Re: Tech writing in Europe

Subject: Re: Tech writing in Europe
From: Krista Van Laan <kvanlaan -at- UNDA -dot- FI>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 11:09:28 +0200

I'm an American living in Finland and working as a tech writer. When
I was hired over 2 1/2 years ago, it was difficult for a Finnish
company to hire a foreigner who didn't already have a work/residence
visa. My company had to justify my existence by saying they needed
a native English speaker with relevant experience, and they couldn't
find that in Finland.

Since I started working here, Finland joined the European Union and
I don't think I would be hired under these circumstances. We are now
required to look for an EU member applicant, so if we need a native
English speaker, we would advertise in England.

However, an American, English, or Australian person already living here
with a legitimate work visa can get work as a tech writer with little
or no experience. Finland has a lot of high-tech companies and they
need writers. They also need a lot of freelance English writing here.

I don't know what it's like in other countries, but a friend who was
looking for jobs in Europe said she found that being a technical writer
was a big advantage -- every country already has programmers and system
administrators, but native English speakers with technical experience
were not so readily available. I would guess that if you move to a
country and get a work visa, your chances are pretty good. If you
try to depend on a company to hire you and wait 2 months for the papers
to go through in the U.S., I doubt it will work, at least in an EU
country. And I think it would be really difficult to get work in
Great Britain, where your ability to write English isn't much of a
hot ticket.

There's a good web site for international jobs at

Krista Van Laan
kvl -at- unda -dot- fi

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