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how do i get a job?


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I have lived in France for 3 months, decided to stay and am now house purchasing. I know about costs involved with self employment so will avoid that! Have visited the ANPE who told me to ring the ASSEDIC ????? then do a language course ?????? too confused so went for a beer as you do with the systems over here! I speak and understand the lingo well enough for basic menial jobs, am not looking for professional well paid career as i left the rat race and am not looking to re-enter it. Can i just simply apply for advertised jobs or go through agencies when i am clearly not in the system as far as social security numbers and carte vitale or must i register with ANPE?
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I have been in your situation, it can be very confusing when you first arrive. What you need to know is that French unemployment service is in two parts, the Assedic deal with the financial side and the anpe with finding you a job. I you have any reason to think that you would be entitled to benefit, then it is worth going through the Assedic to see if you can get some money while you are job hunting. If you left your last job because your contract finished for example, you might be entitled. The other reason to go through the process is that the anpe may pay for you to do a language course, if they deem it necessary.

However, you do not need to be signed up to look for a job or answer ads, and the anpe website anpe.fr is accessible to everybody. When you do find work, you go with your passport and they will do the paperwork which will eventually lead to you being issued with a French social security number.


What line of work are you in?
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A french guy told me 

"In rural France there are very few jobs and if one comes up the first choice is a French person  the second choice is a very fluent foreigner and that leaves whats left for the likes of you"

That is why you have to make your own work in France

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ANPE are pretty good, professional and they do actually respond to queries and emails.

You must register with Assedic BY PHONE 0811 01 01 xx1 (not in person or via their (good) website) and they will send you an Inscription form to fill in. THEN ANPE will help you find work with some conviction.

You could also register with the likes of Manpower, Adecco, Creyf's and Leader Interim. However, despite two of these being UK owned, don't expect them to do anything for you. You can go through the motions with them, register, apply for their offers, go and see them, and so on. But you won't even get offered the most menial of jobs. Ever. They just do not get involved with foreigners. (Might be different in Paris of course).  

What you find out (from an ex-employee) is that the French interim agencies operate a kind of discrimination. But there is jack you can do about it. Applying for jobs directly with Companies will usually result in no reply. Not even a thanks but no thanks.

My wife (who is French "moyen") has been trying to get part-time or short contract work. Not a chance. Even as a qualified chef.

Good luck, and if you find a means to get somewhere, let us know. But do expect brickwalls.

1xx = your dept. number

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THEN ANPE will help you find work with some conviction.

Or they might just tell you you're wasting your time, because in France you need exactly the right qualifications for even the most menial job, etc etc etc    And if you trawl through the ANPE jobs, it's true that even for the minimum wage (waitering, cleaning, basic secretarial work) many are "2 ans d'expérience exigé".  There's the odd one that says they'll take someone inexperienced.

ANPE sent me on a 3-month bilan de compétences in an agency in Montpellier, they were more positive.  At least it gave me some new ideas in my desperate search!  But as Opel Fruit said, for all the lettres de motivations and CVs that I sent off, I don't have one single reply to show for it.

In the end, it was "Who You Know" that got me a job.  A friend dragged me along to the agency she works in on the Monday, two local women had handed their notice in after a week and so I started work on the Wednesday.  I was of course very happy, but it's obvious that I'm doing something that locals just won't touch, even in this region of 13% unemployment!

If you really are prepared to do menial, low-paid work like cleaning, why not go for the cheque d'emploi system with private individuals?   It usually pays a bit better than the SMIC.   Put notices up in your local tabac offering your services.

Stay registered with Assedic, because if you're in a populated area with a limited budget, they'll sometimes only give courses to those registered as chercheurs d'emploi for a certain number of months.

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thanks for the responses, doe'snt sound too promising! My line of work previously was as a Sheriff's Officer for the High Court, the equivalent here is Huisier de Justice and no way will they touch the English. Will try the ANPE route and persevere for the winter, who knows what the summer will bring.
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I'm sorry to be so negative, but clearly you skills are not transferable, even if you did speak good French. What can you do, what do you want to do. Going on a goverment sponsored language course will help but I'm not sure that it will solve the problem.

If you can find a job with a French employer it will almost certainly be at the SMIC rate (8€ or so an hour minus about 12%).

As someone else said, the only way forward here is to make your own work, probably in tourism or building.

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But I live in the Montpellier Agglo, Tourangelle!    But unemployment is high, it hovers around 13%, even higher for the under-25s.

I know people imagine that being bilingual in English and French will open doors everywhere, but either employers don't actually care, or you find that companies like Dell want Spanish speakers!

I've tried really hard, honest guv!!   And out of absolute desperation for work and money, I'm doing a no-brainer for the SMIC.   I've done English teaching, child-minding, and a couple of other things along the way, just so I don't feel that my life is completely over!

My best hope was that Mr SB and colleagues could get me in as an editor there, they know I'm more than capable, and the work is there.  They've tried hard, but with the lay-offs and hiring freezes over the last couple of years, it's just getting less and less likely.

When I read all these words, I find it just as unbelievable as you do.  This pathetic waster living this hopeless, meaningless life just is not ME!!!    Or is it?   Answers on a postcard....

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I absolutely agree that high unemployment is a real problem. But I wouldn't say that British people are affected more than French people.

However I just know that the only opportunities are not building and tourism. In the past I have known British people to work in IT, for call centres (and get more than the smic), in teaching obviously, in design, as consultants, in coaching... How did they get these job? Well, they either started with a really marketable skill, or irritating though it might be, they just got lucky.

Before I got my first CDI working for a franchise of an international language school, I worked for four for a year in different places and dashed all over the Rhône. It was really really hard and I was exhausted all the time. One of the places finally took me on full time and it was an enormous relief. I left after 3 years because I needed a change, and also because I found somewhere else to go. It is a horrible truism that it is easier to find a job when you already have one.

I totally agree that being bilingual doesn't mean you get a job though, it is one of those urban myths. It is as common in the UK, though.
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Some months ago I saw an ad on the ANPE site looking for a 7.5 tonne truck driver. My UK license permits me to drive this size of truck so I got my CV and in vain hope dropped into the depot. As I handed the girl my CV the boss man appeared, asked me into the office for a chat. He said I'd need a FIMO or something, a certificate for carrying stuff. He said he'd see if he could get me on a course for the FIMO thing and ring me later.

He did ring but could not sort out the FIMO thingy so that was that.

Despite my basic language skills the guy tried to get me a job. He did'nt have to interview me for 1/2 an hour or ring back but he did!

I now work for a cleaning agency (nettoyage d'uisine). It's rubbish pay but as my French improves they give me more work. Keep trying. If the French is bad don't phone, go in with a French C.V and letter.

I am 42 with poor French, living in the countryside. It's not impossible ... Bon courage.

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I will do my best to andwer this but as Mr class 1 is away at the mo ,I will give it as I understand it.

FIMO...not sure what the initials stand for but it is an exam which has to be taken. mr O did a 4 day course (paid for himself ...not cheap...in the hundreds of Euros) It mainly seems to cover safety issues, but is taken very seriously. I liken it to Health and Safety in UK.

This bit becomes compex....If one is a HGV driver who has not long since passed their test then one also needs a FCOS...again do not know what this stands for and sorry do not know what the course entails as Mr O has been drivin for donkeys years and did not require that test.

One has to go through a proffessional Driving school(same type of place where one would learn to drive Heavy goods Vehicles/Busses.

If more details are needd then suggest one looks up such establishments in pages jaunes , the companies will happily send you an info pack.

The FCOS and FIMO could possibly be the wrong way round

Mrs o

Sorry not much help

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I think that old saying of "it's not what you know, but who you know" goes a long way when living in any foreign country. 

The longer that you are here, the more contacts you make and the more likely you are to get a reasonable job, that you are interested in.

Good luck to all!

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F.I.M.O. - La Formation Initiale Minimale Obligatoire

gotten by attending a course run by your local heavy goods driving school, lasts five years after which you take the F.C.O.S.

F.C.O.S. - La Formation Continue Obligatoire de Securite

a refresher course which takes 3 days and again lasts for 5 years.

C`est la galère pour trouver un boulot? non?


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slight regional difference perhaps, but we went to ANPE first who then arranged an appointment with ASSEDIC for the OH.

ANPE registered on the OH's file that he needed to learn french, and told us to contact APP. APP 'only' needed proof of a right to social security to offer free french lessons, which the OH is presently doing.

Charges to set up in business are not necessarily as steep as you think - I registered as Travailleur Independente with the URSSAF and have been accepted under regime micro, so have had to pay few taxes so far. I was lucky to have a contract ready and waiting so it wasn't a case of finding a customer though.

It seems that the situation varies from departement to departement - and also depends on who you talk to!

I chatted to the lady at Limoges airport whose job it is to talk to 'immigrants' the other day, and she was horrified that the response we had from the Chambre de Metiers was "well if you can't speak french you won't work here!"

Where there's a will there's a way, as they say

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I guess I am lucky. I dont speak French, and have a decent paying job in IT. I do have skills that are in very short supply around .NET, BI, BizTalk, SoA et al. Also around large project management etc....

And I do know my co-workers dont like me, but some do respect me. So I guess I am very lucky. And do thank my stars every single day.

For those struggling, I wish I could help. If you do need to learn software... ping me I am in Dept 10.. and would gladly teach you to program if you could teach me French or working with tools etc..

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Well it happened again today...

I am in a supermarket carpark loading my van and watching a team from another  espaces verts entreprise cut grass etc when a middle aged British man introduced himself and asked if I had any work available. 

 I explained that although I was busy enough I wouldn't be in the position to take on employees for some time...

So I said to him "Why don't you ask them" pointing at the others working...

He answered "oh.. I don't speak French..." 

This is often the case with the Brits, yet even the most basic of jobs in factories require the minimum level of language skills just for health and safety reasons. What this fellow wanted is for me to hold his hand in this alien world he has found himself in after watching too many 'Place in the sun' type programs on TV. Sink or swim back across the channel...

To be honest here, I want to win more French clients and so when I am able to take on an employee they will be French...


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Well, all of this makes pretty gloomy reading and I can only add to the gloom.

I have just come out of Gîtes de France as cannot pay the subs on the letings I had this summer so I decided to rent the appartment out. It's with an agent and a notaire and I've put it in the cheap local papers and asked everybody I know, stuck notices in supermarkets, whatever and so far no results.

I am regisitered in the professions libérales at URSSAF, but don't make enough to pay the subs, so I went to ASSEDIC (when I phoned, they put the phone down on me - on vous entend très mal - I speak fluent French but have an English accent) where they told me I had de-register my SIRET. However I note you are allowed to be a job seeker and start up in a micro régime.......

I've advertised in the French press and the English French Property press and had no response whatsoever. I've written to the local Chambers offering my services as an English teacher - all the letters go down a black hole so I follow up with phonecalls to be told frostily there are no vacancies or yes, we are crying out for native speakers, but you live too far away.

Am paying a call to the local MacDo today to see if they'll give me a job.

What else can I do?

PS I also don't feel I am liked very much either. My neighbours tell their kids "be good or we'll send you next door for English lessons".

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