When I say employment, I mean not only expats like myself but also French people. Generally it is already difficult for the “natives” to find work – but then of course it means it’s then harder for “us”
What does this mean for expats?
Well in general it means that a French employer will employ someone French first – even if they are looking for someone who can speak English. But for everyone it also means that much of the work available earns the SMIC – which although is better than nothing, it is not a good wage level for the future. Oh and if you find a job you are generally lucky if it’s a contract CDI.
Now who have I heard this all from? Well, French friends, other expats on the net, my ex French teacher, the woman who conducted my bilan de competance last Autumn and from my own experiences. I’d say that from all this evidence finding work is a problem, and also sealed by the fact many French people depart to the UK to find work!
There are also so many wannabe expats who move to France and walk straight into a closed door. They come to France expecting to jump straight into a job that they’ll like and make a life in France.
Well that’s OK if you want to work in restaurants, on building sites or become a cleaner. These are the work areas much in demand in France, precisely because no one wants to work in these areas.
It all depends what you are expecting to do.
But another major problem for everyone, is that if you want to stay in France, wherever you are from – to be able to work in France you need to prove you can support yourself while living here. So coming here with nothing and expecting to get a job within the 3 months limit you can stay in France legally, really isn’t realistic. Especially if you cannot speak an acceptable level of French.
Like many I live with someone who is French and who has had to do a lot to support me because I chose to drop everything in the UK and move here to live with her. I’m quick to realise that I am very grateful. But I’m also quick to realise that if we are in the real world, the only way that someone can truly move to France is if either they have a job ready to move into, or if they fall in love with someone French and chose to move here to live with them. Even the latter is far from easy and can put an extreme pressure on a relationship. I am lucky because Thumpah has been wonderful in our 10 years together.
However, I am still very quick to take a negative attitude to all those wannabes who think they can move to France under their own steam, with very little money, not being able to speak French and realise some romantic dream they had from a holiday here. I’m sorry, but I’ll never change there despite people saying that it’s not the same for everyone and that everyone is different. Based on what I know in my 9 years here I will always try and discourage such people from moving to France, wherever they are coming from (and I know it’s a lot more difficult for people from outside the EU).
The sad fact is that France has it’s own way of doing things – their system is still very stubborn and employers are very much on the borderline, purely because they have so many unemployed people out there to chose from.
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