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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of moving to Southern France, and am after some advice on how difficult this could be.

I have a freelancing job that I can do from anywhere, and plan to complete a TEFL before relocating.

How difficult is it to register as a self employed resident in France? Would it be difficult administratively to combine part time free-lancing with part time English teaching? How difficulat is it to find TEFL work, and what is the best qualification for it? I have been advised that the CELTA qualification is the best one, but it seems to make less difference in France than it might in other countries.

Any advice would be much appreciated,

R
 

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Registering as an auto-entrepreneur is actually pretty easy. This is the official site: Portail Officiel des Auto-Entrepreneurs and you can do pretty much all the initial sign up stuff online. There should be no real problem having both an auto-entrepreneur business and a part-time "real job" on the side.

As far as teaching English, I'll let the folks who are doing it fill you in.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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For teaching English there are a number of options - international schools like Wall St English in major towns; online "schools"; private tuition; teaching agencies like Acadomia; adult teaching agencies like Capcours, private schools for children ....

Some of the adult schools or teaching agencies require a TEFL qualification - especially if you will be teaching groups. But for adults a knowledge of business English is more useful.

Employees in France have a right to 20 hours training per year, up to 6 years, so this provides a good source of work for international schools + agencies. Also, a company making staff redundant usually has to put together a personalised plan to help them find work, and often this plan will include a course of English lessons.

You will never make a lot of money (think net 15 € per hour) unless you land a plumb job.

If you want to explore the Pole Emploi website for vacancies your best bet is to specify the Code Rome - start with K2111 for adults.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for this info. So it looks like the self employed freelancer part will be easier than i expected.

I am not too worried about the English language teaching being low pay. It's just that doing just the freelancing work could be quite solitary. Ideally I'd like to specialise in scientific or academic English teaching, as my freelance work is editting scientific papers for non-native writers, so I have the knowledge base for this specialisation. However it appears that this type of specialisation would be a lot easier in Asia, but I don't want to move there. Any ideas for fidning work in this area in France would be much appreciated
 

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Freelance for both?

At the risk of helping a potential competitor :( you could do both as a freelancer, as I do. I have occasionally worked as an employed trainer and as a "vacataire" (a sort of in-between status reserved for supply teachers, visiting lecturers, etc.), but mostly I freelance as an Auto-entrepreneur registered to work in "formation continue d'adultes" and in "traduction et interprétation", which includes copy-editing etc (at least, that's how I interpret it!).

It is amazingly simple to work as an AE - you are so lucky! When I started 12 years ago it was an administrative nightmare, very expensive, and a real gamble.

I would say that a teaching certificate is essential, as many as possible in fact. The French just love you to have bits of paper with embossed stamps. I have the CTEFLa but I didn't go to Uni 35 years ago so I don't have the magic "Bac+3" and can't teach state programmes. If you have the right papers you'll certainly find worthwhile work in ESP, and if you want to teach kids for low rates then you'll be inundated.

Shelagh
 

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But before you get auto-entrepreneur status, you need to have the right to work in France and a visa allowing you to work, right? Unless you're part of the EU - What is your nationality?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for this advice Shelagh. I guess it makes sense to work as a freelance teacher, if i'm already registering as a freelancer for my editing work. I am keen to find work specialising in scientific/ technical/ academic English (am educated to phd level in earth sciences), so guess my job searches would be most fruitful in a city with a scientific university and lots of scientific industry?

(I am a british citizen, so no visa issues)
 

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But before you get auto-entrepreneur status, you need to have the right to work in France and a visa allowing you to work, right? Unless you're part of the EU - What is your nationality?
Not necessarily. I posed the question to the AE people (at the government AE portal site) and they said that, even on a tourist visa you can go to the prefecture and ask them to change your titre de séjour to one that mentions your line of work (and that you are qualified to do it) and with that you can apply for AE status.

Now, how difficult your local prefecture is likely to be about the process is another question. Le créateur étranger - APCE, agence pour la création d'entreprises, création d'entreprise, créer sa société,l'auto-entrepreneur, autoentrepreneur, auto-entrepreneur, auto entrepreneur, lautoentrepreneur, reprendre une entreprise, aides à  la création for more information (in French).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Working as a freelancer in France

In cases just like yours, when you do the kind of work that can be done from anywhere, then doing your work from France because you just happen to be there does not constitute "working in France." Therefore, in theory, you should be able to go to France on a visitor's carte de séjour, provided you can show enough income from this work to support yourself. The one downside of this scenario is that you would not be able to engage in any other professional activities in France.

However, even if you were on a work visa, such as the self-employment visa, you would have to chose one type of business. You would not be allowed to do both the teaching and the work you are currently doing as a freelancer in the context of this visa. The French immigration system is not very flexible this way. It assumes that you are only in one line of work.

While a self-employment carte de séjour is usually fairly easy to get, consulates like to see that you have had prior self-employment experience in the field in which you intend to be self-employed in France. They do not like you to start a brand new line of business as you move to France. One way to work around that would be to have several clients already lined up. So in that context, one strategy might be to first go to France on a visitor's carte de séjour doing your freelancing activity, use this time to make contacts with people involved in the field, and eventually turn your visitor's status into a self-employment status, enabling you to teach English there on a self-employment basis.

Good luck to you!

Laurence Raybois
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In cases just like yours, when you do the kind of work that can be done from anywhere, then doing your work from France because you just happen to be there does not constitute "working in France." Therefore, in theory, you should be able to go to France on a visitor's carte de séjour, provided you can show enough income from this work to support yourself. The one downside of this scenario is that you would not be able to engage in any other professional activities in France.

However, even if you were on a work visa, such as the self-employment visa, you would have to chose one type of business. You would not be allowed to do both the teaching and the work you are currently doing as a freelancer in the context of this visa. The French immigration system is not very flexible this way. It assumes that you are only in one line of work.

While a self-employment carte de séjour is usually fairly easy to get, consulates like to see that you have had prior self-employment experience in the field in which you intend to be self-employed in France. They do not like you to start a brand new line of business as you move to France. One way to work around that would be to have several clients already lined up. So in that context, one strategy might be to first go to France on a visitor's carte de séjour doing your freelancing activity, use this time to make contacts with people involved in the field, and eventually turn your visitor's status into a self-employment status, enabling you to teach English there on a self-employment basis.

Good luck to you!

Laurence Raybois
I am not sure how or if any of the above applies to me. I am an EU citizen, so do not need a visa/ work permit. My reason for wanting to register as a freelancer in France rather than keeping my salary coming through Germany is taxes and health insurance. Once I move to France, I'd rather my salary goes through the French system so that I have health insurance there, and can cancel my over-priced German policy. Is it as complicated as you have outlined when I am a British citizen?
 

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Working as a freelancer in France

I am not sure how or if any of the above applies to me. I am an EU citizen, so do not need a visa/ work permit. My reason for wanting to register as a freelancer in France rather than keeping my salary coming through Germany is taxes and health insurance. Once I move to France, I'd rather my salary goes through the French system so that I have health insurance there, and can cancel my over-priced German policy. Is it as complicated as you have outlined when I am a British citizen?
I had assumed that you were a US citizen, and indeed, it is nowhere near that complicated for a EU citizen. You should have it pretty easy!

Laurence
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Shifting the topic slightly, can anyone offer advice on finding somewhere to live? I fear I'll be in a chicken and egg situation of needing a job to secure an appartment, but an address to secure any work. I have not been freelancing for long enough to produce tax returns to show my income from that. Are there some kind of short term lets that would be available until I get an employment contract that could be used to secure a longer term rental agreement?
 

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2 activities as a freelancer

You would not be allowed to do both the teaching and the work you are currently doing as a freelancer in the context of this visa. The French immigration system is not very flexible this way. It assumes that you are only in one line of work.
I know much of what you said, Laurence, was under the misapprehension that a visa would be needed, so doesn't apply in this case. Still, the problem with doing two activities as an AE is not quite true. Certainly, you can't be a gardener and sell perfume. However, you can have a main activity (the one that qualifies you for training etc) and a related sub-activity or even two. In this case, both are related to giving aid in a foreign language and it is perfectly OK to do both.
 

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More ideas/info

To answer a few more points, Rosie:

It sounds as though Toulouse might be a good bet but I don't know that much about the universities. Montpellier specialises in agriculture, food, medicine - that I do know.

Whilst it's true that you can be employed by a German company or be registered as freelance there, that will stop if/when you stay more than 6 months of the year resident in France. Then you automatically become a resident for tax purposes and things get complicated. As it's so easy to register in France, I would have thought that was the way to go if you're really thinking long term.

You're right about accommodation being a problem. When my son wanted to rent, we'd been living here for about 10 years. But my husband's income was paid in GBP into a UK account and mine was variable, small freelance earnings - neither qualified! We had to find a French friend with a salary to act as guarantor. That discrimination is actually illegal, but...

The best bet might be to get a long-term rental of a holiday studio or apartment. These tend to take a lot of students in uni towns but if you choose one well away from the fac they are quieter. Search for "résidence hôtelière" or "aparthôtel" or similar. They could well be a bit seedy though.

Shelagh
 
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