Working in France - finding a job in France
There are a number of ways that you can find work in France – in addition to standard employment, you can use your property to fund your life, or even set up your own dream business.
If you are moving to France with a plan to work to fund your life out there, one of the most important things for you to consider is what kind of work you should consider and how to go about it. For UK and other EU residents living in France, there are no restrictions on working or setting up your own business here – providing your comply with all relevant local legislation and tax criteria.
Finding gainful employment
The first thing you will need to consider when looking for work in France is the difficulties that you may face competing in the local market. It’s very important to research the demand for employees in your area of interest, and bear in mind that France currently has a much higher unemployment rate than the UK. For qualified professions, you must bear in mind that you will be required to qualify in France too – for example, you will not be able to teach in France with just English teaching qualifications. If you wish to teach English as a foreign language, there are plenty of internationally recognised courses that you can take, such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Skilled craftsmen, such as builders, stonemasons, plumbers, decorators and the like can often find work in rural France – after all, there are likely to be many British people buying properties which need some kind of renovation, and they will often choose to deal with their fellow English speakers. However, for this kind of work you must make sure that that you are registered with your local affiliation body. To find work, it can be wise to sign up with the Pole Emploi, a nationwide resource for work of all types.
If you wish to continue a qualified profession in France, you will need the relevant French qualification.
Making a living through your French property
One increasingly popular way for British expats to fund their life abroad is by using their property for business purposes. Those who have not moved to France full time may choose to rent out their property as a holiday let when they are not using it to offset the cost of the property; others may choose to turn part of their property into a profitable B&B (chambres d’hotes) or gîte business. The latter in particular is an excellent way of making money if your house is large and you have space. To set up your property as a chambres d’hotes, you will initially have to register with the local mairie (mayor), providing as much information as possible – including the number of rooms, guests and operational periods. It is important to note that a chambres d’hotes is limited to a maximum of five bedrooms with 15 people staying at any one time. Once the mairie has confirmed that they are happy with this, they will pass this onto the local prefecture, who then processes the request further and once it has been approved will add your property to its community list. The mairie will also be able to advise you on standard charges for this, and the best ways to advertise. It’s also important to remember that this kind of endeavour requires a certain amount of commitment – providing breakfast, making sure the house is clean and tidy, providing fresh linen and towels and so on. But you can also think of this as a great way of using your house to its potential – earning money in the process.
Setting up your own business
In theory there is nothing to stop you from setting up your own company – whether this is through buying a franchise, buying out an existing company, or starting something from scratch. Of course, this possibility is by no means easy or risk-free, but if you have previous experience running a company, there is no reason why you cannot maintain your lifestyle in France this way too. It is very important to remember that in France you are likely to find that there are more forces working against you than when you set up and manage a business in the UK. You may well find that locals support other locals instead of foreigners, and you may find that tax and employment regulations do not make financial sense for the smaller companies – and this is before you factor in the language barrier. You should also bear in mind when you are purchasing your property with the pure intention to set up a business that commercial mortgages can be very difficult to obtain.
If you have previous experience running a company, there is no reason why you can’t maintain your lifestyle in France this way too.
Become a freelancer online
Another option is to find a product you can sell or a service you can provide online. Maybe you could write an eBook or advertise your proofreading abilities. You could take up project based work, like editing, programming, graphic design, project management, accountancy, telesales and much more. If you’re lucky, you will build up a reputation for yourself and be able to pick what you want to do and how much you are willing to handle!
Learn the language!
It may go without saying that whatever you wish to do workwise in France, we would definitely recommend learning French to a reasonable standard.