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Working illegally in Europe


I lived in the European union for eleven years...


I don't really have any recommendations about working illegally in Europe. Naturally, I don't recommend it at all, since it's illegal.

Nor do I recommend work, because most jobs are crap.

Working in other countries has been pretty much like working in my own country, in some basic ways. The unique foreign nature of the setting makes the tedium and frustration more bearable; but the nature of work and authority bear a stamp that is somewhat consistent. This is especially true in—egad—kitchens. And let's face it; if you want to work illegally in another country, restaurants are the places to start looking.

The difficulties are that most people won't hire you if you're not legal, and that employers can let you go easily. You're the first to go, if it comes to that; if you can get there in the first place.

I haven't starved yet. I haven't been truly homeless, though I've stayed with people a few times.

The greatest danger of being in this condition is that I do not have insurance coverage. This is a severe concern, really. But being who I am—coming from America—I couldn't do any better in my own country. And, while America has excellent medicine, I wouldn't be able to afford it.

So working illegally isn't really an added risk for me.

True, I could get caught — being where I want to be.


  — November 2004, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


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