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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, this is my first thread I have posted in relation to moving to France (hopefully).

My hubby, children (6 & 3) and myself are hoping to move to france as soon we are able to. We are currentley looking at different regions, property, schools, taxes, employment oppurtunties and its becoming a bit of a mine field!!!!
We really would be grateful of any help from those who have already made the move, as we don't know anyone who has moved to france to question.

Me and my husband dont have a trade, but have worked all our lives, myself as clerical/supervisory for the last 10 years and my husband for the local council, and also a keen writer. when looking for informatin regarding employment, it seems virtually impossible to get a job. Is this really true and do us brits struggle to get employed over in france? Also can we get any help when finding employment?

Also what region to choose?? we want a warmer climate for a better outdoor life, than we have here in the midlands, but also a region with best employment oppurtunities, also schooling for my two children. Any suggestions?? Herault? pyrenes - atlantique? landes?

We have been thinking of moving for a long time ever since our first child was born, and have decided that we are probably best to rent 12 months and explore different areas, before commiting to buying a property. we are currentley learning french as well as my children, as know the importance of this barrier.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Many Thanks.

Natalie and family
 

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As I've said many times here, nothing is impossible in France, however you've got a couple of tough obstacles to overcome in your project to move to France.

You say you don't have a trade. One thing about the French job market is that the French are a bit obsessed with "qualifications." On the job experience often doesn't seem quite as interesting to French employers as the proper qualification - which usually means academic paper. Whatever formal training you have, you should try and equate it, however roughly, to the French educational system.

The warmer climates with better employment opportunities are pretty much exactly what the French themselves are looking for. Just saw a recent piece on the French news saying that more and more French people are moving to the West and South - especially to those departements that are on the sea coast. OK, this means more competition for jobs, but it also should mean more opportunity for those who can serve some need for the hoards of newcomers from other parts of France.

Finding employment in France really does require a reasonable level of French language skills. Speaking English will certainly come in handy, but not unless you can conduct at least day-to-day business in French.

Not really advice as such, but a few things to consider as you plan your move.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thankyou for your reply Bev, much appreciated, any advice is good advice to me, I'm glad to here that jobs are not unheard of then,.. this is our biggest worry with moving, I suppose time will tell how well we do, but I dont wear rose tinted specs and no that it will be hard, it just seem'd where ever I looked there was such negativity towards employment in France.

We are trying our best to learn french, from courses, watching french movies, its hard but determined, our daughter has been having private lessons since 4 and has a general understanding, I hope this pays off in the end.

We do have some further education qualifaications, such as Art History and media, more creative qualifications as I have a love for the Arts as does my hubby, but really dont think these will stand for much, as not exactley experts on any of the subjects!! I suppose we already have in mind swapping a life in the U.K with decent salaries for a lower income & job role for a better quality of life to give our children.

When we move to France for the initial renting period, will I be able to put my daughter( who will be 7) into school with ease? We aim to move (pending deciding on an region)by sept/oct 2010? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thankyou

Natalie
 

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Thankyou for your reply Bev, much appreciated, any advice is good advice to me, I'm glad to here that jobs are not unheard of then,.. this is our biggest worry with moving, I suppose time will tell how well we do, but I dont wear rose tinted specs and no that it will be hard, it just seem'd where ever I looked there was such negativity towards employment in France.

We are trying our best to learn french, from courses, watching french movies, its hard but determined, our daughter has been having private lessons since 4 and has a general understanding, I hope this pays off in the end.

We do have some further education qualifaications, such as Art History and media, more creative qualifications as I have a love for the Arts as does my hubby, but really dont think these will stand for much, as not exactley experts on any of the subjects!! I suppose we already have in mind swapping a life in the U.K with decent salaries for a lower income & job role for a better quality of life to give our children.

When we move to France for the initial renting period, will I be able to put my daughter( who will be 7) into school with ease? We aim to move (pending deciding on an region)by sept/oct 2010? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Can I just put some basic Do's and Don'ts about relocation (some not specifically about France but within EU generally)?

DO have enough savings to tide you over for 6 months to a year in case jobs are hard to come by. I'd say at least 15 to 20,000 euro (£13500 to £18000).

DO get EHIC (European Health Insurance Card - apply online) for each of you. This gives you emergency medical care in France, and helps you should you join French health scheme on finding a job. Apply for E106 if you are going to be in France longer than 3 months. This gives you cover for up to 2 1/2 years, or until you find a job and join local scheme, whichever is earlier. You should be eligible for E106 if you have been paying Class I NIC for the past few years.

DO rent first before investing your hard-earned cash into property. Do spend a winter in a location - a place that looks lively and balmy in high season may be dead and bitterly cold in winter. This includes many areas in the south and west.

DO try home schooling or international (English-medium) school first instead of putting your children straight into the local state system (your younger child will be in nursery or maternelle). Until you know you are going to stay in an area for good, you want to reduce their trauma of a completely new and strange environment - you want to ease them in gently. AFAIK, you don't get much of a choice of schools and are simply told which school has a place. French system is academically competitive, not all schools offer extra support for non-French speakers and are ruthless about making pupils repeat a year if they aren't up to scratch.

DO look for opportunities in the expat market first until you can compete on equal terms with locals on language and familiarity. This is tough, as the expat market has been shrinking wth many people already having gone home or planning to do so, and those still in France are tightening their belt on all but the essentials. As for competing for jobs with locals, there's big and growing unemployment and many national and local government jobs are classed as civil service and they can discriminate against non-French nationals on recruitment, with EU approval.

DON'T underestimate the power and extent of French bureaucracy. If you think the red tape is bad enough in UK, it's 100 times worse. Getting angry and frustrated by officialdom won't get you anywhere, no matter how arbitary and unreasonable it seems to you. Be patient, be polite, smile and do exactly as they tell you (mostly!) Oh, most forms are available in French only, with answers in French.

DO try fact-finding trips before you move lock, stock and barrel. At least France is cheap and easy to get to, and you can scout out several areas for rentals and jobs using your holidays or unpaid leave. Go there in low season too.

DO be realistic in your expectation and always have a plan B in case things don't turn out as planned. If you own a house in UK, rent it out, not sell, until you are 100% sure you are going to live in France permanently. Don't cut out your ties to UK - keep your bank account and credit card (and get online access). Put furniture etc in storage or leave with relatives if you can. Keep networking with existing contacts in case you need to return to your former jobs or in related areas.

Hope you find them helpful, and best of luck!
 

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When we move to France for the initial renting period, will I be able to put my daughter( who will be 7) into school with ease? We aim to move (pending deciding on an region)by sept/oct 2010? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thankyou

Natalie
You shouldn't have any problem getting your kids into the schools once you've actually moved to France. But let me emphasize one of Joppa's points in perhaps a slightly different light: Where he says to make some "fact-finding" trips, I'd prefer to suggest taking a couple extended vacations - maybe during the school holidays - to check out the job situation and to practice your French in a realistic setting.

I can tell you from experience that the first time(s) you find yourself in another country, dependent on your foreign language skills, it can be kind of discouraging. It can take a good 3 months of living someplace and being more or less "forced" to use the local language before you have any idea what's going on.

During an extended vacation, you can stay somewhere where you do your own cooking, and scout out the schools, the jobs, etc. It's a good introduction to actually living in France vs. just vacationing there. And really starting to look around for jobs may give you some idea just how difficult it's going to be.

It always worries me when people talk of moving to France (or anywhere) to get away from the situation where they are. France has its own set of problems and inconveniences (! polite term !!) that may well bother you more than the situation in familiar surroundings back home. That's true of anyplace you might consider moving to.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thank you again for your posts, We are going out to france in 5 weeks time for a week, flying marseille, hiring a car and looking about, then we have another trip planned for 3 weeks in May aswell. I would have loved to have had another look about in the main school holidays, but quite pricey, and trying our best to save!

We plan to rent from sept/oct as really want to avoid any busy periods, as I for one really dont like busy places, so would aim to look within a hamlet or small village, hopefully about 30 minute drive from a town (for employment purposes) would be ideal.

We do have enough savings to support ourselves for the year and we have been paying NI for a few decades between us, so I will enquire into the health insurance card to see if we are entitled to this, ( thankyou for the advice).

I suppose the reason for moving, is down to that fact ever since we got married we always wanted to try living abroad, and as the children get older i know the harder it will be for them, so we are seeing this as the ideal time.
there are factors in the uk that we dont want such as the materialistic pressures of growing up and the old keeping up with jones's pressure, is somthing we have always despised. also the lack of outdoor life for the children, I suppose there are few more aswell, but wont bore you with them!!

What regions would you recommend?

Thank you

Natalie
 

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Funny you should ask about regions just now. There are lots of folks, both those already in France and expats coming in, who are all excited about moving to the south, "to the warm weather." I just check the France Info website, and the current snow and slippery conditions alert has just been put out for all those southern regions people think of as "warm."

In general, the weather in France is better south of the Loire River. But, most of the jobs, and probably the bulk of the English speaking expat associations are based in the Paris area (where it has just stopped snowing and traffic is supposed to be completely messed up - with a whopping 5 cm of light, fluffy snow on the ground).

Long way of saying don't move just for the weather.;)

In the current climate, I think you pretty much have to work out the job situation first, and then find a place to live in that area. (Jobs are not easy to come by in France these days.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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<<<We are going out to france in 5 weeks time for a week..... trip planned for 3 weeks in May >>>

IMHO Nowhere near enough time to do anything other than get a pair of rose-tinted sunglasses

<<<< hopefully about 30 minute drive from a town (for employment purposes) would be ideal.>>>

IMHO You have very little chance of getting employment within three years

<<<We do have enough savings to support ourselves for the year >>>

Its none of my business, but make sure you have enough savings to see you through the year and return back to the UK and set yourselves up in whatever it is you will want to.

<<<I suppose the reason for moving, is down to that fact ever since we got married we always wanted to try living abroad, >>>

'suppose' 'try' living 'abroad'?? That's a long way from WANTING to SURVIVE in FRANCE. Capitals are to emphasis the difference.

<<<so we are seeing this as the ideal time.>>>

Its the worst possible time - not from the kids pov, they'd adapt anywhere or anytime.

<<<there are factors in the uk that we dont want such as the materialistic pressures of growing up and the old keeping up with jones's pressure,>>>

You really think that doesn't happen in France? Its human nature, and only the extremely conservative financial system here keeps it in check

<< What regions would you recommend? >>

I'd recommend staying in england, visiting as many areas of france over the next two years as you can on the cheap, network like gangbusters and then re-evaluate.

All very blunt, I know, and Ive been hauled over the coals more than once for my bluntness, but the overwhelming majority of returning expats are the ones who have bought blindly into dreams and then failed to work 24/7 to make them a reality. They then feel it was somehow the fault of the french, and blame anyone except themselves.

Anyway, I promised I'd play nicely, so that'll be all from me on the subject - probably.
 

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Before we moved to Spain (this was about 3 years ago), we wanted to move to France, my best friend and her husband had taken early retirement there and I speak french, so we thought it would be fairly easy. We did a lot of research and the one thing that stood out was the job situation. Three years ago was before the present crisis, so jobs werent quite as scarce, but the French look after their own regardless of any crisis! We rapidly became aware that as far as employment was concerned that (legally or not, right or wrong) French employers do not seem to employ foriegners over a french person, regardless of qualifications or skills (unless you're majorly outstanding - and we werent lol)!

Also, unlike Spain (and this maybe a good thing??) There isnt the abundance of "brit" communities over there. My friend who has lived there for 6 years now has been lucky and is totally accepted by her french community, but it took time and wasnt easy. Many a time she'd phone me crying, because she and her husband felt so isolated. The eventually found another english woman in their village who had lived there forever and was married to a french chap - that gave them the link they needed to intergrate

Anyway, thats my twopenniesworth!! Whatever you decide to do, dont burn your UK bridges cos when the "chips are down" theres no place like home - especially when you have kids

Jo xxx

Just my observations

Jo xxx
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ha, dont worry about being blunt, I take it all on board. We have been to France several times, but not with the view of moving (seriously anyway). I will do more research on the matters that have arisen from the views in this thread.

Its good having opinions from those have done the move/transition to France, As I posted before, We really dont Know anyone that has moved out of England, so any information is great.

I agree I would never cut my ties from england, just in case we need a bolt hole, and would still keep our foot on the property ladder over here.

Gosh so much to weigh up!!!

I dont think many places have escaped the snow over the last week -12 here tonight!!!

Thanks for your views.

Natalie
 

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Hi Natalie and co - like others I have to recommend caution - the biggest worry would seem to be employment - what jobs could you do with little French and your existing qualifications and experience?

A lot of internet research is called for - there is no shortage of links for employment opportunities for English speakers in Europe. But they might lead you to Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse.

My wife and I have been forced out of early retirement here due to the demand for English tuition - but this work never provides a great deal of income - just really pin money and if you prefer a village/hamlet then there won't be any demand for this.

Googling expats leaving France might lead to depressing reading, but that's reality for many.

Simply trying to be realistic - leaving your jobs in the UK to try to find work in France could end up in tears - (would you be able to find work if you went back to the UK?) But trying to find work in France is hard enough without having to do it in the UK.
 

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Hi, I have just joined this forum and this thread. How about social security for Natalie and her family? They have two kids, wouldn't they get any financial help with rent and other things anyway?
 

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Hi, I have just joined this forum and this thread. How about social security for Natalie and her family? They have two kids, wouldn't they get any financial help with rent and other things anyway?
Not straightaway. Generally you need to be living and working in another EU state for some time before you are eligible for social security (welfare) benefits, which differ from country to country. There is a specific EU rule that states that EU migrants must not become a burden on the state they move to, and there is often a minimum income level set just above the trigger point for welfare payments. Otherwise masses of workers and their families from 'poorer' EU states would move to 'richer' EU states to claim all sorts of welfare benefits and thus become an intolerable burden on the state that receives them.
Just about the only thing a newly arrived family are entitled to is emergency medical care and jobseekers' allowance, if the worker was already eligible for it in their home country.
 

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Not straightaway. Generally you need to be living and working in another EU state for some time before you are eligible for social security (welfare) benefits, which differ from country to country. There is a specific EU rule that states that EU migrants must not become a burden on the state they move to, and there is often a minimum income level set just above the trigger point for welfare payments. Otherwise masses of workers and their families from 'poorer' EU states would move to 'richer' EU states to claim all sorts of welfare benefits and thus become an intolerable burden on the state that receives them.
Just about the only thing a newly arrived family are entitled to is emergency medical care and jobseekers' allowance, if the worker was already eligible for it in their home country.
Ah, ok!
Now my sister, who has after 30 years of living in France returned to Germany, told me that there are a great number of people moving from arabic/african countries and get their social money immediately. But they have to have at least three !!! children. And they do not come from any European countries.
Is there a difference?
W.
 
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<< Otherwise masses of workers and their families from 'poorer' EU states would move to 'richer' EU states to claim all sorts of welfare benefits and thus become an intolerable burden on the state that receives them.>>

...which is exactly what has happened with britain, although only a few people in that country seem to have the guts to point it out; the moment anyone does so, they get labelled a 'racist' by the PC lobby.

But one day, soon, the chickens will come home to roost...
 

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Ah, ok!
Now my sister, who has after 30 years of living in France returned to Germany, told me that there are a great number of people moving from arabic/african countries and get their social money immediately. But they have to have at least three !!! children. And they do not come from any European countries.
Is there a difference?
W.
It also depends quite a bit on the statute they come over on. Those claiming asylum get a certain level of social support, at least while their claims are being investigated and processed. Those simply migrating without claiming asylum are not eligible for much at all - though France (and other EU countries) generally won't deny aid for children if it's a matter of food and shelter. The government has been bragging about how many illegal immigrants they shipped back last year.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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While treatment of EU nationals is basically laid down in EU statutes, that of non-EU migrants, asylum seekers and refugees is subject to national legislation, which differs widely. Some countries may be more generous than others, but all are under enormous political pressure domestically to control such spending or reduce it to absolute minimum. There is a perception among migrants that some countries are softer than others (such as UK), hence a large number of illegal migrants camped out in Calais trying to smuggle themselves into UK on backs of lorries.
 
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There is a perception among migrants that some countries are softer than others (such as UK), hence a large number of illegal migrants camped out in Calais trying to smuggle themselves into UK on backs of lorries.
Yes, and as long as the uk govt shows a spineless and lackadaisical policy towards repatriation this situation will continue - I dont remember seeing any reports about illegal immigrant numbers going down since Sangat closed.

In case you think Im overegging the pudding, there was a recent case in teh UK about an illegal who had his application to stay refused twice. Whilst awaiting deportation, he drove an uninsured car, killed a toddler, and was subsequently GRANTED his Visa. What sort of message does this send to the worst kind of illegal immigrant - ?that the UK is a tough cookie, don't bother coming? I don't think so.......

In an ideal world, the illegals would be put on a plane and returned to country of origin within 24 hours. No excuses, no exceptions. And before the cries of 'racist' start to get too loud, I'd apply it to brits on the black in boston as much as bulgarians in bradford.
 

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Bulgarians are EU citizens now so have the right to live and work in UK (with some restrictions), but I do take your point. Have you been watching UK Border Force on Sky 1? On-the-fly documentary about UK Border Agency trying to implement immigration law, often against all odds. Like when illegal migrants have no passport or 'lost' it, they cannot be deported and have to be released.
 
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