Living it up as an ex-pat tech pro in Europe is not quite the pipe dream you may think, depending on which country stirs your interest. Landing a gig in the cities many Americans fancy -- Amsterdam and Paris -- remains a significant challenge.
The main reason: Europe has its own pool of talent to fill many of its tech jobs, and its immigration systems largely discourage hiring foreigners.
And with the euro-dollar exchange rate not in your favor, don't expect to work anywhere in Europe with the idea of saving money. Living cheaply in Europe is a thing of the past.
While storied Paris and English-friendly London and Dublin are desirous despite recent recessionary fears, you might want to look further east to places like Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev has the foundation for an excellent, modern infrastructure -- and with the right skills, it may be far easier to work in Kiev than in Paris.
Still, shifting attitudes on either side of the Channel are likely to open tech posts to foreigners, as both Great Britain and France work to revamp their immigration policies. For example, France is moving toward a selective immigration scheme, placing a premium on highly skilled workers over family reunification and other traditional claims to residency. Those with the right skills will be granted a three-year resident status.
While each European capital has its own rules, all members of the European Union are collectively considering the "blue card" system. Patterned after the U.S. green card, it is an attempt to stimulate skilled-worker immigration and allow the seamless exchange of skilled workers among the 27 E.U. members. If passed by the E.U. parliament, a blue card will grant permanent residence based on employment to non-E.U. citizens whose skills are considered desirable.