Luxembourg is a small European country tucked between Belgium, Germany, and France. Despite its modest size and population of just over 600,000, Luxembourg enjoys the highest GDP per capita in the world. Known as a global financial hub and for its stable political climate, Luxembourg attracts foreigners looking to relocate for work or a better quality of life.For those considering a move to this wealthy nation, there are two primary paths:
Getting a Work Visa
With a strong job market and business-friendly policies, Luxembourg actively recruits foreign talent to fill open positions. Securing a work visa is the most straightforward route to legal residency.
Understanding the Job Market
Luxembourg has a diverse, service-based economy. Major industries include:
Finance and banking
As an international financial center, banks and investment funds drive much of Luxembourg’s economy. Major employers include BNP Paribas, J.P. Morgan, Amazon, PayPal, and more.
Law firms, accounting firms, management consultancies also attract foreign professionals. Big names like PwC, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, Dentons, and Allen & Overy have Luxembourg offices.
Technology and telecommunications
Data centers, IT security, fintech, and satellite communications technology thrive here. Top tech employers are Skype, Amazon, SES Global, Bitstamp, and Rakuten.
Logistics and distribution
Luxembourg’s central location made it a major logistics hub. Amazon, DHL, FedEx, Cargolux, Kerry Logistics all have operations here.
Despite its small size, Luxembourg is an industrial powerhouse in niche areas like satellite technology, automotive components, chemicals/plastics, metal manufacturing, and more. Goodyear, Dupont de Nemours, Husky Injection Molding, and IEE S.A. have factories here.
With major multinational companies present across sectors, Luxembourg has many openings for managers, engineers, IT specialists, accountants, lawyers, consultants, and financial analysts. Those with in-demand skills or experience have ample job opportunities.
Popular job search sites include:
LinkedIn is also widely used. Job seekers may also engage professional recruiters to access unadvertised openings. Major agencies include Hays, Robert Walters, and Badenoch & Clark.The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and British Chamber of Commerce also list openings at member companies.
Understanding Work Visas
Citizens of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland can work in Luxembourg without restrictions. For other foreign nationals, obtaining a salaried work visa typically requires:
With some exceptions, having a concrete local job offer is mandatory before applying for the work visa. The employer initiates the sponsorship process.
Under the Skilled Workers Scheme, qualified professionals in shortage occupations may qualify for expedited or simplified visa processing. These fields include IT, engineering, life sciences, and finance.
Work visas are issued for jobs requiring higher education degrees or specialized technical skills. Certain lower-skilled occupations may also sponsor foreign workers after demonstrating no qualified EU candidates are available.
The offered salary must be aligned with standard wages for the profession to ensure foreign recruitment does not undercut local pay rates. Minimum salary levels are defined by law.
Labor market testing
Before hiring non-EU citizens, employers must post vacancies through the National Employment Agency’s ADEM for three weeks to confirm no suitable EU candidates exist.
Language skills – For most jobs, applicants need some proficiency in Luxembourg’s official languages – Luxembourgish, French, and German. Strong English is often acceptable for global companies.
Applying for Work Authorization
With an eligible job offer in hand, employers submit work visa petitions through Luxembourg’s Directorate of Immigration.Standard steps include:
Employer requests temporary work authorization from the Immigration Directorate.
Upon approval, applicant files for a long-stay “Salaried Worker” D visa at their local Luxembourg consulate.
After entering Luxembourg, the employee must apply for a temporary residence permit within 90 days.
After working for 2 years continuously, employee can typically apply for permanent residence.
Spouses may receive a partner visa for the duration of the term.
Launching a Business
Luxembourg also attracts foreign entrepreneurs through incentives like easy company formation, intellectual property protections, competitive tax rates, and excellent infrastructure.For non-EU citizens who want to live in Luxembourg long-term and have sufficient capital, obtaining a self-employed work visa by starting a local business can offer more flexibility than the traditional employment route.
Understanding Business Visas
Luxembourg issues self-employed work authorizations to business owners planning to operate or invest in local companies. Key requirements are:
Business plan – Applicants must submit a viable business plan for launching the Luxembourg enterprise. This should detail the business concept, products/services, market analysis, projected finances, hiring targets, and growth outlook.
Innovation – Priority is given to innovative projects or those bringing specialized technical knowledge.
Investment funds – Proof of sufficient capital to launch and operate the business for the first year must be documented. Most applicants should have around €50,000 minimum.
Economic benefit – Proposals should highlight how the activity brings value to Luxembourg through job creation, tax revenue, or other local economic impacts.
Owner involvement – The applicant must have an active role in the company through an executive position or board membership. Absentee ownership is not permitted.
Additional criteria may apply for specific business types or activities.
Forming Your Business
While awaiting visa approval, applicants can establish the company structure:
Choose a legal form – Common options include a public limited company (SA), private limited company (SARL), partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each have different setup costs, ownership rules, legal liability, and tax treatment. Most small businesses register as a SARL.
Select a unique name – Company names must be distinct from existing registered businesses and meet language criteria. The centralized trade and companies register verifies name availability.
Appoint a manager – Every Luxembourg company must designate a local resident manager responsible for legal compliance. This is often fulfilled by a corporate services firm rather than the owner.
Open a bank account – To process transactions, companies need a local bank account. This also provides statements to document financial capacity.
Register for taxes – Businesses must sign up for applicable Value Added Tax (VAT), income tax, and other tax obligations.
Set up office space – While not absolutely required, having a dedicated local office can reinforce ties to Luxembourg. Coworking spaces offer flexible short-term options.
Applying for Business Residence
With the entity established, the entrepreneur can file for residence under the self-employed category. This involves submitting:
Completed work visa application form
Copy of valid passport
Comprehensive business plan
Proof of necessary investment funds
Registration documents of the Luxembourg company
If approved, the applicant can obtain a D-visa from their nearest Luxembourg embassy. After arriving in Luxembourg, the individual must still formally apply for a residence permit within 90 days. Renewals are required annually for the first few years until permanent residency eligibility kicks in.Spouses and children may be included as dependents.
Which Option is Right For You?
Luxembourg offers multiple avenues to legal residency for those ready to make the move. The best approach depends on your personal situation.Seeking employment is the more common and straightforward option. Luxembourg recruits talent from across the globe to fill open vacancies. Candidates with an existing job offer in a high-skilled occupation generally have high approval odds. The main challenges are finding a sponsoring employer and getting hired without already living in Luxembourg.
Launching a business allows greater independence and long-term stability but has higher capital requirements. Success hinges on crafting a compelling proposal and following through with execution. Business owners must shoulder more risk but enjoy greater rewards over time by building equity in a Luxembourg enterprise.Either path can lead to this tiny country with massive prosperity. For qualified applicants committed to making it work, Luxembourg rolls out the red carpet. Don’t miss your chance to plant roots in Europe’s richest land. The time to make your Grand Duchy dreams a reality is now.