You’ve decided you’ll be moving to France soon, how exciting! However, you’re probably also starting to feel stress and anxiety creeping up. Moving abroad creates a lot of uncertainty. We spend countless hours online looking for information we’re not sure is correct… It’s even worst when the most important information about paperwork, administration, housing is all in French and you’re not yet proficient in the language. It can be draining and overwhelming. So what can you do to keep your stress level low and make sure everything gets done properly and efficiently, saving your precious time and energy?
Have you ever heard about relocation or used relocation services before?
How can a relocation agent help organize your moving to France
If you’ve moved from a country to another you’ve probably heard the term “relocation”. Relocation services involve employee relocation and workforce mobility. That is to say people who are transferred within the same company or were offered a great opportunity abroad.
The services include home search and settling-in paperwork and can include schooling/daycare, partner/spouse support and helping with integration.
Relocation involves a LOT of steps and energy before you feel fully settled! This is why hiring a relocation agent can really help you through the process of moving to a new home.
Fanny Dufour from Breeze Relocation based in Grenoble, France gives you a great overview of the reasons you should hire a relocation agent:
1/ Moving to France: Home Search
It will take some research to find your new home. And how can you visit when you’re not yet in France?
House searching is one of the biggest steps of your move. You are leaving a home you have probably had for many years and – are very attached to – in order to move to a new country, city, work place and culture. So needless to say that finding a home that suits you, where you feel at home and where new memories can be made is crucial to the success of your move.
Relocation agents can help you find your new home away from home fitting your desired criteria. All you’ll have to do upon arriving is unpack your suitcases!
After asking you to fill out a questionnaire, they compile a list of available apartments, schedule the visits, assist you with the lease agreement contract and help you with settling-in, in general.
A relocation agent has a strong experience in home searching. It includes being up-to-date with housing market trends, knowledge of the pros and cons of each city district. They also have a great network with agencies and a real sense of catering to your needs.
2/ Settling in paperwork
The process of going through all the paperwork in order to settle in France can be rather intense!
If you are getting transferred by your company you will most likely get some help dealing with all the paperwork required to live in France. If you are moving on your own there is a lot of information online that can guide you through the process.
However, a relocation agent can do a lot for you by mastering the language of French bureaucracy. They’re experts in working hand-in-hand with all the different public organizations. Below is a list of the different services and administration you will need to go through in terms of paperwork to settle in France.
- Medical / Health Insurance
- Buying a car
- Getting your driver’s license
- Public transport
- Phone plan
- Childcare if eligible
- Home/car insurance
3/ Schooling & Daycare
Finding the best school for you children is key to the success of your move.
Let’s be honest, moving to France with your family will require many tedious tasks. Not only will you need to look after your own wellbeing but also that of your own children.
Finding the right university, school or daycare for them will be key to their integration in a new country and culture.
A relocation agency is definitely an asset in assisting with schooling and daycare. They know what system is available, when and how to apply and can even be present at the visits or interviews. They can also go beyond and look for after-school activities for your children based on their interests.
Schooling / Daycare services usually include:
- Overview of schools/activities in the area
- Visit of the shortlisted schools
- Assistance with the application process
4/ Spouse & Partner Support
It is essential for your partner to make new friends, find fun activities and a job if they want to work.
Once your children are taken care of, it is important to start thinking about how your spouse or partner will feel in your new location. Especially if he/she followed you to the new destination, leaving behind a cozy home, friends/family and probably a good occupation.
A relocation agent can provide support to your partner either with finding work, education and even social opportunities.
They can also assist with finding activities that suits them the best. Giving this kind of support increases your chances of a successful assignment.
5 / Moving to France: culture shock & integration
Even a slight culture shock can be hard for any newcomer.
Depending on where you relocate, the level of culture shock varies but can still disorient you and slow down your integration process. New language, new traditions, and different driving laws are the major differences you will face in a new country.
However, keep in mind that even a slight cultural change can be difficult to navigate and shouldn’t be undermined. For example, your first grocery shopping trip can be a challenge and could bring you back home with products that you are very unfamiliar with or with a high level of frustration.
Your relocation agent is either a local or an expatriate who has lived many years in your new location. He/she will be able to introduce you to the local culture and help you better understand the new ways and traditions of your new home/country.
6 / How to finance your relocation?
You are about to move abroad and wonder how to finance your relocation?
You don’t necessarily need to use your own savings to cover these fees. There are some other ways to pay for this service:
- Your company: Some companies can offer a relocation package when hiring a new employee collaborator. That package usually covers the costs of moving and storing furniture, travel costs and home search. Make sure you ask ahead of time or while negotiating your new work contract to see if such a package is offered or possible. Your company will then connect you with relocation agencies they work with, or you are also free to look for your own relocation agent!
- THE MOBILI-PASS® (in France only): However if your new company in France is in the private sector, with more than 10 employees and if you move further than 70 kms away from your home (even from abroad), you can probably qualify for the mobility assistance called MOBILI-PASS®. MOBILI-PASS ® is a housing support program funded by companies who pay into the 1% housing contribution scheme.
- Even if you do have to invest some of your savings into the services of a relocation agent, make sure to consider how much time and energy this would save you. Time and energy you could put into socializing, learning the language, enjoying “la belle vie” in France!