Thursday, October 16, 2014

French expatriates in the UK

The French government have recently published a long (600+ pages) report about the number of French people living abroad, each side of the political Spectrum attempting to blame the other for this flight of capital and brainpower.

To put the raw figures into perspective, the report estimates that 2.5% of French live abroad, of which 4.5% are in Germany and 6% (the highest number) are in the UK.

The overall percentage (2.5%) - or 1.6 million people - reflects a 35% increase in emigration in 10 years.

Right wing politicians have emphasised the increase in emigration by 20% in 2012 compared with 2011 and blame the socialist government of M Hollande.

Analysts argue that the majority of younger emigrants leave the country principally to find work or self-employment, while older, wealthier people are escaping high French taxes. Corporations which leave France do it largely because of high French social charges and corporation tax.

Principal source: LeFigaro online 16 October 2014


Friday, October 3, 2014

Practical tipes for moving house in France

Moving from one home to another within France can be a traumatic experience but having recently moved from one apartment to another, I offer some practical tips based on my experience.

1. Selling and buying at the same time
I was in fact selling one apartment and planning to buy another with the proceeds. Originally I imagined I would complete the sale, move into temporary accommodation and look around for my new home. As it turned out I found the apartment of my dreams while in the middle of selling my existing home and as a result had to carefully co-ordinate the sale/purchase process so that final contracts would be completed on the same day. This was not easy as it included having to move out of my existing apartment (before it cas actually 'sold') and put my furniture into storage for a few days, and was not allowed to move into my new apartment before I had actually bought it!

2. Temporary storage
Fortunately I had kind friends prepared to help me with the move and they ended up storing my belongings in their garage and at another apartment, where I was allowed to stay. Not ideal as it involved several moves. If you are using Professional removers, they will normally offer temporary storage as part of their service. Otherwise you can rent temporary storage space, from a few cubic metres upwards. Look in Pages Jaunes (French Yellow Pages) Under the rubric 'garde meuble'.

3. Reading the meters - electricity, gas, water
Normally the agent handling the sale will take care of this and notify the utility companies so that your buyer can take these over and any outstanding bills can be sent to you. Advisable to keep a recent bill with your account détails for reference. Same process for the property you are about to buy.

4. Telephone and Internet
These are normally your responsibility but there is not a lot you can do until you have received from your Notaire (on the days of completion) copies of an attestation (sworn statement) that you have sold your  property and are the owner of the new one. Armed with these documents and your current phone and internet contracts the simplest way is to visit your nearest phone shop (depending on your suppler) and arrange for transfer of your contracts. I am with FT/Orange the service was restored - with a new phone number - within a week.

5. Mail redirection
La Poste offer this service, for a minimum of one month (€23) and you need to arrange this five days in advance. You must have a letterbox clearly marked with your name at your new address before the facteur will deliver mail to you. They will not put mail into an unmarked letter box. It is also advisable to send 'change of address' notices to your (UK) bank, credit card companies, your French healthcare provider, the UK pensions service etc so that they know you have moved.

6. Insurances
You are responsible for insuring your new home from the moment it becomes yours, so speak to your insurers in advance. To cancel the insurance on your previous home, your insurers will need a copy of the attestation noted above (3).

7. Doctor, dentists etc
If you have moved too far from your existing doctor you will need to find a new médecin traitant (your registered doctor) as soon as possible. The local Mairie may have lists of local doctors, otherwise it is a question of asking around or using Yellos Pages.

8. Rubbish removal
Essential to check arrangements for providing dustbins and rubbish collection, and as I found while moving in, how you can get rid of 'encombrants' - items that are too large to go into the bin such as packaging etc. In some communes there is a service available by telephone for their removal by arrangement, all you have to do is notify them and leave them out the night before.

Hope these few tips help make your removal go a little more smoothly!