France

Why France Could Be A Good Choice For Immigration

France, officially known as French Republic is located on the western edge of Europe. Its capital city is Paris, the most populous and famous city. France is bordered in the west by the north Atlantic Ocean; in the northeast by the English Channel; in the north by the North Sea; in the south by the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Monaco, Andorra and maritime borders with the United Kingdom. With a population of 67.4 million people (in 2021), France is Europe’s most important agricultural producer and on the world’s leading industrial powers. Out of the total population around 9.7% were immigrants living in France during the year 2018.  It is estimated that 587,300 Portuguese immigrants are in France as of 2021. An average of 47,400 third-country students migrated to France from 2000 to 2018, thus making France on the most sought-out country for immigration. 

France, ranked consecutively 5 years for being the best place in the world to live in, as per the Annual Quality of Life index.  This ranking is done by the International Living magazine who has been analyzing data and punishing from the last 30 years.  The following reasons make France the best choice to immigrate:

  1. World’s best health care system is the leading factor which puts France in the top position followed by infrastructure, security and risk.
  2. Education is of high quality here as teachers are well educated & well-paid. The education system in France is centralized, organized and free.
  3. Located in the center of Europe, France can be easily accessible from Spain, Andorra, Monaco, UK, Germany and Italy.
  4. Paris is the fashion Icon which influences the whole world.
  5. Renowned Food and wine are found here. France Wines are one of the finest and inexpensive.
  6. Life is slow and enjoyable here as people of France like to enjoy family, food and holidays, that’s why it is said of the French people, “French Work to Live, not live to work”

Traveling information:

The France government has eased borders from 12th February’2022 for all Covid-19 vaccinated travelers seeking entry into French.  The entry conditions are defined by the classification of departure countries. The countries are categorized as Green OR Orange. Green Countries are those in which no active circulation of the virus (covid-19) is observed and no variants of concern are identified. The Orange countries are those where there is active circulation of the virus, however in controlled proportions and those countries whose name is not in the green list.

All travelers must fill the following two forms before boarding for France:

  1. EU-PLF form
  2. Eos Electronic form

The EU-PLF is the digital Passenger Locator Form that all passengers travelling to France must fill.  The Form needs to be filled and submitted ONLY on the official website (app.euplf.eu).  The form filling is “Free of Cost”, therefore any website charging you for filling the EU-PLF is fraud and will not be accepted. Please get all the information before you fill the form. Log on to app.euplf.eu

New rules have been introduced for travelers arriving in France, which are updated in interieur.gouv.fr.   This website will give you all the updates and the list of Green countries is also listed here.

Travel by Air:

Most European Airlines have regular flights to France. Direct Flights from UK are available on Air France / British Airways / KLM/ Swiss and TAP. Low fare flights to France will be available on EasyJet, Flybe and Ryanair.

How to immigrate:

Since France is a part of the European Union (EU) and a member of the Schengen Zone, any citizens belonging to EU/EFTA country/regions can travel to France without a passport/visa. They will have to register as a resident and have the same rights for work and study as French nationals. However, spouse/relatives travelling with EU/EFTA citizen must apply for residence permit within 3 months of arriving in France.

All non-EU/EFTA nationals must apply for a long-term French Visa and residence visa if the stay is longer than 90 days. The French Visa can be procured at a French Embassy or Consulate in your country or On-line before six months of your travel. The official France-Visa Website to apply is: france-visas.gouv.fr

Documents needed for your visa type is mentioned on the Visa Wizard on the above mentioned website. Some standard documents to apply for Visa are:

  1. Travel ID – Valid Passport for atleast 3 months after the travel dates.
  2. Passport size recent photograph – 2 nos.
  3. Supporting documents – proof of reason for travel / Proof of Finances / Health Insurance / Study invitation letter etc.  

The next step after application is paying the Visa Fees and submit the Biometric Data. For this an appointment at the French embassy or consulate is scheduled and you need to be present in person at the scheduled time & date. There are different fees for different types of Visas. To know the fees of the Visas, please visit: france-visas.gouv.fr

Types of French Visas:

  1. Short-Stay Visa (for 3 months visits or less)
  2. Temporary Long-Stay-Visa (upto 1 year stay)
  3. Long-Stay Visa (Over 1 year stay)

The Short-Stay Visa (category C Schengen Visa) is granted for tourism, business trips, short-term study, family visits, medical care and any short work-related visits. The Schengen visa allows you to travel around the Schengen Area for its duration.  

The Temporary Long-Stay French Visa (VLS-TS) is valid for 1 year and are non-renewable. After 3 months of arriving in France, you need to validate this visa, only then you can freely travel around the Schengen area. If you want to extend your stay after 1 year than you need to apply for a French residence permit. To do so, visit the website: administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr

This type of visa is granted for the following:

  1. Temporary seasonal worker
  2. Transfers to a French branch of an International company
  3. Foreign Language teaching jobs
  4. For medical professional’s jobs lasting for a year or less
  5. Students who have graduated in master’s level in France and want to search for highly skilled jobs in France.
  6. Short-term study or training courses
  7. Temporary training visa for young between the ages 18 to 30 to come & work in France as an “young au pair. Please log on to france-visas.gouv.fr, for more details.
  8. Special purpose visas which includes
    1. Volunteering for three types of services which are Civic Service, Association- based volunteer work and European Voluntary service (EVS)
    2. Work Holiday Program- Youngsters aged 18-30 years from 15 selected countries who want to tour and discover France culture.

The Long-Stay French Visa is granted for stay longer than 1 year, however initially it is issued for a year and then long-term residence permit has to be obtained.  You will need to apply for a French residence permit within two months of arriving in France to remain here legally.

This type of visa is granted for the following:

  1. Work
  2. Study
  3. Family
  4. Extended private stay visa (retirement)
  5. Asylum Seekers & refugees in France
  6. Residence and Citizenship in France
  7. Residency for UK nationals living in France before Brexit 

People: 

People from France are called French People. Generally French people are kind and generous, especially towards people who are nice with them. They expect their visitors to be kind and well behaved. If you are nice to French People, then you will certainly experience their goodness. Learning the French language is the best way to show respect to them if you plan to live and work in France. It is good to learn some etiquette (rules) which are highly expected among the French people. Greeting a person when you meet them and saying good bye when we are leaving or saying thank you may not be considered important in many nations, but here in France these matter a lot. Therefore, learn to say few important rules before coming to France. Some people also take lessons about the rules and etiquettes to fit in well with the French culture which really matters in work and enjoying a peaceful life in France.  We found the “takelessons.com”  website helpful, which may be helpful to you.

Job offers: 

France has jobs for skilled expats in the field of Computers, machine operators, butchers, carpenters. Medical, Lawyers, veterinary, construction workers, surveyors, banking, teaching etc. So lots of jobs but meeting the requirements for these jobs is a must right from making an application the French-Style. The French uses Curriculum Vitae (CV) instead of Resume, so make sure you have a CV made with all the relevant updated facts about you and your qualifications. A covering letter is a must along with the CV. It is highly recommended that your CV and covering letter be translated into French language and also make sure that it does not have any mistakes or errors. If the post is in English and no special mention is made that the application be in French that it can be applied in English itself. The best jobs portals which has helped many to find a good job in France are: 

  1. Eurojobs
  2. Pole-Emploi
  3. The European Job Mobility Portal
  4. Jobs in Paris
  5. Cadre Emploi

Other excellent way to get a job is networking on social sites like the LinkedIn, Facebook etc. Many big companies hold industry events and exhibitions which will give you exposure to the companies needs and vacancies. So be in touch with news to find these events. It is good to make a “elevator pitch” ready in case you introduce yourself to company’s professionals anytime in events or elsewhere. Make sure this pitch must not be too long, just to introduce who you are and explain your professional capabilities.  There are 100s more thing you need to know about jobs so research endlessly till your find success.

How much to expect in terms of salary in France? The minimum wage is €10.48 per hour or €1,589.47 for 35-hour working week. The average wage for private sector worker is €2,370, and the public sector is €2,300 while a self-employed worker earns €3,820. The salaries are reviewed annually and the minimum wage must increase at the beginning of the year according to the French Labor Code.

Hope this brief information will help you. For preparing yourself for job interviews, please log on to www.fluentu.com

Unemployment rate:

The unemployment rate of France in the year 2020 was 8.62% which was a 0.18% increase from the year 2019. It had decreased from 9.41% in the year 2016 to 8.44% in the year 2018. In the 1st quarter of 2022 it was 7.3% as the number of unemployed people decreased over the previous qtr. It decreased by 0.8 points over the year and stood 0.9 points below its pre-crises level (at the end of 2019). In 2019 it was at its lowest level since 2008, with the exception of the drop in the spring of 2020 due to the first lockdown.

For more detailed statistics and study of the unemployment rate in France please visit: www.insee.fr

Economy:  

Among the European nation, France has emerged as a leader as one of the world’s most modern nation. France is the world’s 6th largest economy and Europe’s second-largest economy after Germany and the UK. In terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), France is the tenth-largest economy account for 3.3% of the total world’s GDP.  However, France economy suffered in 2020 due to Covid-19, but soon started to recover in 2021. 

The Following major industries contributes to the economy of France:

  1. Energy – France is among the world’s biggest net exporters of electricity. In the year 2020, France exported nearly 78 terawatt hours of electricity.
  2. Manufacturing and Technology – The 4th largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Renault and Peugeot are the two famous home production of France. France is the leading aircraft manufacturer country dominated by Airbus manufacture.
  3. Transport – France has a total of 478 Airports across the country. The official and national carrier the “Air France” flies to 150 destinations in all 6 continents of the world. Each year around 60 million passengers commute from the Charges de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
  4. Tourism – Every year France receives 85.7 million tourists making it one of the best destination in the world. The tourism contributes over $70 billion to the country’s GDP.
  5. Agriculture – France is the second largest exported of agricultural products in the world. Around 49% of its produce is exported to the European Union member states.

To get the latest economic figures of France, please visit www.heritage.org

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners:

Dreaming to buy a property in Paris! Yes, this is possible because it is not all that difficult to buy a real estate in France. Any non-EU citizen who has a long-term visa can buy a property in France to stay. You can also rent your property after you finish your job and is planning to return to your own country. But if you plan to stay in the France permanently you need to apply for permanent residency visa.  French citizen is eligible only after 5 years of your continuous stay in France or in case you marry a French partner.  To find a property it would be best to hire an estate agent unless you are familiar with the French property market. Properties are sold in public auction or private sales. Property loans are also provided by some French banks who give 70-80% of the property’s value. Some banks have limit upto 50% only for non-EU citizens. Just one important thing to remember that Banks will not provide for loans if your other expenses and credits are more than 33% of your income.

A 12 step buying property in France guide is given in the website: www.beauchamp.com

Renting:

Many expats prefer to live in rental houses especially during the initial period of their visit.  There are plenty of rental options available in France as 36% of the French population rent their home. Rental houses can be found easily through websites, agencies and brokers. You can find a house depending on your preferences, where you choose to live, for e.g. employment opportunities, lifestyle preferences, cost of living, market area, distance from employment area, nearest transportation facilities, expat community life etc.  The rental cost of the accommodation depends on the city you choose to live in. The various types of property that you can choose from are:

  • Bastide – detached, square stone buildings with flat roofs, typically found in countryside areas;
  • Domaine – an estate property that typically comes with additional land (e.g. vineyards);
  • Ferme/Fermette – country farmhouse, typically with land attached;
  • Mas – traditional farmhouse found in Provence;
  • Longere – long, rectangular one-story property, sometimes a converted barn;
  • Pavillion – French bungalow

Furnished and unfurnished rentals are available in France. A furnished property must have a list of equipment stipulated by the French government. The Standard tenancy period for unfurnished property is 3 years and 1 year for a furnished property.

For more information on guide to rent a property in France, please visit: blog.remitly.com

Climate 

The climate of France differs from one region to another as the country extends over a wide field of latitude. 

The South regions has Mediterranean Climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and the winters will be mild and wet. During Winter it will get strong winds called the “Le Mistral” especially in Cote d`Azur, Provence and Rhone valley.

The North region has a temperate climate, where summers are warm, Winters are cold and rainfall spread throughout the year. Paris the capital city is situated in the north region.

The West region has Oceanic Climate. Winters is generally mild but damp and summers very hot. It rains relatively frequently. The East has Continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. Temperature can drop below 0 degrees Celsius with mountains frequently gets snow.

To find the Temperatures in the popular places in France, please visit: weather-and-climate.com

Languages: 

The official language of France is French, which is a romance language of the Indo-European family. French is derived from the Vulgar Latin language which was used during the Roman Empire.

Other than French other major languages that are spoken in France is English, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish etc.  French is also one of the official languages of NATO, UN and EU.

Traffic:

The Department for Transport in France reported an average of 3,239 road deaths in the year 2019, which equates to 4.8 deaths per 100,000 populations, yet the road traffic is considered relatively safe.

Important points to note if you wish to drive in France:
a.   Minimum driving age is 18 years.
b.   International Driving Permit is required to drive in France or UK driving license is also valid.
c.   If you are driving a vehicle not registered in your name, you need to carry a written permission from the owner.
d.   Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road that means oncoming traffic comes towards you on the left side. To elaborate people, drive in the right-hand land and overtake on the left.
e.   Give way to the right in an intersection.
f.   Speed-limits on auto-routes
      Good weather = 130 kph (80mph)
      Poor weather = 110 kph (68mph)
      Heavy fines are charged for speeding and the vehicle/license could be taken-away.
g.   Use of mobile phones with headsets or ear-piece is forbidden.
h.   A radar detector, speed cameras in your vehicle whether in use or not is illegal.
i.   A warning triangle and reflective jacket must be carried in a vehicle.
j.   To cross on the hard shoulder of a motorway, even partially is illegal

For other important traffic things in France you would like to know, please visit:www.gov.uk

Currency: 

The official currency of France is Euro (€). One Euro is divided into 100 cents.

The currency is available in notes in the following denomination: €5, €10, €20¸€50, €100, €200, €500.

The currency is available in coins in the following cents denomination: 1,2,5,10,20 and 50 cents, €1 & €2 euro. Prior to the Euro, the French Franc (F) was the currency of France. As of today 1 euro = 1.01 US dollar.

Get the current exchange value of Euro, please visit: www.xe.com

Payment Transaction: 

Bank cards are more popular in France like the other European Countries. Around 57% of the French consumers use debit or credit cards for online shopping. Next comes the Bank Transfers especially used while making large payments and paying monthly bills. Kindly check for fees and various transaction charges on these transfers prior to making payments. If a transfer is made from one EU country to another EU country than domestic charge is applicable under the EU’s SEPA zone terms. SEPA stands for Single Euro Payment Area.

Other forms of payments used in France are:

  1. Cash – Around 59% of all transactions are made in Cash
  2. Cheque – Free checkbook are still issued in France and no charge is applicable on cheque payments
  3. Mobile Payment – Rapidly growing payment option. Around 38% of all transactions are made by Mobile payments. The following mobile payment methods are available in France.
    * Monese and Revolut
    * Mobile apps such as BNP Paribas or La Banque Postale
    * International solutions like Amazon Pay or Apple Pay
  4. Digital Wallets or e-wallets like Paylib, LyfPay or Lydia

Cost of living:  

France has comparatively lower cost of living particularly the countryside and the south of France. However, when compared with the neighboring EU nations, France is higher, mainly in Paris due to the high standard of living. It is estimated that 21% of French population is poor in either monetary, material or social deprivation. Forty-two percent are single parent-families who are at a higher risk of poverty. In the year 2018 there were approximately 1.9 million people living in extreme poverty. 

The Mercer’s 2021 report on the cost of living in Paris says, that Paris is cheaper than New York, Los Angeles and London. It also reports that Paris is more expensive than Madrid and Brussels.  The major expense is housing especially in cities like Paris, Lyon. The cheapest cities in France are Metz, Versailles and Montpellier. A single person without rent needs around €850 – €1000/month to live comfortably in a city centre. In Nantes and Marseille it would be approximately €600 – €800/month. Minimum rent in Marseille is roughly €650/month, however rent in Paris would be nearly €1500/month. The detail rental charges of each cities is mentioned on the Numbeo website mentioned below.

 It is advisable to use the public transport rather than owing a car because fuel is costing around €1.60/litre. In Paris the metro will take you anywhere within the city for only €1.90. Travelling in the suburbs will be a little more but they are convenient and easily accessible.  

The website Numbeo is a good place to check the most popular and daily expenses. Just select the name of city that you place to stay in France and it will give you the list of latest prices of commodities and services: www.numbeo.com

Apartment Rent:

The most affordable places to live as an expat in France are:
Montpellier / Grenoble / Nantes / Châteauroux / Dordogne / Tarn / Cantal

The approximate cost of rents in few cities are given below:

City                One-bedroom rent/month
Paris                           €850 – €1150
Montpellier            €600-€650
Nice                             €750
Dordogne                 €525 – €665

To find out the average monthly rent by property size, please see the website: www.statista.com

Taxes: 

One of the most generous social security system in the world is of France, however this is paid by high taxes and social charges. Basically there are three types of personal taxes in France:

  • French Income Tax ((impôt sur le revenu)
  • Social Security Contributions (charges sociales/cotisations sociales)
  • Tax on goods and services (taxe sur la valeur ajoutée TVA, or VAT, in France)

The Income tax charges also depends on the Income if you are self-employed or working for a company and also whether he/she is single, married, number of children (if any). France has tax treaties with a number of countries so that they are not dual taxed. Foreigners from these countries are taxed on Income who are working for French companies in France. France has also signed on the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI). The AEOI is formed to reduce global tax evasion by requiring financial intermediaries to be transparent about their client’s tax residence in signatory countries.

For more information on Tax in France, please log on to www.expat.hsbc.com

Health Insurance:   

France health care system is one of the best in the world. It is made mandate in the French law that its citizens must have health insurance whether public or private scheme.  The PUMA (Protection Maladie Universelle) is a universal public healthcare system under which all residents and workers are eligible for state French health system (l’assurance maladie). All permanent residents living in France for three consecutive months are eligible for PUMA system regardless of age, medical history and record of social security contributions. Residents of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if they are staying temporarily in France, however health insurance is necessary for legal residents. The British and EEA retirees who live on pensions from their home countries can apply for French health insurance with S1 form. Jobless and low-income legal residents are also eligible for French health insurance and also get subsidies.

For the complete guide on the protection maladie universelle (puma) please visit:

Important addresses: 

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport:
95700 Roissy-en-France,
France

Orly Airport
94390 Orly,
France

Gare de l’Est (Mainline railway
VisaHQ.fr – Services de Passeport et de Visa
Globe access, 10 Rue Robert Fleury,
75015 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 85 64 41 16

Embassy of the United Kingdom
35 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré,
75008 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 44 51 31 00

Embassy of the United States,
2 Av. Gabriel, 75008 Paris,
France
Phone: +33 1 43 12 22 22

for List of Emergency numbers in France please visit: https://eco.univ-rennes1.fr/en/emergency-phone-numbers-france

Summary:

France is the most visited country in the world, with around 90 million visitors in the year 2018. Most of visitors are attracted to the country’s rich culture, history, architectural heritage places, picturesque countryside, unforgettable glamorous beaches, art museums etc. are few of many wonderful gems found in this enthralling country.  The capital Paris is the cosmopolitan and chic city of France, which is one of the most romantic cities of Europe. It will never fail to entertain and entice you if you are a foodie, art-lover and settle there for work as well. The beautiful 777 km long Seine river runs through Paris into the English Channel.

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