal (www.socialsecurity.be), dedicated to foreign migrants coming to reside in Belgium. It informs them both of their EU rights as well as their national rights in the field of social security. The website is available in EN, FR, DE and NL and it is notable because:
- A search tool allows citizens to obtain the social security information relevant to their specific situation by specifying, their nationality, country of origin, employment status and the social security subject about which they wish to be informed. After filling in the information in the search tool the citizen is shown a page which explains the EU or national rules applicable to the social security subject they are interested in. Useful links and signposting destinations are provided.
- An online brochure “Everything you have always wanted to know about social security” provides detailed and comprehensive information in English about the Belgian social security system.
- Citizens’ rights pursuant to bilateral social security agreements with non-EU countries are explained.
Leaving Belgium is a section on the Belgian social security portal dedicated to those who have contributed to belgian social security and have left or consider leaving Belgium to reside abroad. The section is available in FR, DE and NL and is structured in the same way as the Coming2Belgium section, but contains the relevant information on the EU or other social security rules which will be applicable to the citizens once they have left Belgium.
- foreign employers (or their agents), wishing to post one or more workers to Belgium on a temporary basis,
- foreign employers (or agents) whose workers are working part-time in Belgium; and
- the self-employed established in another country, coming to provide services in Belgium on a temporary or part-time basis.
Such employers and self-employed persons need to declare their presence in Belgium before beginning to work – this mandatory declaration is known as the Limosa declaration.
The National Social Security Institute (NSSI), the public institution that manages the state social security in the Republic of Bulgaria, has developed online services enabling citizens to apply for social security benefits and complete various administrative formalities online.
The NSSI also runs a telephone contact centre which provides advice on issues related to social security legislation, short-term cash benefits, pensions, public services and deadlines for submission of documents. It also advises citizens on their rights pursuant to the EU rules on social security coordination and other international agreements in the area of social security. The contact centre also provides support as regards accessing the NSSI’s online services.
The Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF), which is the National Contact Point (NCP) on Cross-border Healthcare, has a comprehensive website explaining EU rules on cross border healthcare as well a free phone line (+ 385 1 644 90 90). The website is available in Croatian, English, Italian, German, Slovenian and Hungarian.
The Social Insurance Services Department of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, operate a Call Center, for all social insurance related enquiries, available 24/7.
Several information brochures explaining the Cypriot social security system and EU social security coordination rules are available in English on the website of the Social Insurance Services Department.
Most notable is a guide on the Cyprus Social Insurance Scheme which is aimed specifically at migrant workers from other EU countries. This guide, made possible with EU funding, was a joint project of the Cypriot Social Insurance Services Department and the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. It explains in a simple and user-friendly manner both the Cypriot social security rules and benefits which apply to migrant workers, as well as the EU social security coordination rules.
The Estonian state portal eesti.ee, allows citizens to submit online applications for family benefits, the maintenance allowance, special welfare services but also to view the allowances and benefits they are currently receiving. Applicants can then examine the status of the applications they have submitted.The self-employed, employers and national authorities can apply online for the portable document A1, review the status of their application or revoke the A1 document if no longer applicable or needed.
Since 1959, CLEISS (Centre of European and International Liaisons for Social Security) has been France’s single help-desk for international mobility and social security.
It is a public French administrative institution, funded chiefly by the French social security schemes, that has an original and unique position within social security owing to its international role.
CLEISS acts a liaison body between French and foreign social security institutions and between those institutions and individuals. Its functions are multifold and include:
- informing and assisting French social security bodies in implementing EU rules;
- liaising with social security bodies of other EU countries; and
- informing and helping citizens that are experiencing difficulties in cross-border situations.
The CLEISS website comprehensively describes the social security rules which concern people on the move, with the larger part of the website focusing on EU rules. The portal is very well structured with the distinct advantage of offering different entry points to the information: Q&As, thematic files, legal texts, explanation of the legal texts, useful forms, contact points, comparison between different national systems.
A good part of the information in available in the most used other EU languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish).
The Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, has an extremely comprehensive website which includes information specifically for EU migrants moving to and from Ireland. Particularly notable is:
- A “Know before you go” guide for EU citizens moving to Ireland which is available in 19 languages and gives basic information on various topics including social security, and healthcare.
- A thorough and detailed explanation of EU rules on the coordination of social security;
Information provided for those moving from Ireland to another EU country, including information for posted workers, cross border commuters, those in receipt of a social security payment that will be temporarily absent from Ireland and for those that may be entitled to claim benefits abroad.
The Latvian social security agency (VSAA) offers citizens the possibility to apply for several social security benefits online. The applicant can choose to receive the decision via their personal online space on the Latvian government portal, in which case they are notified by SMS or email that a decision has been made.
There is a good explanation of EU social security coordination rules and detailed information provided about the portable documents necessary to those planning to exercise their free movement rights in the EU. In some cases there is the possibility to apply for the documents online – portable documents U1 and U2 concerning the entitlement to unemployment benefits when residing in another EU country as well as the European Health Insurance Card can be requested via the Latvian government portal.
Moreover, the VSAA has a special International Services Unit, which handles situations involving a cross-border element and which citizens can visit in Riga by appointment.
The responsible social security institution (SoDra) provides thorough information about what kind of contributions in what situations must be paid: http://sodra.lt The payments can also be done online.
There are administrative procedures established in legal acts, which regulate the issuing of portable documents. The respective legal acts foresee how applications can be submitted and the timeframes within which they must be examined and the decision made. For example:
- The portable document U2 can be applied for in person, by fax, online, e-mail or via an authorized person. The decision to issue the form is taken within 5 days of application. If the application is submitted online, by fax, e-mail or via an authorized person, it can be picked up only by the applicant. (Order No. A1-646 of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, dated 22 December 2017);
- As regards the A1 document, a thorough description of how to obtain it is provided (in Lithuanian) on the SoDra webpage. The employer must apply for this form. The filled out application form can be submitted either in person, by mail or courier, via the national electronic package delivery system or sent by email. The decision to issue this document is taken within 20 working days since the receipt of all the necessary documents (paragraph 30 of the Order No. V-253 of the Director of State Social Insurance Fund Board, 8 June 2010);
- The S1 form is issued no later than within 14 calendar days since the receipt of all the necessary documents. It may be applied for in person, via an authorized person, mail or email (paragraph 6 of Order No. 1K-291 of the Director of the National Patients Health Fund, dated 19 October 2015);
A decision on a pension application must be made within 30 days (paragraph of 31 of the Law on Public Administration).
Moreover, those intending to move to another EU country can apply online for portable documents:
The website of the Dutch social security institution (SVB) is also available in English, German, French, Polish, Italian and Portuguese.
Everyone entitled to a pension from the Netherlands, receives an invitation to apply for their pension 5 months before they reach retirement age. A special section explains the rules on how to claim a pension when one is resident in another EU country.It is possible to apply for unemployment benefits online.
In Portugal, citizens can apply for an European Health Insurance Card online via the website of the social security institution if they already have their social security identification number or a digital authentication certificate linked to their residence document. It is also possible to renew an existing EHIC online.
The Portuguese social security institution has a complaints portal (PORTAL DA QUEIXA) where citizens may complain online against the delay of payments, decisions, etc. The Centro Nacional de Pensões (National Pensions Centre) also has a complaints portal specially designed to complaints on pension issues.
The Spanish social security institution has a comprehensive portal, available also in English and French, which makes it possible to complete many formalities in relation to social security online, including:
- Requesting a social security number;
- Obtaining a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);
- Obtaining a provisional replacement certificate for the EHIC;
- Applying for a state pension.
Moreover, a special web page, available also in English and French, explains Spanish social security rules and procedures for workers, pensioners and employers, providing links to relevant
The InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA) is a government institution providing information, contacts and project management support to potential investors. The services are provided free of charge.
The website is available in English, in German, in Russian and in Bulgarian.
The services provided include:
- Pre-investment: provision of macroeconomic data, company and industry profiles, legal advice, information on site and facility locations, information on industrial and free zones,etc.
- Investment project support: visa and other administrative support for potential investors, Identification of potential project location, legal assistance with setting up a Bulgarian company, administrative support with permits and regulations with regards to hiring personnel, purchasing or renting facilities, etc.
Post-investment: intermediation with other government and local administration, administrative and legal support, etc.
The Cypriot Point of Single Contact has an extremely comprehensive web page (available in Greek and English) which lists the procedures required in order to provide services on a temporary or permanent basis in all sectors of activity in Cyprus. The services are listed alphabetically as well as by sector. A word search is also available. For each business activity the eligibility criteria and the procedure required in order to have access are explained in detail. Links to application forms and the websites of the relevant authorities are provided.
As explained at e-estonia.com: “Estonia’s e-Business Register is an advanced and secure tool that allows entrepreneurs to register new business online in just minutes without having to go to a notary or some other official. From 2011, most companies have been established over the internet using the e‑Business Register and this process has come down from 5 days to couple of hours.
The e-Business register allows you to register a new company over the internet, change data in the business register, file annual reports, manage the members list for political parties or make detailed inquires about other companies. All it takes to register an Estonian company is an ID card, Mobile-ID or e-Residency card, and an internet connection.
The e-Residency programme allows non-Estonian citizens to also access the e-Business register and use the digital solutions when establishing a company in Estonia. The e-Business register makes the process of registering a company and submitting documents like annual reports easy and efficient for users online no matter where they are”.
e-Residency is a government issued digital identity that allows entrepreneurs to set up and run a company online from anywhere in the world.
To become e-resident one needs to submit an application online and pay a €100 state fee. The application is processed within a month, during which time the Estonian police conducts a background check. Once an application is approved, the applicant is invited to pick up their digital ID card from their chosen Estonian embassy or consulate or inside Estonia.
- Registering a business;
- Modify your business activity or update the information relating to it;
- Bringing a micro-enterprise into line with new legislation;
- Ceasing to trade.
Significant progress has been made as far as length of procedure is concerned with the introduction in 2014 of the status of ‘micro-entreprise’ for small or transitional businesses. These can now be registered in 1 or 2 days.
There is a lot of support for startup founders in Germany. Information is available at public advisory offices, information centres, chambers of commerce or universities.
The “Make it in Germany” portal provides the relevant information and practical tips for setting up your business in Germany and signposts entrepreneurs to the advisory services available in all federal states.
- information centres for entrepreneurs with a migrant background are available at regional and national level;
- The business start-up portal of the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provides an extensive contact list of advice services for businesses;
- The BMWi’s Authority Finder guides entrepreneurs to the right local public authorities and agencies for their requirements and directs them to their nearest information centre.
- The BMWi’s Startup Portal for Female Entrepreneurs, provides information about advisory services which are especially geared to female entrepreneurs, such as information centres offering initial consultation or orientation sessions especially for women. A special women start up hotline is available.
The Citizen Service Centres, available throughout Greece, which provide information and assistance for completing administrative formalities, act also as Points of Single Contact, for the purposes of the EU Services Directive (2006/123), assisting those wishing to provide services or establish a business in Greece. Particularly notable is:
- their extensive geographic distribution – there are over 1000 Citizen Service Centres in Greece; and that
- more than 2000 administrative formalities can be completed via the centres without the need to deal directly with the relevant authorities.
Those implementing an investment project exceeding 2,000,000 Euro can call upon the Investor Ombudsman for free of charge mediation in the event of a dispute with the Greek authorities. As explained at enterprisegreece.gov.gr: “The Ombudsman is to mediate during the licensing procedure in which specific bureaucratic obstacles, delays, disputes or other difficulties arise (related to State services and State actors vis a vis the investor) that lead to intractable differences, a deadlock, a standstill or similar difficulties regarding the investment project”.
Those wishing to provide services or set up their business in Italy can obtain the relevant information and complete administrative procedures and formalities online via the one-stop shops, “Sportello Unico Attività Produttive” (SUAP) offered by the local Chambers of Commerce and available in about 3,500 Italian municipalities. The Chambers of Commerce also have an IT service (ComUnica) which enables those wishing to set up a business in Italy to fulfill all the initial requirements for setting up their business (such as registering in the Business Register, requesting a fiscal code and VAT number, registering employees or the self-employed with social security. etc) as well as making subsequent changes or cancellations of their business activity.
Guichet.lu is a comprehensive portal for anything business related in Luxembourg.
The section on “Starting up & Development” provides detailed step by step guidance on how to start a business in Luxembourg.
Startups and established businesses can make use of the services provided by the House of Entrepreneurship, a one-stop shop launched in October 2016 on the initiative of the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of the Economy. It is notable for the great extent of services it offers. In particular, it supports businesses:
- with the formalities associated with trading and export;
- with the processes involved in the creation, sale or acquisition of a business, and particularly in the area of right of establishment;
- with useful information and advice on legal and tax matters;
- via networking through its initiatives and those of its local partners.
It also provides:
- advice on selling or buying businesses, and puts vendors and buyers in touch with one another – a specific eight-module training course called “acquiring a business in practice” is offered;
- IT support, advice and training to young enterprises;
- networking opportunities via specific workshops, lectures and free working sessions on matters of topical interest to entrepreneurs;
- advice on a business plan in the context of a professional loan application;
- services necessary in the context of trade transaction, such as issuing certificates or origin, legalising documents, etc.
- support to enterprises in difficulty, via training courses and personalised advice;
- practical assistance with access to bank financing.
The Point of Single Contact provides clear, comprehensive and user-friendly information on the formalities that need to be completed for providing services, setting up a company or establishing oneself as self-employed in Poland. The procedure of setting up a business activity can be completed in person or online. In fact, for a business that employs more than 5 workers, online registration is mandatory. Registration as self-employed is free of charge, possible online and instant (i.e. the business is considered active from the moment of registration).
The EUGO Slovenian portal provides comprehensive information for foreign business entities from the EU, EEA Member Countries and the Swiss Confederation who want to do business in Slovenia.
The portal covers main topics:
– considering doing business in Slovenia;
– setting up a business in Slovenia;
– cross-border/temporary provision of services;
– running a business in Slovenia;
– closing down a business in Slovenia.
The portal offers also information on VEM Offices in Slovenia – these are one-stop-shop offices, that provide assistance with basic administrative formalities for setting up a business. A foreign physical person can register a simple one-person or multi-person company in Slovenia at the VEM offices. Services at the VEM offices in Slovenia are free of charge.
The Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness has set up an Information Centre & Business Setup Network (CIRCE), which is a one-stop-shop for setting up a company online. It facilitates the creation of a company through arrangements and communications with all the public agencies and administrative bodies involved in the process. The entrepreneur is only required to fill in the Single Electronic Document. CIRCE automatically takes all the necessary steps to create the company, getting in touch with all the Public Agencies involved (Tax Administration Agency, Social Security, Trade Companies Registrars, Notary’s Office, etc.). Alternatively, entrepreneurs can also set up their company via a “Help Desk for Entrepreneurs” (Puntos de Atención al Emprendedor – PAE) where they receive advice and guidance on what company form to chose, information about funding, social security formalities, taxation and other relevant info. PAE can set up the company via CIRCE for them free of charge.
Öresunddirekt also has information for companies who wish to set up in Sweden and Denmark respectively.
- oresunddirektbusiness.se – website in Swedish for companies – about Danish conditions
oresunddirektbusiness.dk – website in Danish for companies – about Swedish conditions
Integration in society
Need to reach out to the public authorities? The federal website has everything you need!
Here you can find similar information in English!
Language classes and free online language learning resources available here!
Find German courses available via the Austrian Institute in other European cities here!
Moving to or living in Finland? Take a look at this multilingual and comprehensive space!
Moving to Helsinki? Access the multilingual information & counselling service!
Just arrived in Helsinki? Do not hesitate to explore this free service advisor app!
Did you know you can also receive a free advisory & counselling service for employers!
Want to learn Finnish? Information on language courses here!
The Belgian Ministry of Finance has a specific webpage (available in French and Dutch) dedicated to bilateral tax agreements where citizens can obtain:
- access the bilateral tax agreements Belgium has signed (in French, Dutch and English).
- information regarding cooperation and assistance between the Belgian administration and the foreign administrations in the field of taxation.
- information on EU law dealing with international aspects of direct taxation.
- information on how to avoid double taxation via the Advance Pricing Arrangement (APA) – citizens are also signposted to a specific service of the Ministry (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Two specific call centres are dedicated to the bilateral agreements Belgium signed with Germany and with the Netherlands. One is located in the Netherlands (TEAM GWO- Grensoverschrijdend Werken en Ondernemen) in Maastricht (NL), the other one in Belgium (Brussels). The citizen can contact those services also by email at email@example.com.
All relevant Croatian tax legislation is available in English and presented in a user friendly manner at the website of the Croatian Ministry of Finance.
The Irish Tax and Customs website has a section on “Moving to or from Ireland”, where migrants can find information about the tax system in Ireland, the various tax residence statuses, double taxation agreements and about tax implications when leaving to work abroad, migrate permanently or retire abroad.
The European Consumer Center (ECC) Germany provides useful information including:
- contact details of organisations that can assist consumers in case of a dispute with a company based in another country;
- an app entitled “How to complain with success in the EU” which informs consumers about their rights after a failed purchase. Based on product, seller and problem, the consumer can get practical advice on how to submit their claim successfully in the 28 EU countries (plus Norway).
Furthermore the ECC Germany and the ECC France provide services in cooperation with the Centre for Consumer Protection in Europe, an association dedicated to Franco-German consumption-related issues since 1993 and located in the urban area of Strasbourg and Kehl.
Elected by the states of Germany and France with the objective of protecting consumers in Europe, the centre based in Kehl is the only “binational structure in the European network” among the European Consumer Centres. Today, the ECCs of Germany and France are the largest consumer centres in Europe and are involved in more than 50% of the resolved disputes within the network.
The ECC Germany also provides citizens with useful addresses:
- European e-Justice Portal;
- European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters;
- European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters;
- Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz (Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection).
Citizens’ Advice website
A special Consumer Helpline is available for enquiries relating to consumer rights, which citizens can contact via an online form or by phone.
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The Estonian government webportal (www.eesti.ee), is extremely comprehensive and also available in English. It is a gateway to all necessary public information and services, including health care, family, pensions and allowances, work and labour relations, entrepreneurs, citizenship and documents, consumer protection, money and property, education and research, motor vehicles, legal advice, housing and others. The eesti.ee portal also gives access to hundreds of e-Government services for citizens, businesses and national authorities. 99% of public services in Estonia are now available online – e-services are only impossible for marriages, divorces and real-estate transactions. Citizens can access the e-Government services with their digital ID card, a mobile ID (with their mobile phone and a special SIM card, which the customer must request from the mobile phone operator) or a Smart-ID via their smartphone. The service My Documents, or ODIS (official documents infrastructure service), makes it possible to securely send, receive, store, manage, sign, upload, download and share documents, including online application forms, messages, replies to received documents etc., with state institutions, their information systems and other service users.
Secondly, the Lithuanian e-government gateway is highly extensive and many of the e-services are provided in English. The portal is very well organised and very user friendly, especially because it contains a search function for finding the relevant service. What is more, the e-government services are split into three categories: citizens, business and public sector. Each category is then split into several subcategories (for example the “Citizens” category is divided into several subcategories including: Social security, Healthcare, Family, Justice and public security, Trade and production, Migration, Taxes etc). On the same portal, for each individual service icons indicate whether it is free or paid and whether it is provided online or not, and for each service there is a short description, contact details of the relevant government department and the contact details of the e-service providers;
Latvian government portal, Latvia.lv, available also in English, aims to provide private citizens and entrepreneurs with “quick and convenient access to the services provided by Latvian State institutions and municipalities” and is also an access point to the several e-government services available. Similarly, Guichet.lu is the one-stop-shop government portal providing information about administrative procedures and e-government services relevant to both citizens and businesses in Luxembourg – available in English, French and German.
the Government Gateway Portal (Ariadni) is available in English and allows citizens as well as companies and organisations to complete various formalities online. An initial authentication must be done in person at one of the Citizen Service Centres or at a district post office or via the Point of Single Contact (for companies). The services available are wide ranging especially for companies.
e-government portal, ERMIS, is available in Greek, English, French and German. It provides information on administrative procedures and links to the relevant application forms. Some electronic services to citizens and businesses are also available. Users can also store their electronic documents in their personal storage space on the website.
the portal www.help.gv.at contains general information on e-Government services and provides the relevant links.
More specifically, the menu item “Formulare/Online-Amtswege” (Forms/Online procedures) contains an exhaustive list of application forms for all public authorities in Austria, from A to Z. Several of these can be electronically filled out, signed and submitted. Many others can be downloaded, filled out and sent to the corresponding authority by regular post or e-mail. Citizens are able to obtain an overview in English of the e-government-services offered.
Finally the on-line e-Government portal of the Republic of Slovenia includes detailed information on all administrative procedures. It is possible to submit administrative applications provided one has a digital certificate for secure electronic operations with public authorities (currently only available on the Slovenian version of the website). The portal includes also a web-search tool by subject and is available in Slovenian, English, Italian and Hungarian language versions.
EU Rights Enforcement
The Czech Ombudsman’s website includes a special section for EU citizens which outlines how the Ombudsman can help them obtain information about their EU rights and enforce their EU rights when they are faced with discrimination on the grounds of nationality. This is a new competence which the Ombudsman acquired on the basis of EU Directive 2014/54 and the Ombudsman took active steps to inform the ambassadors of the other EU Member states of its new powers.
Union workers or members of their family who have experienced discrimination on grounds of nationality, unjustified restrictions or obstacles to their right to free movement in Denmark can contact STAR at ContactPointDenmark@star.dkThe International Citizen Service (ICS) signposts citizens to this service.
As explained at e-estonia.com: “The e-Court system is a fully comprehensive system for managing all court procedures. The solution has been implemented for Estonian courts under the Ministry of Justice and paperless proceedings have been held since 2015.
The initial claim can be entered via a public portal 24/7 and within one hour the court clerk can confirm the case and appoint the first hearing. Once confirmed, the workflow engine delivers the necessary data to the portal for the allocated judge. Meanwhile, the judge and other participants can submit further items of evidence electronically, answer questions and even involve legal representatives and lawyers in the process.
If the case is simple, the hearing will be held electronically with no need to visit the court house. All participants will be sent the decision through the public portal using X-Road technologies. Finally, the concluding or bailiff procedures are also automated – the fine is collected automatically without any need to physically attend to the payment”.
The e-Law system is an online database for the Estonian Ministry of Justice that allows the public to read every draft law submitted since February 2003.
Almost 500 legal acts have been translated from Estonian into English.
An employee rights advisory service, run by the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), advises employees of foreign backgrounds on questions concerning their employment. The service is free of charge and available in Finnish and in English by phone or e-mail. Use of the service does not require a trade union membership.
Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson is the relevant body for examining complaints in discrimination cases, including those based on violations of EU law. Complaints can be submitted online and are examined within three months. The procedure is clearly explained at the Ombudsperson’s website.
The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has an Inspectorate for protecting worker’s rights. Workers who feel that their rights have been violated can submit a complaint in Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese and Czech.
Het Juridisch Loket is a government service which provides free legal advice to citizens on a low income on all matters, including residence rights for EU nationals and their family members.
The Migration Information Centre (MIC) of the IOM (International Organization for Migration) provides non-EU nationals, including family members of EU nationals, with free counselling and free legal advice on many matters, including their residence rights in Slovakia. The advice is provided in Slovak or English. In case translation is necessary, it is provided by interpreters from collaborating organizations. An Alternative Dispute Resolution service can also be provided.
Citizens Advice is a free advice service for citizens present in over 2700 locations across the UK. It is a network of independent local charities which provides free advice all matters concerning citizens in the UK, including their rights under UK and EU law.
Citizens Advice has a comprehensive website outlining citizens’ rights in the areas of immigration, benefits, work, health, housing, family, debt and money issues and consumer issues. For personalised advice, citizens can contact Citizens Advice by phone, via web chat or in person at one of its many locations. A special Consumer Helpline is available for enquiries relating to consumer rights, which citizens can contact via an online form or by phone.
Recognition of Academic Diplomas and Professional Qualifications
The Berufsanerkennung.at is a “one stop shop” portal for the recognition of professional and academic qualifications in Austria – a country where recognition decisions are taken at regional level. It is a project of the Austrian Integration Fund and the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and Integration.
The portal allows one to find the right contact person easily with the aid of a step-by-step guide which is presented on the first page of the portal:
The portal provides information for both migrants seeking to have their qualifications recognised, but also employers. The EU rules on the recognition of professional qualifications and the Austrian rules on the recognition of academic qualifications are explained.
Moreover, citizens can obtain advice in person by visiting one of the contact points for people with qualifications gained abroad that are available in all federal states in Austria and which offer:
- Comprehensive information and advice on recognition and evaluation procedures (free of charge and in multiple languages);
- Support throughout the entire recognition or evaluation process;
- Clarification on whether formal recognition is required or possible;
- Basic information on the legal regulations for taking up a professional activity;
- Support with asserting your rights in accordance with the federal law;
- Support with submitting applications for recognition and evaluation;
- Obtaining certified translations of degrees, certificates and other documentation;
- Information on further training and advice options
The National Centre for Information and Documentation (NACID) provides assistance aimed at facilitating the mobility of citizens on the labour market by delivering information and services concerning the recognition of academic and professional qualifications.
NACID provides various online services to citizens, including:
- Recognition of diplomas from foreign higher education institutions;
- Verification of the academic status of foreign higher education institutions;
- Verification of the authenticity of documents issued by foreign higher education institutions;
- Issuing a recommendation for the recognition of a Bulgarian higher education diploma by foreign higher education institutions;
- Issuance of a certificate for professional qualification in a non-regulated profession in Bulgaria for the purposes of recognition in other countries.
Moreover, two registers are available online where all recognition decisions are listed- one for the recognition of academic qualifications and one for the recognition of professional qualifications.
A user-friendly and well structured website of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, available also in English, provides all the necessary information on the recognition of foreign academic and professional qualifications in Denmark. The website gives the necessary tools and signposts to the relevant regulatory authorities, making the process of recognition of academic and professional qualifications as easy and smooth as possible. Direct links to online application forms are provided where this option is available.
The relevant information on the recognition of academic qualification is presented according to the purpose for which such recognition is required: Employment or Education. Each of these two sections are further subdivided into five subsections.
It is possible to apply online for the recognition of an academic qualification. A direct link to the relevant form to request an assessment from the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education (the Danish NARIC) is available. The documentation and translation requirements, as well as the relevant conditions for receiving an assessment are clearly explained.
Those wishing to practice a profession which is regulated in Denmark are given a clear, step by step explanation on how to obtain access to their profession at:
In order to find out whether recognition of professional qualifications is necessary, the citizen is first directed to the list of regulated professions in Denmark.
If the citizen establishes that the profession s/he wishes to practice is regulated, the citizen is then directed to the relevant rules which apply to them: EU rules or Danish national rules. The webpage on EU rules explains the procedure pursuant to EU Directive 2005/36, provides links the relevant EU legislation, gives a national contact telephone number for further questions and signposts to the relevant EU advice and problem solving services: Your Europe Advice and SOLVIT .
Useful links are provided to:
- The User guide to Directive 2005/36/EC – European Commission (pdf)
- Free movement of professionals website of the European Commission
- European Professional Card webpage of the European Commission’s Your Europe Portal
The list of the 128 regulated professions is searchable by category, competent authority and by the name of the profession. For each regulated profession the citizen is redirected to the website of the Danish Business Authority (the point of single contact for starting a business in Denmark). For each profession the information is provided in a well structured manner under the following headings:
- How to apply? – this section explains the procedure in detail and provides links to the regulator’s website. In cases where this is possible, A “Direct access to application” button is provided.
- Requirements for non EU citizens and businesses;
- When can I expect an answer?
- In case of rejection
- Who to contact for questions?
- Public registers and databases
- Legal basis in Danish law; and
- Legal basis in EU directive(s) on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
The “Recognition in Germany” portal, together with the anabin database and the “BQ portal” are the three central information portals dealing with the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.
The “Recognition in Germany” portal offers information on professional recognition in eleven languages. In addition to the German and English versions of the portal, information pages are available in Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Russian and French.
With the English translation of all four Reports on the German Recognition Act (2014-2017) a comprehensive overview of the procedure for the recognition of foreign professional and occupational qualifications and its latest developments can be presented to an international audience. The “Recognition in Germany” portal provides information about the possibilities of having foreign professional certificates recognised in Germany. The unique feature of the website is the “Recognition Finder” – an online tool for determining the relevant competent authority. In addition, it presents important information about the legal foundations, the recognition procedures for individual occupations and available counselling services in a concise form.
The Latvian Academic Information Centre (AIC) is a one-stop-shop for all matters related to recognition of academic and professional qualifications. Those seeking to have their foreign academic degrees or professional qualifications recognised apply to AIC to have their qualifications recognised in Latvia.
Regarding academic qualifications, the AIC, being the Latvian NARIC, evaluates the diploma and issues a statement, which can then be submitted to the Ministry of Education (for primary or secondary education level), to the higher education institution or to the employer (in order to work in a non-regulated profession). The application process is the same and a single fee of 41 EUR is applied for all applications.
Regarding professional qualifications, the AIC checks the documents and sends them to the competent body which makes the recognition decision. The AIC then forwards the decision to the applicant within 4 months from the date of application (or 3 months in case of EU doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, architects, veterinary surgeons). A single fee of 200 EUR applies to all procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications. EU pharmacists, physiotherapists and general care nurses are directed to the European Commission’s online platform for applying for the European Professional Card.
Particularly notable is the Latvian Database of regulated professions, which has a user-friendly search function for finding out whether a specific profession is regulated and provides the relevant information for obtaining recognition in each regulated profession. For each profession the contact details and website of the competent body are provided, as well as the legal basis and specific additional information on the recognition procedure.
The Maltese NARIC, Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC) has an online process for the recognition of academic qualifications.
Applicants can search for their qualification (both prospective and one already obtained) by entering the country where their diploma was obtained, finding the name of the awarding body from a drop-down menu and their qualification. If the qualification is already listed, the statement can be downloaded and printed instantly. If the qualification is not listed on the database, the user can submit an application by entering further details. Recognition statements can be downloaded directly from MQRIC’s website.
The Slovakian Point of Single Contact has a comprehensive website on “Starting a business in Slovakia” which is structured in a way that makes it very easy to find the requirements and procedure for each profession, whether one intends to establish themselves in Slovakia or provide services temporarily. Links to the relevant application forms are also provided.
The Centre for Professional Qualifications (CPQ) has a comprehensive website which explains the EU rules and procedures for those who wish to have their EU qualifications recognised in the UK and for those with UK qualifications who wish to work in the EU. The regulated professions and those with protected titles are listed and the contact details of the relevant regulators are provided.
The CPQ provides advice and guidance to professionals on the recognition of their professional qualifications in the UK through its Assistance Centre. The CPQ also advices competent authorities in how to apply EU rules. It runs a series of seminar workshops for competent authorities and can also offer consultative training.
Comprehensive information on the other formalities and obligations that apply to employers and temporary service providers, with the relevant signposting, is provided. A section is dedicated to the activities in the construction and meat sectors – the sectors with high numbers of posted workers – which includes a special online service for the registration of workers in these sectors.
Finnish law requires companies established in other EU countries to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Authority when posting workers to Finland before the beginning of the work. This notification of the posting of workers can be done online.
(Ireland) Information provided for those moving from Ireland to another EU country, including information for posted workers, on
the Irish Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s extremely comprehensive website
(Romania) Separate requirement lists for different types of EU applicants are available making the applications process more tailored to each type applicant (namely, employees, self-employed exercising professional, economic or commercial activities, posted workers, volunteers, religious and humanitarian activists, self-sufficient and students) on the general free movement website: