If you are a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen, you will be able to freely live and work in Luxembourg without needing to apply for a permit. Usually, your new employer will arrange any necessary tax administration and social security registration on your behalf. As an employee in Luxembourg, you will also be entitled to the same maternity leave and sickness benefits as nationals.
If you are from outside the EU or EEA and intend to stay in Luxembourg for more than three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit prior to your arrival into the country. The permit you need will be based on your individual circumstances; for example, if you are planning to work in Luxembourg, you will need to apply for an employment permit, while if you are intending primarily to study in the country, you should apply for a study permit. Other options include self-employment, research and joining a family member who is already resident in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg has three official languages – French, German and Luxembourgish – and being able to speak (or at least understand) one of these is a requirement for many jobs. Job sectors that are most often recruiting include financial services, health, transport, social services and construction.
Wages are typically determined between an individual and their employer and vary depending on your age and experience though must not be less than the minimum wage, which is adjusted biannually.
While there are no set guidelines for creating CVs in Luxembourg, you can maximise your CV’s effectiveness by ensuring you tailor it to the company you’re applying to and the job in question. Most job applications in Luxembourg are written in French, though some are in English or German, and it is expected that you respond in the same language, unless otherwise stated.
It is essential that you only include the most relevant information on your CV. Employers in Luxembourg hold work experience, qualifications, linguistic skills and hobbies in equally high regard, so presenting these in a clear format on your CV is important.
For best results, your CV should be set out as follows:
• Personal details, including full name, address and contact numbers, email address, nationality, date of birth and marital status;
• A recent professional photograph;
• Educational qualifications, starting with the most recent;
• Work experience, written in bullet-point style;
• Practical training and/or professional qualifications;
• Language skills, including proficiency in both written and spoken form;
• Computer literacy skills and any relevant qualifications;
• Hobbies and interests.
You should also try to stick to the following rules:
• Use a plain font;
• Use headings and bullet points to keep the information legible;
• Stick to one side of A4 where possible;
• Check spelling and grammar thoroughly;
• Translate into French (or German) if required.
Your CV should be sent alongside a covering letter, which should be concise and professional.
Many jobs in Luxembourg are secured via networking or the process of jobseekers sending out speculative CVs, both of which are worthwhile habits to form in your new country. Otherwise, check job sites such as monster.lu on a regular basis.
The recruitment process in Luxembourg can be rigorous and employers may expect you to attend more than one interview before a job offer is made. Once you secure an interview, prepare accordingly. Ensure your knowledge of the position you are applying for as well as the company itself are sound and be prepared to be quizzed on both. Interviews are likely to be conducted in French, German or English.
Some important tips for face-to-face interviews are:
• Find out the full name and title of the interviewer and ensure your pronunciation is correct;
• Wear business attire and appear smart;
• Be punctual – this is a big one in Luxembourg as being late is considered disrespectful;
• Promote yourself as a good candidate for the vacancy but try not to show off – Luxembourgers appreciate humility in their business culture;
• Prepare at least three questions to ask at the end of the interview.
If you apply for jobs in Luxembourg prior to relocating, you may be expected to partake in an online or telephone interview. Practice interviewing over the phone or on camera as it is a different experience and can provoke nerves in some individuals, so familiarisation is key.
Once you have secured a job in Luxembourg, it is important to continue networking as this may help to progress your career. Various events take place regularly across the country, or you could try LinkedIn. For those interested in freelance work, it is possible to register as self-employed or apply for a permit to start a business in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is one of the world’s smallest countries, and yet it remains a popular destination for tourists and expats. Indeed, it is not unknown for people in neighbouring nations to cross the border simply to have lunch. If you’re looking to visit Luxembourg, you may need a visa, depending on your nationality and the reason for your trip. Read on for further information.
Whether or not you need a visa to visit Luxembourg will depend on how long you intend to stay there, and your nationality. If you are from an EU/EEA member state, or from the UK, the US or Australia, you will not need a visa for the first 90 days of your trip. However, citizens from many of these countries will need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days from your intended departure date from Luxembourg.
Visitors from other nations, including China and India, will require a visa.
In order to apply for a Schengen visa (a short-term entry visa applicable to the countries in the Schengen zone), you will need:
• A completed application form
• Two passport-format photos
• Your passport and any copies of previous visas
• Travel insurance (including medical coverage) with confirmation of a minimum of €30,000 coverage within the entire Schengen area
• A cover letter stating the purpose of your visit and your itinerary
• Proof of civil status (for example, this could be your marriage certificate or the birth certificates of your children)
• Flight itinerary
• The address of your accommodation, including hotels
• Proof that you are able to support yourself financially throughout your stay (for example, a recent statement from your bank for the last three months that shows funds of at least €50 (£40) per day spent in the country, or traveller’s cheques, or proof of sponsorship)
You may need further documentation depending on your status.
If you plan to stay in Luxembourg for more than 90 days, you must make a declaration of arrival (déclaration d’arrivée) at the local town hall (commune) in your locality within eight days. Within three months of arriving, you must get an address registration certificate (déclaration d’enregistrement) from the commune.
If you have lived in Luxembourg legally for a continuous period of five years, you will automatically acquire the right of permanent residence in Luxembourg and can get an attestation de séjour permanent from your local commune.
A short-term stay visa for third party nationals usually costs around €50.
A long-term stay visa for third party nationals usually costs around €60.
It will take 10 to 15 days to process your visa in your local Luxembourg mission.
Your access to a work visa will depend on your nationality. EU/EEA citizens will find the process is more streamlined, and you will not need a permit to reside and work in Luxembourg.
If you are a third country national, you will need both an authorisation to stay document and a residence permit in order to work in Luxembourg. Since EU nationals are prioritised, your employer will need to complete a form from the National Employment Administration which states that they have made every effort to find a local worker.
You will need to apply to the Immigration Directorate for a temporary leave to stay in Luxembourg before you leave your home nation. To do so you will need:
• A valid passport
• A type D visa (depending on your citizenship)
This temporary visa will allow you to enter Luxembourg, and you can then complete the rest of the process once you arrive. You will need to fill out a declaration that you intend to live in a particular region.
Work visas will depend on the type of work you intend to carry out. For example, whether you are transferring to the Luxembourg branch of your existing company or going to work for a new employer. Work visas will usually be issued for a two-year period.
You will need to submit the following (original or certified) documents:
• A valid passport photo
• Your birth certificate
• Proof of clean criminal record
• Your resume and professional qualifications
• Your employment contract
• A certificate allowing the employer to hire a third-country national
• A cover letter explaining your motivation for moving to Luxembourg
Your employment contract must also cohere to the following criteria:
• Minimum wage of no less than €2307.56 per month
• A certificate for your profession
• If hired for manual skills, you will need proof of two years’ experience and a certificate
• If you do not have a certificate, then you will need proof of 10 years’ practical experience in a similar field
• If your profession does not require a certificate, then you will need six years’ practical experience in a similar field
You will also need a long-stay residence permit, and to apply for this you will need to show the temporary permit you already have along with proof of your accommodation and a fee. You must present yourself at your local commune to complete a declaration of arrival.
If you are self-employed, then you will need to go through a similar process in applying for a work visa, and you may need to submit any business licenses if applicable.
You may also apply for a permit for business.
You will be able to bring your family into the country, but must essentially act as their sponsor. You may need to demonstrate that you can support them financially.
Seasonal workers must also apply for a permit to work in Luxembourg, and you will need to go through the process above. If you are applying to work as an au pair, you will need a different visa.
Students enrolled in full-time courses at university in Luxembourg may also be entitled to work as part of their student visa.
EU blue card
If you have been issued a residence permit for work that requires advanced skills by an EU member country, you will be eligible for a EU blue card. This is an approved EU-wide work permit, which allows highly skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
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If you’re looking to rent in Luxembourg, then it’s worth bearing in mind that apartments are the most commonly available type of accommodation there.
Typically, rental contracts are renewed on a one- or two-year basis in Luxembourg, and you’ll need to give three months’ notice if you want to move out early. Bigger apartments are sometimes let out for three years at a time, whereas studios can be renewable on a six-month basis. Most properties come unfurnished, and you may need to pay for utilities and property services separately.
To sign your lease, you may need a translator to go over the terms, unless you are fluent in a local language, i.e. French, German, or Luxembourgish. You’ll also need your passport, a work visa, proof of your employment status, and proof of your income. Your landlord may additionally ask for references.
You’ll need to pay a security deposit upfront, which is usually equivalent to two months’ rent. This deposit will be deposited into an escrow account and won’t be touched until you and your landlord agree to withdraw it. You’ll also need to pay annual liability insurance, usually around €250, which covers the house and the items in it in case of theft, fire, water damage, or natural disasters.
After you’ve signed the lease, but before you move in, you and your landlord will go over an inventory, or état des lieux, of the condition of the property. Make sure you go through it carefully, as you’ll be charged at the end of your stay for any damage to the property or its furnishings that isn’t noted.
Expats can check out online property portals, such as At Home and Habiter, for listings. Myspace may be useful if you are looking for a furnished apartment. You can also look in local newspapers, such as Le Quotidien and Luxemburger Wort. Keep in mind that if you use an estate agency, you’ll need to pay a month’s rent plus VAT in fees.
You’ll find that prices vary depending on where you want to live. Apartments in Luxembourg City are the most expensive, with rents in the surrounding towns lower. Example rents for unfurnished accommodations include:
• A one-bedroom apartment will cost an average of €1,800/month in Luxembourg City and €1,600/month in the suburbs
• A three-bedroom home will cost an average of €3,500/month in Luxembourg City and €2,800/month in the suburbs
Expect to pay up to, but no more than, double, if you are looking for a furnished apartment.
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying real estate in Luxembourg, so if you want to buy your own home there, you should have no problems. The system is similar to that in the UK, and isn’t too complicated to navigate. However, you may need a translator if you don’t speak one of Luxembourg’s three languages.
Buying property in Luxembourg is not cheap. Houses there are expensive, and to buy one, you’ll need to be able to pay a 20%-25% deposit up front, along with significant property tax. A steep capital gains tax is applicable if you sell your property within two years, but this is halved if you sell after that time period.
If you’re looking for property for sale, you can search in the newspapers, or you can use the same online property portals as listed above. Alternatively, you could go directly to a real estate agency to help you in your search, such as REMAX. You can check out the average price per square metre for various properties at Wort Immo.
Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, you’ll put in an offer and sign a commitment to sale agreement, or compromise de vente. You’ll then set out to secure your mortgage. It may be an idea to first contact the Housing Assistance Department of the government, to see whether you qualify for any loans and grants through them. If you don’t, you can deal directly with banks. Once you have received an offer for a mortgage, you’ll pay a surveyor to do a valuation of the property. If you and the bank are in sync on the valuation, you’ll then need to pay a deposit of up to 25%.
A notary is required to administer all payments, and you’ll have to pay their fee, which is usually 1.5% of the property’s value. You can find a listing of available notaries here. Before the bank will approve your mortgage, you’ll need to show proof of having taken out an insurance policy.
You’ll then sign a contract with the property’s seller that includes both of your names and addresses, the details of the sale, including payment terms, and the exact date that you can take possession of the house. From there, you’ll pay the registration tax, which is 6% of the property’s value, a transcript tax of 1%, and annual property taxes of up to 8%.
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
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QUICK LINK: Luxembourg health insurance
Luxembourg’s health insurance is based on a joint Beveridge (universal government funded healthcare) and Bismarck (co-pay between employer and employee) model. About 84% of healthcare funding is paid by the government and from health insurance: the Mutual Medico-Surgical Fund (Cause Médico-Chirurgicale Mutualiste) is comprehensive and compulsory. It is governed jointly by the Ministries of Health and Social Security.
An amount will be deducted from your salary each month and paid into the Luxembourg Health Offices of the Caisse Nationale de Santé (CNS – National Health Fund), or the Caisse de Maladie, who govern health insurance along with nine other agencies.
If you are self-employed, you will need to sign up with the Joint Centre of Social Security, and they will send you your social security card. If you are a cross-border worker then you will need to make sure that your dependents are covered in Luxembourg as well as your country of residence. You will either need a Luxembourg social security card or you can submit your documentation to the CNS, who can co-insure you.
You will then be covered for most health-related appointments. Luxembourg operates on a reimbursement system, so you will need to pay your costs upfront and then claim them back. Usually you will be refunded within three weeks, for 80-100% of the costs. You will need to send your receipts, along with your social ID number and a bank statement, into the CNS.
This does not apply to hospital treatment: the CNS will settle the bulk of the cost directly with the healthcare provider and you will only need to pay the difference. Luxembourg does not have any private hospitals: they are all CNS-run.
Your employer has to register you for healthcare within eight days of you starting work. They will then be sent a form from the CCSS on which you will need to note down your family members, and following this you will be sent a social security card (Carte de Sécurité Sociale). This functions as your medical insurance card and you will need to take it with you when you first visit your local GP, and for any hospital or specialist visits.
Luxembourg has been a long-standing partner of many major European projects since 1951. This includes the European coal and steel community, the European Economic Area (EEA), the Euro currency area – known as the Eurozone – and the Schengen Agreement. As a result of this, the legal tender in Luxembourg since January 2002 has been the Euro.
The Euro can be divided into 100 cents, and is represented by the symbol €.
In 2013, the Europa series of Euro banknotes were put into circulation. The enhanced security features of the banknotes mean that forgeries should be easier to detect.
Euro banknotes are widely available in denominations of €5, €10, €20 and €50. Denominations of €100, €200 and €500 are also legal tender, but are unlikely to be issued by ATMs or used in retail outlets.
The €500 note is due to be discontinued in late 2018. UK banks stopped accepting them in 2010 after concerns that they were facilitating criminal activity, and a European Commission inquiry in 2016 concluded that concerns justified withdrawing the note.
Coins are issued for €1 and €2, as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. All Euro coins have a side showing which Eurozone country issued the coin, whilst the other side has a standard design regardless of the Eurozone country of origin.
ATMs are easily found in the city and towns centres in Luxembourg. Some charge for cash withdrawals, but the screen will tell you how much you are being charged before you proceed with the transaction.
All debit and credit cards will be issued with four-digit PINs, under the chip and pin system. This is normal for most countries across the world, except for those using debit and credit cards issued in the United States. If you are paying by card from any automated point, you will need to enter your PIN. A staffed pay point may allow a US customer to pay by chip and signature, but as this is done very rarely, the member of staff may be unaware of the procedure.
Credit cards issued in Luxembourg are usually Mastercard or Visa cards. They are widely accepted by retailers, food outlets and other businesses. You may occasionally find a small business which does not accept credit cards, or which imposes a minimum payment as a result of transactions charges.
American Express cards are frequently accepted by larger companies, but you should check before putting your card in the reader. Diners Club cards are not accepted at many locations in Luxembourg.
Between 1999 and 2011, Luxembourg operated a domestic electronic money scheme called MiniCash. You may occasionally see outdated references to the scheme, but like the Bancomat card scheme, it no longer exists.
If you are looking to open a bank account in Luxembourg, there is plenty of choice. At the end of 2017, there were 146 credit institutions registered to operate in Luxembourg, despite 26 banks having recently closed. Commercial banks and branches of international banks offer a wide range of retail and commercial services.
Luxembourg has high standards of regulation for its financial services industry. Banks are required to be alert to the risks of corruption, crime and money laundering. As a result, there will be thorough checks of your ID documents, address and income sources before you are allowed to open a bank account.
Banks charge for the transaction costs associated with each account. Some banks offer a set monthly fee, whilst others offer a range of costs for individual transactions. The account that is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances, including access to nearby ATM machines, bank branches, and the types of transactions that you typically generate through your bank account.
The hours of bank branches vary, depending on the bank and the branch location. Most branches open on weekdays at 9am, though some offer pre-arranged appointment times at 8.30am. Closing time is normally between 4-4.30pm, although pre-arranged appointments at some branches can be offered as late as 5.30pm.
Access to bank branches on Saturdays is limited; some close for the entire day and some offer a few hours in the morning. All branches will be closed on Sundays.
Electronic banking has become a normal feature of accounts in Luxembourg. There will be different procedures to generate banking processes online depending on the retail bank account you choose, but they are all aimed at stopping your money from being stolen by criminals online.
As online security increases, scammers now cold call householders with various stories, including claims to be calling from the bank, to try to persuade the account holder to make a transfer. Even experienced professionals can find themselves falling for these ploys. Many banks will not refund customers who unknowingly transfer funds to criminals.
Luxembourg is one of the 32 countries which form part of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Under this system, a bank payment in Euros from a Luxembourg bank account can be made to an account in a different SEPA country as though it is a domestic payment. Credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards are covered by the SEPA harmonised legal framework.
Since electronic payments including direct debits are so common, cheques are not used very much in Luxembourg. If shopping at a supermarket, take a €1 coin to use in a trolley, but most people will pay for their groceries using a debit or credit card.
If you are a resident in Luxembourg, you must pay your taxes there on all income, wherever it is derived from. Your individual circumstances determine whether you are classed as a resident for tax purposes. This includes where you ordinarily live, and whether you have been in the country for at least six months without any significant absences. If you live there for less than six months, you will only pay income tax on your earnings within Luxembourg. Income taxes are due for income earned in Luxembourg even if you live elsewhere.
Tax treaties mean that you will not pay income tax twice if you earn income abroad but are a taxpayer in Luxembourg, or vice versa.
If you are working for an employer in Luxembourg, your income tax and health insurance payments will be deducted at source. Although income tax is a progressive system as in the UK and US, where higher incomes gradually lead to higher rates of tax due, a different approach is used. Firstly, all taxpayers fall into classes according to whether they are single, married, have dependent children or are over the age of 65. Every small increase in income leads to a higher rate of tax, starting at eight percent for those earning more than €11,266 and up to 42 percent for those earning above €200,000 a year for the 2017 tax year. Married couples split their income in half, add it to their partner’s halved income, and pay tax at that income level. This is a much more sympathetic system for couples raising children without two full time incomes coming in. Compare this, for example, to the UK tax system, where in most cases the full timer pays full tax, even if their partner does not earn enough to reach the personal allowance at which tax deductions begin.
The tax year ends on the 31st of December each year. Anyone required to submit tax returns must do so by the following 31st of March, but if your employment is your only source of income and below €100,000 you may not be required to do so. Tax advice for uncomplicated circumstances can be readily found online, but if you have other assets and income then investment in personal tax advice would be worthwhile.
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
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The tiny state of Luxembourg is a nexus point between its European neighbours, and thus if you are living or working here, you will find many languages spoken in the country. Will you need to learn one of them or more? Or can you get by in English? We will answer some of your questions below.
The country has three official languages:
• Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch)
Luxembourgish is spoken by just under 400,000 people worldwide. It is a member of the Moselle Franconian family, and has affinities with High German. 50.9% of citizens can speak Luxembourgish and it is also spoken in parts of Belgium and France. It has a number of dialects. The language was being standardised in the 19th century but standard Luxembourgish orthography was adopted in 1946, known as the “ofizjel lezebuurjer ortografi” or OLO and the language is becoming further standardised. 80% of Luxembourg citizens say that French is their second language, and 16% speak it as a native language. 69% identify German as a second language, and 2% as their native language.
However, some citizens are concerned about the decline of the language and have petitioned the government to make Luxembourgish the main language of the country and to have it recognised as an official EU language. The government has also looked at plans to make Luxembourgish classes mandatory in private schools.
In addition, Portuguese, Italian, and English are spoken in the country. But how easy will it be for you to get by speaking English alone?
A report by Ministry of National Education in 2018 suggests that 98% of the Luxembourg population speak French, 80% speak English, and 78% speak German. You should therefore have relatively little problem communicating in English, and you will also find that many locals speak more than two languages: the average is four languages. German is initially taught in schools for the youngest children, followed by French and then another language, usually English or another European language such as Italian.
Many people in Luxembourg are cross-border workers, thus multilingual and if you also speak French or German in addition to English you should find communication easy. Moreover, English is the lingua franca of business, banking, and EU institutions: if you are working in the country, you may well find that English is the language of your workplace.
You will find plenty of language training provision in Luxembourg, with a range of languages covered: you can learn Luxembourgish if you wish, but also French, German and more. Note that a certain level of Luxembourgish will be necessary if you are to apply for citizenship. Furthermore, the Duchy is pro-active when it comes to preserving the national tongue: you can apply for paid leave – ‘language leave’ in order to study Luxembourgish. This leave authorises you up to 200 training hours throughout your professional career.
The National Institute of Languages might be your first port of call as they teach a range of languages. However, you will also find extensive private provision in the main three languages, from corporate level to summer schools for children. You will also be able to access private one-to-one provision.
Luxembourg municipalities may be able to arrange Luxembourgish classes for you and Luxembourgish is also offered to migrant workers by a number of organisations such as the CLAE – Liaison and Action Committee for Foreigners and ASTI (Association de Soutien aux Travailleurs Immigrés). The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has also created integration measures brought together within the “Contrat d’Accueil et d’Intégration” (CAI).
Services offered via the CAI include discounted language courses in Luxembourgish, French and German with the aim of achieving at least level A1 in one of the three official languages.
You may find difficulty in finding language training resources in Luxembourgish outside the country, but there are some resources online.
Luxembourg is not a major destination for English teaching, due to the relatively small size of the Duchy, but some work may be available. It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA. You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in summer schools.
It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree as most language schools require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work. You may find work in international schools or at university level, but or in-house in the corporate sector for business English. Salaries are in the region of €1000 per month.
Most schools in Luxembourg are run by the state and education is free here. Students must attend school from the ages of 4-16. It is divided into stages:
• fundamental education (enseignement fondamental): preschool (précoce) and primary school
• secondary education
• higher education
Fundamental education is in turn divided into four ‘cycles’:
• first cycle: children aged 3–5 (at the beginning of the year)
• second cycle: ages 6–7
• third cycle: ages 8–9
• fourth cycle: ages 10–11
You can apply to the school directly. Acceptance will be governed partly by location and partly by the spaces available in the school – this makes it important to apply early.
Children learn social skills, cultural values, and basic reasoning skills, including maths, throughout this stage. After the age of six, the emphasis falls on literacy and languages. Schools at this stage start in September and finish in July, and admissions are in August (you should contact your selected school at the start of the summer, however, if you wish to enrol your child for the autumn). You will need to contact the local education department (Service de l’Enseignement) of your commune with the following documents:
• child’s birth certificate
• proof of family residence (Extrait de registre de la population)
• registration documents
At the end of stage four your child will be expected to sit national tests (les épreuves communes) in German, French and Mathematics to determine which lycée they will attend at secondary level. Students usually attend the lycée that is closest to them. Again, you will need to provide supporting documentation, which will include your child’s grades and proof of residence. You can contact CASNA (Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants) for assistance in finding a secondary school.
Secondary education is also split into types:
• Classical education (enseignement secondaire) at a lycée: general, all-round education to prepare students for university
• Technical system (enseignement secondaire technique) at a lycée technique: vocational training such as nursing, engineering and mechanics, which is again divided into four types
Students will finish their studies with the International Baccalaureate or the European Baccalaureate, which certify the completion of secondary education in European Schools. Some, such as St George’s and the International School Michel Lucius, offer A Levels, since they follow the UK National Curriculum.
Your choice of school – public or private – may be dictated by language. Luxembourgish is taught first, in pre-school. Then German is introduced, followed by French, but the teaching language remains German until the age of 15, when French becomes the teaching language in lycées classiques; German remains the language of tuition in the technical schools. English is also taught as a language and is compulsory. Luxembourg offers ‘host courses’ for those wanting to prepare their child linguistically for their stay in the country.
This is ideal if you want your child to become multilingual, but if you prefer your child to be taught in English in a school without quite so much language provision (languages provide a heavy teaching load in the lycées), then you may prefer to select one of the international schools.
Private primary school provision is available, for instance following alternative educational methods such as the Montessori system (this is taught here in French and German), while others provide English-language primary level classes. Some of these schools teach the Luxembourgish national curriculum but charge for tuition, while others follow a foreign curriculum.
For instance, Waldorf School and the International School of Luxembourg focus on the International Baccalaureate, whereas St. George’s International School teaches the National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Lycée Vauban: Lycée Francais du Luxembourg teaches the French national curriculum.
There are also European Schools intended primarily for the children of EU personnel in Betrange/Mamer and Kirchberg. These schools teach in English, French and German.
Most private schools encourage applications by starting with a visit to see if your child likes the school. They will ask for school reports and may arrange a placement test. You are likely to have to pay an application fee (often around €750). You may also have to pay a maintenance fund for maintaining school infrastructure.
School fees will vary from school to school, but as an example St George’s International School charges:
• nursery: €8470 per annum
• reception class: €11810 per annum
• Year 1 and 2: €12300 per annum
• Year 3-6: €12650 per annum
• Year 7-9: €13550 per annum
• Year 10-13: €13,720 per annum
However, you may find yourself paying up to €20K per year in school fees, depending on your selected school.
The Luxembourg Ministry of Education is able to assist you in selecting a school on your arrival in Luxembourg, via CASNA (Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants). This will help you to find the most appropriate school for your child. The service is in a number of languages, including English.
The school day varies here: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the school day runs from 8 am – noon, then from 2 – 4 pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it runs from 8 am – noon. Students are not required to wear uniforms.
The OECD reports that the standard of education in Luxembourg is very high: amongst the best in the world. The emphasis on languages, a product of the country’s location, entails that children educated here will become versed in a number of European tongues. A high percentage of students go on to further education.