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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys...

I'm a UK citizen looking at moving with my girlfriend and new baby to France later this year. I'm new to the forum so apologies if this has been asked a million times (I did a search but didn't see anything super helpful).

What is the procedure with finding jobs in France? Is it easy to find something if your French is okayyyy but not fluent? Where do you look for jobs? Do you go to agencies or do you approach companies direct?

My French is probably about high B1/low B2 although I'm a bit out of practice. Normally get up to speed within a few days though. My GF is probably more like A2 for language.

I'm mostly customer service experienced with a bit of hospitality plus some film/creative stuff which could be bigged up.

We are looking at moving to Bordeaux towards the end of the year. As a fallback I am lining up seasonaires work in Morzine but I'd rather go somewhere I can get stuck into the language/culture etc.

Any advice/success/scare stories would be much appreciated. I've looked at sites like indeed.fr and adecco but any on the ground info would be grand.

Merci a tous!
 

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Hi guys...

I've looked at sites like indeed.fr and adecco but any on the ground info would be grand.

Merci a tous!
Hello

Did you find any jobs that you could apply to on those sites ?

Why Bordeaux BTW ?

Forget job for a minute, how do you rent a flat ? That is a loaded question :)


Eurotrash and others will be along to offer some advice.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Smeg! There was nothing amazing that I spotted yet but I will keep an eye out. This is kinda why I was asking for advice about where to search.

Why Bordeaux? Why not... I have a few applications in for Morzine ski season as that is a bit more straightforward (plus I have friends in that area). I had also considered Montpelier and Marseille and even Spain but the Bordeaux location/lifestyle is the decider for us.

I do some freelance writing too but I would quite like to get a job, at least to begin with, to get to know people/culture etc.

For flats, I have been looking on seloger and leboncoin - prices look OK. Any other reccomendations also appreciated. I live in London currently so anything will seem reasonably priced after this...
 

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The problems you are facing are these...

- No flat (no residency in France) no job.

- No job, no flat. More importantly, you will need to have been it that job for at least 3-6 months (payslips !!!) before you will be considered to rent a flat. The contract will also have to be a CDI.....quite rare. You also need a whole lot of other stuff which you will struggle to produce.

- Bordeaux and Montpellier are very popular places for French grads to look for work. With very high unemployment in France, you have your work cut out to convince any employer to employ you over someone who is native French, in the system, and most likely can speak English.

Your chances are not good to be fair.

Welcome to the EU !

The ski resort is a better proposition but can you support a small family. Probably not. France is a very expensive place to live and work.

Telling you like it is.
 

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I honestly have to say that Smeg has been very realistic about your chances. It can be very difficult to find a job in France, even for the natives, but particularly for a foreigner with less than good French. (Though the language proficiency can relate to the type of job you're looking for and your qualifications.)

A big factor in job hunting in France has always been WHO you know, as personal ties and recommendations are a big part of finding a job here. The other big thing that puts foreigners at a disadvantage is the French reliance on your qualifications (over experience). Having a diploma or degree in your field very often trumps several years of experience - though this is starting to change. If you have credentials, you need to "translate" them into the closest French equivalent. (Example, a "bachelor's degree" in French is a "bac+3") Look up online how a French resumé is supposed to look and tailor yours accordingly.

You may want to start by scanning the job listings on Pole Emploi (you don't have to be receiving benefits to sign up for their site). They tend to list all sorts of jobs, from executive positions down to part time babysitting and housecleaning gigs. But it will give you some idea of the range of available jobs and what they're looking for. You can use the various online job hunting boards (LinkedIn, Monster.fr, Stepstone.fr, etc.) if only to see what jobs are listed and what qualifications they are asking for. Or scan the websites of companies you think you might like to work for and see if they list job openings online. For some types of jobs, you'd do better to "pound the pavement" and go direct, even to the point of asking about jobs posted in shop windows. Larger companies often prefer to use the Internet as an initial screening. Talk to the temp agencies (like Adecco - but there are others).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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As usual Smeg has hit the biggest nails right on the head with his unique softly softly approach ;)

Other facts to consider:

In the UK, NHS cover is residence based and is free at the point of delivery. In France, you need to qualify for health cover by paying cotisations, based on either earned or unearned income, and it's not free at the point of delivery. Healthcare for a new mum and baby is not something you would want to risk being without I assume.
In the UK child allowance starts with the first child. In France child allowance starts with child number 2, there is no child allowance for the first child.

You don't say exactly what your motivation is for wanting to leave the UK. All you say is location/lifestyle, but unless you're very lucky you don't just rock up in France and walk into a ready made lifestyle, you have to build it from scratch. As Smeg says, living in France isn't cheap and finding well-paid work isn't easy. There aren't enough jobs to go round and there are a lot of French people would also "quite like to get a job"- quite like to, as in, they've been trying for months or even years. Do you have plenty of savings or investment or rental income that you can live on comfortably if you don't find work? and enough income to meet the criteria for "legal" residence and get you all into the French healthcare system?

If finding work is essential, both to provide an income and to meet the legal residence criteria, I suggest you come over by yourself first and look for a job, and get your gf and child to join you once you've nailed a CDI.

Sometimes it's only after people have left the UK and lost the safety net of free NHS care, child allowance etc, that they appreciate the value of what they've thrown away. Don't make that mistake.
 

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When I was job-hunting over there I found the "pigeon holing" to be widespread and difficult to get past.

The notion that you must have the EXACT job title on your c.v.

For example, you could have been the top computer salesman at PC World/Darty, but you wouldn't be entertained for a job selling televisions, fridges, cars...

On the Pole Emploi site you will see that they list New Car & Used Car Sales as two separate careers.

Bon Courage !


* ET : We received child benefit for our child, but it ended on his 3rd birthday. I believe this would have continued for extra children.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey guys, thanks for your responses... Sounds like I should think of somewhere else to move to then.

The property catch 22 situation sounds like a pain in the ass, but perhaps if you pay up like 3-6 months that would work? Oui ou non? I think thats the deal with the seasonaire apartments I've been looking at anyways.

As for work, yes maybe I need to sort something first. Well, its been a while since I've been to Bordeaux so perhaps I should go knock on some agency doors or something. This is also kinda the idea with seasonaire work, establish myself as a working resident and see what happens when that ends. Its office based work not chalet or anything so the pay is half decent (or decent enough).

Out of interest, you're all expats. How did you guys get on the property chain and find jobs? Did you have work before you arrived?

Network wise I have family across France and friends around Morzine/Geneva area. However I came to London 5 years ago not knowing anyone and have built a good network. I know language etc, but hey... Thats part of the fun. I know lifestyle comes with time which is something I'm prepared to work at - well, thats life eh.

One point that might be unassailable though. Healthcare could be an issue.

I get that you're all trying to be realistic and hit me wth the hard truth etc, which is good. Any words of encouragement or shall I give up on my French dream now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK thats good to know... I've heard about the pigeonholing, i've got so much on my CV I can probably work something out!
 

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I can't speak to the job hunt thing, but the general impression I've gotten is you'd need better than B1 for that.

However, yes, you can find an apartment without having a job I believe. As you said, you need to be willing to put up more money up front or something along those lines. Usually dealing directly with the landlords makes this possible....as opposed to dealing with an agency, which is where you'd hit solid walls, I imagine. You just have to find someone willing to be flexible and work with your situation and hope it's not a scam... So it's a trial and error type thing, but not impossible. Riskier than dealing with an agency buuuut that's the route you'd have to go I think in your situation (i.e., not French, don't have a job set up, no French payslips to show, etc).
 

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* ET : We received child benefit for our child, but it ended on his 3rd birthday. I believe this would have continued for extra children.
Was your baby born in France? Only I had a notion that you only got the early years thing if you'd had your pregnancy and birth in France and had had the prime de naissance, could well be wrong though.

Re the rental issue, that arises because tenants are so well protected under French tenancy law, it's hard to evict them even if they don't pay the rent. Therefore in order to protect themselves many professional landlords take out insurance against non paying tenants. Insurers insist on a permanent job contract with a salary three times rent etc etc etc. and landlords won't usually accept a tenant that their insurers won't cover. As SoleilCouchant says, to get round this you would need to contact more flexible landlords, which tends to mean the sub prime sector which can be dodgy in various ways. Or alternatively you can keep renting short-term holiday accommodation all year round but that will work out expensive.
 

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Hey guys, thanks for your responses... Sounds like I should think of somewhere else to move to then.

The property catch 22 situation sounds like a pain in the ass, but perhaps if you pay up like 3-6 months that would work? Oui ou non? I think thats the deal with the seasonaire apartments I've been looking at anyways.

As for work, yes maybe I need to sort something first. Well, its been a while since I've been to Bordeaux so perhaps I should go knock on some agency doors or something. This is also kinda the idea with seasonaire work, establish myself as a working resident and see what happens when that ends. Its office based work not chalet or anything so the pay is half decent (or decent enough).

Out of interest, you're all expats. How did you guys get on the property chain and find jobs? Did you have work before you arrived?

Network wise I have family across France and friends around Morzine/Geneva area. However I came to London 5 years ago not knowing anyone and have built a good network. I know language etc, but hey... Thats part of the fun. I know lifestyle comes with time which is something I'm prepared to work at - well, thats life eh.

One point that might be unassailable though. Healthcare could be an issue.

I get that you're all trying to be realistic and hit me wth the hard truth etc, which is good. Any words of encouragement or shall I give up on my French dream now?
'Freedom of movement' in the EU means that you can move to look for work for up to 3 months, but that you must have private health cover and sufficient resources to ensure that you will not be a burden on the social security system of the country you move to - otherwise you are not legal.
 

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If you start off with a solid stint of travail saisonnier in an office for a French employer, that would be something to big up on your CV. It would also get you into the social security system, and depending on how long you work for, your rights would probably continue for a certain period after the work ends, if you don't find anything else straiight away.

A random thought on that: if you'll be using computers as part of your job, how are your azerty skills? If you're not used to an azerty keyboard, that's something you could usefully acquire and practise on before you move. Getting q's and z's all over the place used to drive me demented for the first couple of weeks after I switched - best get over that phase in the privacy of your own home I think, rather than amusing your new colleagues with your bad language.

perhaps I should go knock on some agency doors or something
In Caen, employment agencies have notices on the doors giving a couple of time slots per week when new candidates can queue up to apply to go on the books. Sign of the times, they don't need more job-seekers on their books, that's how bad it is round here. But saying that, I expect the employment situation would be somewhat better in Bordeaux.

Absolutely don't give up on the dream if it's what you want but don't expect it to magically come true without proper planning. You really do need to find out how things work in real France as opposed to dream France, to know in advance what issues you're going to come up against and how you can deal with them. On the other hand, if the dream essentially consists of walking straight into a job without fluent French, renting a beautiful apartment without credentials, getting carte vitales and free healthcare just for the asking, etc, it would be a shame to spoil it by superimposing reality. Leave it as a nice dream for a winter's evening.
'Freedom of movement' in the EU means that you can move to look for work for up to 3 months, but that you must have private health cover and sufficient resources to ensure that you will not be a burden on the social security system of the country you move to - otherwise you are not legal.
Note that this is an EU requirement, not just France. I don't think it's any easier in Spain, for instance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Absolutely don't give up on the dream if it's what you want but don't expect it to magically come true without proper planning. You really do need to find out how things work in real France as opposed to dream France, to know in advance what issues you're going to come up against and how you can deal with them. On the other hand, if the dream essentially consists of walking straight into a job without fluent French, renting a beautiful apartment without credentials, getting carte vitales and free healthcare just for the asking, etc, it would be a shame to spoil it by superimposing reality. Leave it as a nice dream for a winter's evening.
Yeah I'm realistic enough to know that it'll take some work. I've done the same thing in Thailand and London, ie: turned up and started from scratch, living in crap apartments and hostels until I had a better job. So I know it can be done, just as France is more complicated than Thailand (which is cheap and relatively easy to get adhoc work) and London (masses of jobs, English speaking etc). Also having new baby in tow does change things.

I might go for the seasonaire job although in the back of my mind the other option has been Spain; which seems to be a little bit more accessible for foreigners (although it obvs has plenty of complications of its own).

I'm sure anyone reading this down the line will be aware of Expatica, but theres some handy info on there too. (it won't let me put a link in cos I've got less than 5 posts)
 

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If you visit the Spanish section here on ExpatForum you'll see that there are similar "challenges" in moving to Spain. And, with Brexit hanging over everyone's heads now, things are likely to get a little more complicated over the next two years.

You shouldn't give up on the dream. Just need to realize that, with a child in tow, you probably want to get the employment side of things settled first before you up stakes and make the big move. It only takes one job offer to set the whole chain in motion, though that one job offer will probably take some time to find (depending on your qualifications).

As to the matter of coming to France as a "job seeker" - I think the main issue is that you aren't considered a "resident" if you're just looking for work. The three month limit is based on the EU regulation that you can transfer your unemployment payments from your home country for a period of three months - but you are considered to be "just visiting" during this time, and basically still covered by your home country health system.

But still, if you have seasonal work here in France, you could use your free time wisely and try to scout out the longer term employment and accommodation issues while you're "in town" to see what your possibilities are.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes the whole Brexit effect is basically what I'm fleeing anyway so I'm also aware of the hassle there. The seasonaires jobs rely on Brits so they've been reassuring me they'd do everything they can to make it work in future (stupid Brexit :mad:)
 

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From the Expatica site: "If you can’t find your ideal job at first, look at what other jobs in France are on offer and consider taking something else to get your foot in the door."
I do wonder sometimes if the people who write this content have actually been there and done it. Clic Clac's gripe about pigeon holing is closer to most people's experience I think. If your ideal job is checkout operator because you have experience as a checkout operator, then that is the job you are most likely to get. You are less likely to get a job you have no experience in, even if in your eyes it's a menial job that anyone can do. Eg if you have no experience of being a cleaner and no qualifications (yes, seriously - you learn elfin safety regs and what products to use for different types of cleaning) you are not likely to be offered a job as a cleaner, especially if they think you have no real desire to be a cleaner and will be off as soon as you find something more interesting. So it's all very well saying "consider taking something else", first you have to convince them to offer you it.

Apart from that quibble, though, the advice seems pretty sound.
 

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The seasonaires jobs rely on Brits
This saisonnier work, they do employ you on a French employment contract don't they? If not, it's not going to get you into the French system, contrary to what I said above, and in fact living in France and taking a job in France on a UK employment contract could open a can of worms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I do wonder sometimes if the people who write this content have actually been there and done it.
I'm a freelance copywriter who writes for various travel magazines, so I can testify that no they haven't always. Although I try to stay as close to personal experience as possible.

Also yes, I don't wanna be a checkout operator but I do have an office admin job lined up in Morzine (and there is ALWAYS driving work in season at most ski resorts).

I'll come back and let you guys know what happens anyways.

Out of interest though, how did you proper expat guys get jobs in France?
 
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