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Please can anyone enlighten me.  I am trying to find out whther there is any social assistance for the self employed.  I can find all the information regarding RMI and unemployment.  My partner and I opened our b&b last July but due to unforeseen circumstances we have not received the income we needed to survive until business starts to really flow this summer.  My partner visited the local ANPE to subscribe as a job seeker but was met by a very unhelpful person who would not even register him on the system.  As the business is in my name and my partner is not a registered french resident, our only option now is for my partner to return to the UK to search for work or to find out whether there are any benefits I may be entitled to as as a self employed person. 


If anyone has any information regarding self employment rights in france I would be extremely grateful.

thanks, maggie

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Was the person at the ANPE really being unhelpful. If he wasn't registered as anything or even as living in France, then what were they supposed to do.

If he isn't registered in France or as anything at all I just cannot see them giving him any benefits, it is rather hard to get benefits in France even when one is 'in' the system.

As for yourself, if your business is registered in some way then maybe because you have been paying into the system you may be able to get something?

Hasn't he even sorted out health care if he was living in France? Have you?

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As the business is registered in my name I am fully paid up in all respects, for my partner to be named in the business it would double up out cotisations which at around 3,500€ are very steep already.  My partner does want a job and as part of the role of the ANPE is the same as any job centre in the UK, it is the first port of call to get registered in france if you cannot prove your income.  Besides the point, he is living in France and searching for work and we know various other people in the same situation who have been helped enormously by the ANPE, maybe not found jobs yet but they are definitely in the system.  My partner is not looking for handouts from the ANPE he is looking to be registered on the national database for job seekers.  So in that respect they were being very unhelpful, you can't get registered in france unless you have a job, are looking for a job or can prove you have X amount of money in the bank - so what else was he meant to do.  We're not trying to abuse the system, we have never claimed benefits in our lives, it has come to the point when we genuinely need a little assistance, we have a business ready for income and it is a short term measure until the summer months arrive.
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Hi maggie, can't help much with anpe but for what it's worth, we weren't married when we set up our micro and my partner became my conjoint collaborateur (sp?). The cotisations are a few hundred more but certainly not double and it got him into the system with health cover, pension rights etc. Also, we have also filled in the tax form as a couple with all his details as well as mine so were both well and truely in the system. Didn't your partner do this?

It might be a good idea to pop along to the Chambre de Commerce and add him to your business.
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If your partner is British he can certainly register as a French resident.  And that's what he should do before going to the ANPE.   All he has to do is to go along to the Mairie - it takes five minutes.   There is no longer any requirement to have a job or a certain amount of money in the bank before you can do this.

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When you say your business has been running since July, but your partner is not a 'registered French resident' that begins to sound rather irregular. OK, when the titre de sejour was required for EU citizens as well as 'real foreigners' it made things a bit more clear cut about what one's obligations are, but has he really been here for more than six months without entering into the health insurance or taxation systems? If so, then it sounds as if TU is quite right, if he does not exist then he cannot be helped. So he needs to get into the system as soon as possible. I take it you are unmarried - that makes things far more difficult for you in situations like this. Even a PACS agreement is not always a lot of help.

Unhelpful officials are a fact of French life, the bureaucratic system here encourages them. Fortunately there are helpful ones too, and some offices have a more liberal policy than others, so do try again, perhaps in a different town. ANPE is not your only option, the commercial agencies like Manpower can often be more effective in finding you work, particularly if you are prepared to take on unpleasant or menial tasks. So don't be too discouraged - equally, don't have great expectations of the French system. It does not seem uncommon for people to get caught in this 'chicken and egg' situation, being shuffled between ANPE and ASSEDIC as neither is prepared to take any responsibility or offer advice. As TU says, even with a comparatively long record of work and contributions it can be difficult (even for French nationals) to get help should you need it.

As far as help for the self employed is concerned, then as you have a business you presumably have an accountant (essential for self-employed in France unless you have very simple accounts and can be taxed under one of the 'micro' options). He should know what you may be entitled to as a result of what you have paid in so far.

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Thanks for all your replies.

Yes my partner really has been here since July without being in the system.  It is not the situation we wanted to be in but we are really struggling to get up to date information, the CCI actually informed us that having my partners name on the business would increase our cotisations to near on double - you are expected to believe the CCI from the horses mouth in person as gospel - this frightened us.  We do not have an accountant as we really are a basic business.  When you do not have 2 pence to rub together it is very hard to finance an accountant despite the benefits would far exceed the cost, we simply cannot afford one.  Before we started opened our business we had meetings with social services, assedic, ANPE, CCI and the prefacture.  My partners CV was forwarded to Manpower but nothing in return.  The collective advice was get the business open and register asap and get my partner into the job seekers market.  I know everybody does it by the book and are all running perfect businesses and everybody loves to have a go at somebody who is ignorant to the french system and obviously doing things the wrong way - but it is really difficult when the information you are receiving is so conflicting.  For the time being it will probably help us if my partner moves back to UK temporarily to search for work.  Here in rural cantal the official bodies do not seem to want anything to do with us.  Without paying for an accountant I was hoping to get advice on being self employed in France.  I will certainly look into registering as a couple and how much it really costs.  If he can register as a french resident through the mairie what happens about his health care etc?   Again, we really do not want to be in this situation but we are and now would like to change it.

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I don't know how long one has to be resident for the ANPE to allow them to register. However there is absolutely no reason what so ever why your boyfriend doesn't look at their boards and computers and on their web site to look for a job anyway. The ASSEDIC won't give him any money, but that doesn't stop him looking for a job anyway.

As was said there are the interim places too, and these places need chasing up all the time, just sending in a CV won't mean that they will give priority to his needing work.

I don't know who these folks are who just get money. It is hard to get money from the state in France and even unemployment benefit actually runs out after a certain period even when one is entitled to it. This is french people I am on about.

Are you fully booked for this summer?

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Hi Maggie,

We are self-employed and had some financial difficulties recently and

we found the best place to ask advice was a special section of the

Mairie of our village that deals with people with such problems (I mean

for everybody, self-employed or not)  The woman was very helpful

and we had to provide a lot of information about ourselves (money in

and out during the previous 3 months etc) and she helped us fill in

lots of forms.  When you are self-employed you are in a difficult

position and there was a temptation to close the company in order to

have access to ASSEDIC etc.  However this wasn't the best

solution, and in the end we received R.M.I. for  a short time

and  also some help with  the rent. We have been in business

in France for 13 years, which I think helped the situation, but

anyway  the Mairie is a good place to start.

Good luck.


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That is the only way I have ever heard of any self employed worker (or

anyone arriving here and ending up destitute) in need being given

assistance but as Elaine will tell you, you will have to jump through

the proverbial hoops and prove and prove again that you are in dire


You can forget getting anything from ASSEDIC, that's for sure. As for having what you have said is a going concern

when the season returns, well they may or may not assist but you will

have to start at the Soc Sec or more normally the Mairie and get a

dossier opened. Don't be too surprised  if they find you work to

do around the commune though, whilst claiming R.M.I.

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Thanks again, we will simply try and try again regarding information.

TU, just to say, I did not say people we knew got money, all I stated that they were registered with the ANPE, and again let me say again my partner is looking for a job with the ANPE - not money.  But thank you about the other points you raised.

First on our list is to visit the ANPE again and then to chase up with Manpower.

Thanks Elaine- I think we just need to keep asking the questions in the right places.

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hello there...

 When I started up my entreprise last year I was informed by the C.C.I that I was entitled to claim for the R.M.I  if I had a low income during my startup period. Now I have never claimed any benefits before in my former life so I was not keen on doing so until my French family pushed me to claim. It is yours by right they said, it is offered and so you must take it. So I did.

Strange that they don't ask you about assets only income when you apply.

 I looked upon it as a kind of grant to help me on my way and my family tell me this so.

 Now there are conditions attached to claiming this such as you must have actually worked 6 months during the last 2 years either in the U.K or here as it is not ment for long term hardship. I qualified for this as I had previously returned to the U.K to work every winter. This winter I have stayed here and found work via an agency which I visited personally and made it quite plain that I would consider anything offered.

I also obtained a partial exemption from social charges for the first year by signing on as unemployed first for 6 months. When I tell other Brits this they say that their accountant doesn't believe it to be possible! or they go green round the gills. Again I have my French familly again to thank for sorting that one out.

Best of luck though


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