We left Sicily to come to John’s wedding. We began our journey to go to France to my aunt and uncle’s who have a Bed&Breakfast in Segonzac, ‘Chez Thomas‘. With their help we joined my brother John at Mons in Belgium for their wedding. Without auntie Theresa and uncle Tommy, we would not have managed, as we had spent everything we had left to get to France. We are fore ever grateful for their help. Then, having spent some time in Belgium with my family and in France with my aunt and uncle, we decided to settle in France.
However, the process of living in France is not easy and hence, we turned to my brother for his expert help. Although, he had a back log on his return home to Cognac after being away for a whole two weeks for his wedding in Mons, he began to help us in our quest.
He began with ensuring that all our paper work was up to date, such as; birth certificates ( as these need to be no more than six months since you last attained the certificates), Identification documents, drivers license and etc. Then the next step was to apply for a French National Insurance number- *La Carte Vital (the hardest one ). So without hesitation, he began the process, and we were provided with a provisional national insurance number. This was obtained through a phone call asking for a provisional number which without it, you can not get employment. Once, we got a job, myself as an industrial worker and Tom as a pot washer gave our provisional number to the employer which in turn allowed us to gain a full time number. This process took us both over two months to do this.
- Phone call for provisional number.
- Provisional number.
- Employment with provisional number.
- Wait for full time number.
- Then, wait for the card ( longest period to wait)
- Now you can work and be insured.
Ensuring that our paper work was in order and obtaining a national insurance number was only one of the processing steps. All our documents, birth certificates, my degree certificates and Tom qualification certificates had to be translated and approved by a court translator which could cost € 0.09 per word, you have to shop around but again, my brother has his own court translator which also does this work.
Here was the snag my portfolio was safely in my daughter’s possession, hence, she kindly and swiftly post it to my new address. She clearly wrote the French address and it clearly stated France. However, my portfolio did not venture straight to us. On the second week, we had all become suspicious of its disappearance and luckily Adele had kept the receipt and when we enquired, we traced it in New Zealand. It took a further fortnight before its arrival into France.
During the portfolio episode, John sorted the most important part, Our national insurance number and opening a bank account. Again, without a bank account you can not get a job. He booked us in at the bank and together we opened a bank account. We were classed as living in France and that entitled myself and Tom to open a new joined bank account. Remember, do not embark on this journey without funds as everything costs and so does opening a bank account. shop around, as we now watch french television we now know that they are accounts that will not charge you for your cards but ensure to read the small prints.
Next, me and Tom needed to find a job in order to apply for our permanent national insurance cards. That was the tricky part and again with John’s help we articulated another CV as the French CV is different to that of an English one. Then we handed them out and with some of John’s contacts, I got a temporary contract as an industrial cleaner and after a few days that Tom had handed out his CV, he was appointed as a pot washer.
However, that was just the beginning. John then set about in gaining us full time contracts (CDI). In order to do that, we awaited for the courts translation’s approval. Then, swiftly John rang Pole Employ and with their suggestions, he rang several apprenticeships around the area of Cognac and Tom had two interviews. Both apprenticeships was of the barrel making trade.
He went to both interviews and he was accepted for the first one and invited for a final round of interview at the second one. After a fortnight, he was then told that he had indeed been successful. This was at Hennessy, Tom was in shock. This is an honour to be accepted by one of the most renowned cognac makers in the world and Tom is now going to be part of such a prestigious company.
Then, there was myself. The only way to move forward in France is to be qualified in a particular field and my biggest achievement is of course my Honours Degree. So again, John set about in registering my degree on the French nurses register. Again, a long process, the certificate translation, filling in forms, and applying to the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) to ensure the French authority and nursing board that I had simply lapsed from nursing and had not been struck off. So, of course it meant more money for each of those processes to which we awaited for the response. The response came in end of September 2017. I am now a registered nurse on the order of nurses for France (ODI).
We are now mid October, 2017 and we are now into our fifth month, hence patience is a virtuous deed when you are starting over. We have now been in our bedsit since the end of August, 2007. We had only a minimal amount of money and finding the deposit for our bedsit scary but not impossible. For that we applied for the one time help of Locapas, we attained their assistance by gaining a 0% interest loan, a one time offer which subsidised us with € 500 towards our bedsit.
Electric/gas, telephone/tv (€ 5 pr month for first year then, € 19.99 for following 2 years), tv licence, insurance policy for tenants (obligatory), water rates and council tax was our next concern for moving in. John, helped us with all those procedures. The hardest part wasn’t finding which was best but filling in the forms was the problem with our limited french. So, John kindly filled those forms in.
This is John’s business which he runs in France. He helps all English speakers to relocate to France. His business PleaseHelp can be found on this please help link. He has different packages for the amount of help one person needs. You could do this yourself but I assure you that to subscribe for a year is worth the money. He has different packages to suit your needs.
He ensured that the bills were allocated to both our names as when you do anything, seeking employment, signing up for a house, you need a bill in your name. The insurance was easy to find but the form was lengthy. The council tax (annual-approximately- € 500 per year) and your earning tax (approximately-10%) from your earning is done once a year, so you need to ensure that you save some money in your bank account to pay for them.
The electric, well according to Eurostat, the average price per KWh in the Euro area in 2016 was €0.219, whilst in France it was €0.169. In the UK the average price was €0.195. Water rates, well they say around € 25 each and also they say around € 2.03 per m³, and our water rates is around € 39 per month so that sound about right because our bedsit is 17 m³.
TV licence; € 138 per year
You must pay the contribution to the public broadcasting if you meet the following two conditions:
- You are liable for the taxe d’habitation
- Your home is equipped with a television set or similar device, regardless of whether you own it or not
Only one contribution is due per household , regardless of the number of appliances held and residences imposed on the residential tax (main residence and possible secondary residences).
This means that you pay only one contribution for your television sets and for your children who are attached to your household and who are personally taxed on the housing tax for the accommodation they occupy.
Having done this, Tom has now done his first month of his apprenticeship and I am now applying for nursing jobs and various other jobs. I have two interviews this week and I am reading on their policies. Bought second hand clothes and shoes. I have prepared my certificates and their translated versions of them. Even though I am awaiting for my ODI card, I have been sent a letter with my ODI number, equivalent to NMC number.
*La Carte Vitale- This Card is the health insurance card of the national health care system in France. It was introduced in 1998 to allow a direct settlement with the medical arm of the social insurance system. The declaration of a primary health insurance company.