Expat Essentials: Europe has career opportunities for the highly skilled internationals the U.S. is turning away

(Editors note: Dispatches Europe posts frequently about career opportunities for highly skilled internationals. You can see our career archive here.)

Quick … of the world’s Top 100 most valuable companies ranked by market capitalization, how many are European tech companies comparable to Facebook or Google? This is an easy number to remember – zero. As in zilch, nada, none.

The most current list we could find is topped by Apple, and most of the companies are American (Facebook), Japanese (Sony), South Korean (Samsung) or Chinese (Tencent). There are a few Europe-based companies on it, but most are old-line pre-digital companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever, or what used to pass for high tech such as SAP and Siemens. But no equivalents to Netflix, Uber or Salesforce.

Here’s another number to remember: Twenty-two. As in 22 June 2020. That’s the date when Europe got a second chance … the day Donald Trump renewed his suspension of visas for foreign workers through the end of 2020 to “give American workers a break in the pandemic.” Those include L-1 visas that allow highly skilled multinationals to rotate in employees from overseas operations and H-1Bs, which allow American companies to hire highly skilled internationals.

And here’s the correlation between recruiting the world’s best and brightest and building the largest company: We’ve posted about this before, but most of the greatest “American” innovators before 1990 were Europeans, from Warner von Braun to Andy Grove. Even Georges Doriot, the genius who actually came up with the concept of venture capital that makes America’s startup ecosystem so potent, was born in Paris but spent his entire career in the U.S.

After 1990, Indians and Chinese started replacing the Germans, Hungarians and European Jews after Jim Clark hired Pavan Nigam for Healthscape, an early digital healthcare startup. By 1996, half of the 55,000 U.S. visas awarded to high-tech workers went to Indians.

In 2020, Europe is perfectly positioned to gain top English-speaking tech talent turned away by Trump, recovering from the pandemic while America is imploding. This includes U.S.-based tech giants shifting more international talent to innovation hubs in Europe such as Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Dublin and Berlin.

Now, the fine print:

The biggest opportunities for highly skilled internationals are with the biggest companies, because those companies have HR departments set up to help talent get the necessary long-term work visas. BUT, you typically must have unique tech or management skills Europe-based companies can’t find locally. OR, you might already be in, say, Germany or the Netherlands with a spouse, which gives you a lot more latitude to work for smaller companies and startups.

Here’s the Dispatches visa archive, which includes startup visa information.

So let’s look at a quick sampling of opportunities for you, highly skilled internationals:


This Eindhoven-based photolithography behemoth has about 120 nationalities among it 25,000 employees working at 60 locations around the globe. If you’re a physicist, engineer or star manager, this is the place to be.

At the height of the boom times last summer, ASML was hiring about 300 people per month including highly skilled internationals just at its giant HQ here in Eindhoven. And remember, ASML has operations across Europe, the U.S., China and Taiwan.

So far in 2020, the attitude at ASLM, which sells 40 million euro room-sized machines to chipmakers, is “Pandemic? What pandemic? We’re still hiring ….”

The most current jobs in Europe on ASML’s website include:

Software design engineer – Eindhoven

Metrology engineer YieldStar overlay – Eindhoven

Customer support engineer – Dresden

Group leader electronics and software development – Delft

See all their jobs here.

SMART Photonics

This cutting-edge scale-up in our headquarters city of Eindhoven is developing next-gen computing capabilities based on transmitting data via light packets rather than conventional electron circuitry. This photonics technology is so important to the Netherlands – and to Europe as a whole – the Dutch government just chipped in more than half of a 35 million euro funding round to keep American VCs from gaining control of the company and the tech.

SMART Photonics has multiple openings including:

Technical Project Leader

Senior Equipment Engineer


As soon as the visa suspensions were announced, Sifted had a post quoting Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve, founder of the hot Paris-based digital insurance startup Alan. Samuelian-Werve tweeted that Alan is hiring engineers, designers and techs. And he added talent can ping him directly on Twitter.

What are you waiting for? Him to ping you?


Silicon Valley (Los Gatos)-based Netflix is expanding operations in Europe, where Amsterdam is its headquarters. All over-the-top streaming content companies have done very, very well during the pandemic, and Netflix best of all. The company added at least 16 million new subscribers, with shares up about 40-percent since March.

They have about 30 opportunities listed in Amsterdam alone including:

Talent mobility specialist EMEA (contract) managing relocation and immigration for employees and their families. (See what we’re talking about?)

Senior software engineer

Netflix also has operations in Paris, Madrid, Berlin, London and Rome. You can see all those jobs here.


Think about it … how many virtual meetings have you been in since March? At each one, you might have heard a quiet “ka-ching” in the background as the cash register at Zoom’s HQ in San Jose rang up another sale. Honestly, what tech category will need more and better talent in these uncertain days? Yep, enterprise video conferencing communications.

Zoom opened its new EMEA headquarter in Amsterdam about one year ago. They have a variety of current job openings for highly skilled internationals here including:

Account executive, DACH region

Enterprise customer success manager

Note: Most jobs at Zoom require English and another language. The company also has jobs in Paris and London. You can see them all here.

At the end of the day, business is pitiless, amoral and agnostic … all about competitive advantage. The global economy is global because globalization brings efficiencies in labor and capital. It’s just the way it’s going to be. The nationalists are always preaching self-sufficiency and shorter supply lines, but that’s wishful thinking in the 21st century.

Michael Corleone said it best: “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” If a competitor makes a mistake and you’re not there to capitalize on it, shame on you.

Will Europe get itself organized in time to take advantage of America’s failings? We’ll see ….

Here’s our quick list of key expat innovators who built American dominance:

 Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel, was a Hungarian Jew whose family survived (barely) first the Holocaust, then the Communists, by luck and guile. Grove built Intel into the dominant chip developer during the personal computer boom of the 1990s and 2000s.

• Vinod Dham, creator of the Intel Pentium processor, was born in Pune, India. Dham also was a co-inventor of the Flash memory chip. Without Dham, no Pentium processor. Without the Pentium processor, no PC dominance.

• Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian graduate student, Abdulfattah Jandali. You’ve heard of Steve Jobs, right?

• Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, was born in Moscow to Jewish parents who immigrated to the U.S. to escape dismal lives in the Soviet Union.

• Peter Thiel started as part of the PayPal Mafia. Thiel, who went on to invest in Facebook and found big-data pioneer Palantir, was born in Frankfurt to German parents who immigrated to Cleveland.

• Elon Musk, the most celebrated PayPal Mafia alumnus, was born in South Africa. After PayPal, Musk has had a pretty good run with Tesla and Space X.

• Max Levchin, yet another PayPal Mafioso, was born in Kiev, Ukraine to a Jewish family who left for the U.S. after being granted political asylum. After PayPal, Levchin founded Yelp and other tech startups.

• David Sacks, born in South Africa, is our final PayPal Mafia alum. Sacks went on to found social media tool Yammer, which he sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion. In cash … big No. 4 paper grocery bags full of Franklins, or so we hear.

 Steve Chen was born in Taiwan. With Jawid Karem (a Bangladeshi/German born in Germany) and Chad Hurley, both PayPal Mafia (but you saw that comin’), they founded YouTube in 2005, which they sold to Facebook in 2006 for $1.65 billion.

Here’s a sampling of current CEO’s at America’s biggest tech companies:

• Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was born in Hyderabad, India and came to the U.S. as a grad student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Safra Catz, current CEO of Oracle, was born in Holon, Israel and has degrees from Wharton biz school and the law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sundar Pichai, current CEO of Google/Alphabet, was born in Madurai, India. He holds degrees from Stanford and Wharton.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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