IR Search Anton van Rossum

Anton van Rossum 

28 April 2022

V.Z. asks:

Several months ago, we exchanged emails about an RF IC design position in the Netherlands. You told me then that I have almost no chance to get the job while living in Iran.

Recently, I found an interesting postdoc position at a Chinese university. I like China. It’s a developed country that has its disadvantages, of course, but also a lot of advantages. The postdoc position comes with a reasonable grant for research and manufacturing as well as access to a well-equipped laboratory – my two main challenges in Iran. I’ll also receive enough salary to improve my economic situation – the cost of living is much lower in China, so I can save money.

This would be a great opportunity for me, but before applying, I was wondering if we could talk again about my job outlook in Europe. Do you think that after the postdoc in China, I’d be able to apply for industrial vacancies in Europe? Or do I need to settle for another postdoc position in Europe first?


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The headhunter answers:

The position you applied for when we were in first contact was at a company that didn’t want to damage its relationship with its big American partners in light of the EU and US high-tech trade boycott and other sanctions against Iran. Among other things, the regulations stipulate that Iranian engineers can’t be in contact with technology that can be used for heavy weaponry. So it was your nationality that was the issue there, not your place of residence.

However, if you could build up a 5-year working history in the Netherlands and acquire a Dutch passport, you wouldn’t have this problem anymore. There are plenty of Iranian engineers in the European and American high-tech and semiconductor industry who are working on ‘sensitive’ technology. The only explanation I can come up with is that certain rules are being ignored because of the labor market shortage. You could of course also look for work in a less sensitive area – the biomedical field, for instance, could be very interesting for you.

If you want to pursue a career in Europe in either research or industry, you shouldn’t stay in Iran too long. You should spread your wings and expand your knowledge and experience as soon as possible. If you find an interesting position in China, you should take it.

Your job opportunities in Europe don’t depend on whether you’re living in Iran or China. It’s all about having the right specialization and knowledge – and some luck. If you’re from the ‘wrong’ university (ie considered to be siding with the Iranian regime), however, EU regulations forbid European universities from hiring you.

Your chances of getting a position in industry would increase if you were already living in Europe. It would make it much more attractive for companies to hire you as many of them don’t like paying for international relocation. And you’d be seen as having some ‘international experience’ and maybe also some knowledge about European culture and languages.