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Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Old Jul 19th 2022, 8:53 pm
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Default Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Hi there, totally new to forums but thought I’d give this a try! My husband and I are seriously considering moving to France. Specifically the Charente region. We have friends with property in France, have traveled to various regions and just love the country. We have two boys (5 year old and a 3 month old) so trying hard to find out about schooling. Also, I’m hoping to carry on my work as an accountant (clients all in the UK though) and my husband is undecided (he’s a quantity surveyor at present). If anyone has any advice about schools and work that would be very helpful. Thank you in advance.
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Old Jul 20th 2022, 2:06 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Welcome to the forum you have come to the right place but do not necessarily expect to get the answer you want though The first thing that you need to consider is whether or not you can get a Visa assuming that you do not hold a passport from an EU country.You will obviously have to work and that frankly is a stumbling block as you are either going to have to have a job to go to which as a non EU citizen is hard to get as EU laws state that the employer has to show that they cannot find a suitably qualified person or you are going to have to start a business Now whether in a regulated profession like accountancy can you live in the EU and operate in the UK I do not know-perhaps check with your regulatory body? and your professional indemnity company to see if you would be covered? A niche market might be Anglo/French taxation but you will obviously need to speak French to a high level and gain the appropriate French qualification.
In respect of your husband I do not know if the French have quantity surveyors (What are they anyway?) and whether his qualification would be recognised in France but the same problem will apply to to him re the job market.
If he is involved in the building industry perhaps he could change tack and look at becoming in France a "Courtier de Travaux" which is a bit like a Master of Works perhaps aiming at non french speakers but again he will need a good level of French and probably a French qualification
Do not underestimate the cost of living in France and the amount of "deductions" you will have to pay
So you will need to 1.Research the Visa aspect 2.Research your qualifications and professional standing in France 3.Check to see if any grandparents have an EU heritage to circumvent the Visa as one of you may be able to get an EU passport 4..If you are still serious and a move is feasible then really learn French and if you want a professional life it has to be more than CDs in the car on the school run I am afraid.
I hope this has given you a heads up as to where to start but post Brexit Brits are facing many hurdles now
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Old Jul 20th 2022, 6:13 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

The good news is that your 5 year old is young enough to adapt to life in France easily, and obviously there shouldn't be a problem for the 3 year old.
But as LVC has said, it's hard to see a route for either of you to obtain a professional visa to allow you to emigrate to France. You have some hard research and digging to do. Good luck with it..
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Old Jul 20th 2022, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
The good news is that your 5 year old is young enough to adapt to life in France easily, and obviously there shouldn't be a problem for the 3 year old.
But as LVC has said, it's hard to see a route for either of you to obtain a professional visa to allow you to emigrate to France. You have some hard research and digging to do. Good luck with it..
Have to agree, except to say that the OP should research babycare for her 3-month old. From experience, it won't be possible to work from home AND be present for a baby, not to mention the school run for the elder child and coping with Wednesdays (no school). She would need a crêche or a nounou (I managed to work with a morning nounou who organized my twos' lunches, and I also worked when DD2 was having her afternoon siesta and in the evenings when Papa was there). For the 5 year-old, by then he would go to the local Primaire (State school) and would soon pick up French, learning to read and write at the same time as his new-found friends.... For info, he would be enrolled at the Mairie of the town where they settle, with proof of domicile.
But the OP must first have a Visa to be able to work from home.
Before Brexit, her husband would have had to retrain as a "métreur vérificateur" (I had to Google....) with an adequate knowledge of professional French. But, as said, since Brexit, companies can only take on non-EU employees if they can justify that they can't find EU ones. Without a job lined up and/or a business plan, it will be "complicated" (French euphemism for impossible) to obtain a Visa...
Research, research, research, are the key words here! Good luck from me, too....
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Old Jul 21st 2022, 7:59 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by dmu
..... since Brexit, companies can only take on non-EU employees if they can justify that they can't find EU ones. Without a job lined up and/or a business plan, it will be "complicated" (French euphemism for impossible) to obtain a Visa. ...
I have no doubt it would be "complicated", but it appears that France is experienceing the same skilled worker shortage as the rest of the western world, so there may be a glimmer of hope for a British citizen trying to get a working visa in France/ the EU.
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Old Jul 21st 2022, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by Pulaski
I have no doubt it would be "complicated", but it appears that France is experienceing the same skilled worker shortage as the rest of the western world, so there may be a glimmer of hope for a British citizen trying to get a working visa in France/ the EU.
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but a search on the Pôle-Emploi (employment centre) site didn't show any job offers in the Charente for the French equivalent of a quantity surveyor. Which means that, either there aren't any offers, or that any jobs going will have been filled by French or EU candidates.... There are "professional" head-hunter sites, e.g. "Indeed", but the OP's husband would need to register with each, and more than adequate French would be advisable for vocal communication.
It appears from a search on independent accountants that the OP would have to set up an EURL, not a Micro-Entreprise which concerns commercial or artisanal enterprises. This, too, would involve adequate French to cope with the French Administration....
Hope all this is of some help - fore-warned is fore-armed!
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Old Jul 21st 2022, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

The problem with wanting to work as an accountant in France but only for UK clients, is that there is no special category. Hence you would still need to meet all the normal requirements for pratising accountancy in France because once you have been authorised to set up as an expert comptable, there is nothing to stop you taking on French clients.(Leaving aside the issue of whether, post Brexit, EU accountancy practices can operate in the UK, which I don't know but no doubt you do.)

I am not too sure what a quantity surveyor does but am I right in thinking it is a bit like a construction project manager role? If so, there would be a steep learning curve to get up to speed with how things are done in France.

So I wonder if a bit of lateral thinking might be required. Clearly both of you do have valuable skills and experience to offer but your current roles don't seem to be very transferable, so you may need to think sideways. For instance, with your accountancy skills and his professional knowledge and contacts, could you purchase an existing business where he could be in charge of the operational side and you could take care of the accounts? Although finding such a business for sale in the specific area you fancy, would require a big dollop of luck.

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Old Jul 21st 2022, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Thank you for all the advice so far. It is very much appreciated. Although my husband and I speak some French, we are no where near the standard I think we need but we are learning. My sister in law is French so is able to assist with paperwork which is lucky!! It looks as though our first port of call though is a more thorough review of the work situation. I will speak to my accountancy body to see their view on matters. What are the rules on setting up a new business in terms of gites etc? Good old Brexit making it harder!!
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Old Jul 21st 2022, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by KatyAP
What are the rules on setting up a new business in terms of gites etc? Good old Brexit making it harder!!
I believe the first step is to submit your business plan for consideration to the labour department in the département you will be moving to. They will look at it and use their local knowledge of business conditions in that location to assess whether your project is feasible and whether it would fit into the local economy. If they approve it, they send you an official attestation confirming their approval, and this is one of the pieces of paper you will need to submit as part of your visa application.
Then you get all the other bits of paper together and apply for your visa.
Then once you're in France with all your papers, you should be good to set up the business. By that time you will already have researched the various types of business entity that you can choose from and decided which your best option is, because you will need to have covered that in your business plan that you submitted. So you could say that,researching French business structures is the first step, before you actually start the process.


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Old Jul 21st 2022, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
I believe the first step is to submit your business plan for consideration to the labour department in the département you will be moving to. They will look at it and use their local knowledge of business conditions in that location to assess whether your project is feasible and whether it would fit into the local economy. If they approve it, they send you an official attestation confirming their approval, and this is one of the pieces of paper you will need to submit as part of your visa application.
Then you get all the other bits of paper together and apply for your visa.
Then once you're in France with all your papers, you should be good to set up the business. By that time you will already have researched the various types of business entity that you can choose from and decided which your best option is, because you will need to have covered that in your business plan that you submitted. So you could say that,researching French business structures is the first step, before you actually start the process.
Good points and that probably still doesn't guarantee a successful business. In Spain the business idea is the bar and in France it's the gîte, but how many have tried it before and failed?.
I suppose other alternative would be to have a small bolt hole in France without having to worry about a business and everything else. That's one advantage when you are in England and France is basically just around the corner. You take the ferry on Friday and back late Sunday and will experience the same weekend as a permanent resident, only without the bureaucracy.
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Old Jul 22nd 2022, 1:57 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Well if you wanted to put a positive spin on it, you could say that Brexit is going to save many wannabe bar owner and gîte owners from themselves. If theiir business idea is basically a fantasy and doesn't stand a chance, they won't get the visa so they won't go ahead and ruin themselves.
And if you have a robust well thought out business plan and the skills to carry it through, there's no reason why you shouldn't get the visa.
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Old Jul 22nd 2022, 5:52 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Although, when I read about the delays Dover is experiencing at the moment, my statement that it's easy to drive to France could be wrong right now. The 15 hour ferry journey we have might not be much longer, but at least there are still other routes from England that aren't that bad.
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Old Jul 22nd 2022, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Reading some of the above gave me a thought, especially considering the valuable skills and experience you have, and Eurotrash's comment, "Your current roles don't seem to be very transferable, so you may need to think sideways."
TF1 French tv have a regular spot where they call out to the public to help save a village from dying due to the local store having to close as they cannot find a buyer. Or even in some other busier locations there are baker, butcher, hardware shops and well established bars where their owners wish to retire but unable to find buyers. The program on occasions show where new owners have been found, taken over the establishment and have immediately become integrated with the very thankful community. It may be food for some serious thought......!
Normally in such cases a French national would have priority over non EU persons, but the fact remains that in many cases French nationals cannot be found with ease, which must leave the door open for Brits etc, especially those who have certain funds at their disposal, plus the desire for a fascinating challenge.
Here are a few related links and video clips:
The first here relates to your first region of choice, Nouvelle Aquitaine - Charente

https://sosvillages.tf1info.fr/annon...ente&postcode=

https://sosvillages.tf1info.fr/annonces

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6vhdxa
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Old Jul 23rd 2022, 7:03 am
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
Reading some of the above gave me a thought, especially considering the valuable skills and experience you have, and Eurotrash's comment, "Your current roles don't seem to be very transferable, so you may need to think sideways."
TF1 French tv have a regular spot where they call out to the public to help save a village from dying due to the local store having to close as they cannot find a buyer. Or even in some other busier locations there are baker, butcher, hardware shops and well established bars where their owners wish to retire but unable to find buyers. The program on occasions show where new owners have been found, taken over the establishment and have immediately become integrated with the very thankful community. It may be food for some serious thought....
This is an interesting idea, and not necessarily a bad one, but based on the US having long been as accessible to immigrants from the UK as France, and the rest of the EU is now, i.e. not very! I would caution would-be business buyers, that they need to be careful and make sure they are buying a viable business, and for a fair price, as in the US desperate Brits sometimes either over-pay for a business or buy a business that simply cannot generate enough revenue to support the owner's lifestyle.

I'm not saying Tweedpipe's idea is bad, just that caution and careful due diligence is required before buying a business, as sometimes there is going to be a very good reason why nobody already living in the country didn't want to buy it.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 23rd 2022 at 7:47 am.
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Old Jul 23rd 2022, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: Advice needed on moving to France with young children

I did once chat to somebody who had been involved in a scheme of this nature, setting up a shop in a village where everything had closed.
I don't know if these things always work the same but in this case the commune was investing a lot in the initiative. It wasn't a case of a person buying a viable business - the business hadn't been viable in the past, that's why it had closed down and that's why nobody wanted to buy it. But the commune wanted a facility so it was prepared to subsidise it by providing premises and assisting in other ways. It wasn't just a case of the first person to make an offer gets the gig, they had a long vetting process with interested applicants because initially it was essentially going to be a partership, when they found somebody the idea was to finalise the plan together and work together closely to get the concern up and running, with a view to making it profitable within a certain timeframe.
So I have no idea how this would fit with a obtaining a visa. If the commune did decide to support a TCN I imagine their support would carry a lot of weight and ensure the visa, but obviously they are very selective because they're investing a lot in the venture themselves.
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