Your EJSU posting

A families' guide to living in EJSU supported locations

Overview

The European Joint Support Unit (EJSU) HQ provides tri-Service support, to Service personnel and families, in many different countries across Europe. The main headquarters is based at SHAPE, which is in Mons, Belgium.

Covering such a diverse area, it is impossible to provide specific information for all EJSU supported locations, so the information below is just a broad outline of areas for you to consider.

Most people would view the standard of living in Europe as equal to, if not better than, the UK; but AFF’s experience is that some of the locations may present challenges for some families.

Whilst the EJSU endeavours to match UK standards in healthcare, education, welfare and family support, there are some forms of support that are not possible to provide in certain locations.

If you are at the stage of considering a family posting to EJSU, please do get in touch so AFF can provide you with the information and contacts you need to make an informed choice. ejsu@aff.org.uk

Contents

01   Pre-screening

Once in receipt of your assignment order, you should be able to access a web link to the EJSU welcome pack. Not only does this provide key information on your posting, it also includes all the forms you will need to complete prior to booking your removals.

Families have a responsibility to declare their circumstances, medical and educational needs, that may require additional support, to ensure that these needs can be met in their assignment area prior to accepting their assignment.

02   Passports

Check them today! You are responsible for ensuring that everyone in your family has a valid passport and in some cases a valid visa. You can claim back the cost of your passport for all immediate family members where a renewal or initial application is necessary; your soldier’s Unit Admin Office (UAO) will guide you.

If someone in your family doesn’t have a British passport, you must ensure they have the right travel documentation for the country that you are posted to. Visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk for all you need to know, or try the Foreign & Commonwealth section of the AFF website.

03   Housing

In EJSU, all Service Family Accommodation (SFA) allocations are processed by DIO. You must complete an MOD e1132 (application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) at the earliest opportunity. This will enable DIO to assign suitable housing for you and your family. Please note:

  • DIO and the MOD do not own any houses within EJSU, all housing stock are private hirings and as such they are unlikely to have any excess stock. You are unlikely to get more than one choice of property and you have no automatic right to refuse the accommodation.
  • Depending on your posting, you are unlikely to be allocated a house on a traditional patch, you are more likely to be located within the local community, which gives excellent opportunities to learn the language and fully immerse yourself in a country’s culture.
  • The general housing stock within EJSU is of an excellent standard and usually modern.
  • Please be aware that although DIO can make some adaptions to houses, to suit an individual’s medical requirements, they cannot always do these if the works required would be extensive or if the landlord does not consent to the changes to be made to the property.

04   Spousal employment

In comparison to other overseas locations, opportunities to gain local employment, or undertake training and educational courses, in the larger locations are reasonable. In the more isolated areas it can be very limited, so plan what you will do with your time.

05   Primary education

Education provision varies across EJSU supported areas. In some locations, MOD schools are used. Where MOD schools are not available, international schools are used where possible. However, parents should be aware that some of the international schools offered will not be suitable for all children and there is no English speaking provision in some locations.

The only EJSU locations that have access to MOD schools are SHAPE, Brunssum, Naples and Ramstein.

Using a local school can bring other holistic benefits to a child; it exposes them to a different culture and community and gives them the opportunity to learn a different language at a young age.

06   Secondary education

There are no MOD schools providing a secondary education in EJSU. Secondary education is covered by the use of international schools, where possible, which either provide the facilities for children to complete the International Baccalaureate or IGCSE’s. There can be quite a considerable amount of travel involved for children to get to these schools, and in many locations there is no access to a school bus, which will mean that you will be responsible for taking and collecting your child from school.

07   Childcare

Provision differs across the EJSU locations, but in general, families should be able to access 15 hours of childcare per week for 38 weeks for 3-4 year olds free of charge as per UK entitlement.

In some areas this will be provided through MOD-provided settings or through access to the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.

From 01 September 2017, entitlement to the 30-hour provision will apply as per the UK regulations, but may be restricted by current local provision.

08   Medical & dental

Healthcare is provided to Service personnel and their families through either the SSAFA LLP contract or through the Healix Medical Contract. In locations, such as SHAPE, Ramstein, Naples and Brussels, UK military clinics provide primary care. In other locations it is sourced from local providers using host nation public health services or the private sector. Secondary care is provided locally in all locations.

If you are posted to a location that is covered by Healix, you will need to ensure that you and your family have completed all the necessary paperwork prior to arrival.

09   Pets

Families planning on bringing pets with them to EJSU supported locations should be aware that they will need to comply with local law as well as UK regulations in taking their pets abroad and then back to the UK.

You should also be aware that not all SFA provided in Europe is suitable for large pets. Advice should be sought from the proposed assignment location.

As the CO of EJSU says: “It is best to come with an expeditionary mindset” to make the most of your assignment and time in Europe.

10   List of EJSU Locations

Belgium – Brussels, SHAPE

Bulgaria – Sofia

Estonia – Tallinn

France – Lille

Germany – Geilenkirchen, Goch, Mönchengladbach, Münster, Oberammergau, Ramstein, Wesel

Italy – Milan, Naples, Poggio

Latvia – Riga

Lithuania – Vilnius

Netherlands – Brunssum

Norway – Stavanger

Poland – Bydgoszcz

Portugal – Lisbon

Romania – Bucharest

Spain – Albacete, Torrejon

Turkey – Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir

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