Thinking of taking the plunge and moving - anyone got a lifebelt?

Hello lovely folk, newbie here.

My husband and I bought a property in France at the start of 2016, just before the UK lost its mind and the turkeys voted for xmas, but let’s not go there. We decided to buy in France as despite over 70 years combined working time between us, we cannot afford to buy a property in the UK and the thought of living in insecure private rental in our dotage was not one we wanted to face. We both love France, the climate, the people, the language and the culture, so why not, we thought.

However, what was destined to be a retirement for my husband and scaling down to part time work for me has changed somewhat. We are now faced with either moving over before the UK quits the EU, or I’m not sure we will be able to do it at all afterwards. I’m looking for employment but if all else fails, we do have enough savings to live off until my husband’s pension kicks in.

I do have a couple of questions though. We are married under UK law but will that be valid in France? It was a civil, not a religious ceremony in the UK. Also, how would we go about getting a carte vitale? I have read so many confusing and different things on French healthcare I think I have an impending migraine. We will not be early retirees for at least two years yet.

Any answers/help/general advice/gin all gladly appreciated.

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I’m a bit confused by this - if you’re going to move to France while you are still working, then everything will depend on what form your work takes.

The way things are going, looks like the best option might be to wait until hubbie is retired and collecting his UK state pension and you can stop work too. Latest news seems to be that the UK will continue to fund healthcare for state pensioners.

A UK marriage is perfectly valid in France, that’s one thing you can cross of the list of things to worry about. Depending on your family circumstances (his kids, your kids, joint kids) your notaire may advise you to adopt a particular marriage régime to ease the inheritance situation but if all your kids are joint, it makes no odds.

How you get your carte vitale depends entirely on your status. As said, if OH is a UK state pensioner then his route to getting his CV is via a form S1 which the UK will (hopefully) issue. If you don’t work then his S1 should also cover you as his dependent. If you find employment in France then you will get your CV via your cotisations (=NI contributions). If neither of you is collecting your pension nor working and you are living off savings then it could be a tad more complicated.

I don’t suppose that’s much of a lifebelt to cling to but I hope it helps a bit. Nearly time to get the gin out.

Hi Anna, thanks for your reply. Just to clarify a bit, we’d like to move over to France before the UK exits the EU in order to secure rights as EU citizens, which the current EU position says will happen (although anything is possible). I’m currently looking for employment just about anywhere in France that I am qualified for (scrum master/PM roles) but if I don’t find anything before November next year, then we will be moving over and living off our savings and at that point, I’ll clean toilets if I have to to make ends meet. Hubby doesn’t hit state pension age until 2025, by which time, the UK will be out of the EU, so gods alone knows how we’d move over after that.

Actually yes, just pass the gin already :slight_smile:

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You do need to be a bit careful though, because in order to secure residence rights as inactif EU citizens, you need to make sure you meet France’s criteria for “regular and stable residence” for the first 5 years. Freedom of movement isn’t entirely unconditional, and living here irregularly will likely not help your case. One of the conditions is that you must have sufficient resources, and https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F12017 gives the resources required for “legal and stable” residence - click on “ressources suffisantes” and then presumably click on “under 65” (around 800€ a month for a couple). At present if you don’t meet the income criterion and so can’t prove legal and stable residence then in practice all that happens is that you won’t be accepted for state healthcare, there is nothing to actually stop you staying here, but if it becomes necessary to have a carte de séjour or some such document in order to stay here then if you don"t qualify for one, you’ll be in a tricky position.

I’m not trying to put you off but I suspect there are more than a few inactif Brits here irregularly, and if it comes to it they risk finding themselves in a tricky situation post Brexit, as “sans papiers”.

Good luck with finding work because being a worker gives you more rights than being inactif when it comes to freedom of movement. Macron is doing his best to help you with his labour law reforms :slight_smile: so with luck, the jobs situation in France might have started to ease by this time next year.

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Cheers for the info Anna. Thankfully our savings will meet the minimum income until the much vaunted pension kicks in, and once I get to France, I’m not going back (I sincerely hope).

Maybe someone in Normandy will start a gin distillery and I can get a job as a taster…I live in hope :smiley:

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Well I live in Normandy but I don’t have a gin distillery!
And wash your mouth out, it’s Calvados we drink here, not gin :yum: far superior! Do you know about the “trou normand”?

But seriously - as long as you meet the income criteria, and don’t pose a threat to public order and all the rest, you shouldn’t have a problem. Under current rules you can apply for your carte vitales as residents, and you’ll simly pay an annual contribution based on your income.

Aha! No gin - I see a gap in the market. I am familiar with the lovely calva and do very much support the calva, cidre and wine making industry in France when I visit. I am probably responsible for keeping the entire sector afloat… :wine_glass:

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Hi Helen,
On a practical note you will need to have private medical insurance to cover the period of time between your arrival in France and you being accepted into the French State Healthcare system.
Best wishes for your move. Robert.

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There are no more life belts left in the world.
It looks like the survival of the fittest.

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While I live and breathe, Barbara, there will always be a lifebelt for anyone who needs it. It takes nothing from me to be kind to others.

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Yes I think that I am kind too.
And I have found others here who are…otherwise I could not be happy here.
When I refer to life belts I talk about institutions,leaders, big business…they are all fighting for
their own lives.
So we have to make our own way…build our own support systems.

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Don’t we just! And that’s the great thing about groups like this and all the lovely people in them :blue_heart:

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One thing you will need is assurance complimentaire, in other words an insurance which pays the percentage the State Health care scheme doesn’t cover, around 35% of the cost. The monthly premiums vary with your age and the level of cover and it is usually cheaper to go with a mutuelle rather than a company like say Axa. If you don’t have this insurance, you will have to pay the 35% or so out of your own pockets. Also if you do not have a basic understanding of the French language, have lessons before you move, invaluable.

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Just re-reading this thread and felt a smidgeon worried that there might be some ambiguity over savings and income. As I have always understood it in this context, capital that sits in a savings account or is invested somewhere isn’t classed as income. Income is the interest or returns generated by savings and investments, ie the regular income stream that can be seen going into your bank each month or year or whatever. That’s how CPAM used to interpret it for CMU, and AFAIK it is the same for PUMA, unless others know different? Hopefully that is what you mean in any case, but thought it worth clarifying.

Absolutely. Groups like this have been invaluable to me, especially in the early days. Barbara is right in saying that leaders and institutions haven’t always been sympathetic in the past, but reading today’s papers I am tentatively starting to feel optimistic that Macron might actually be starting to bring about a sea change and shift the focus from putting “the system” first and individuals second, onto putting ordinary people and their lives first.

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I have said on here and other places that I do not gather info like a historian but
look at people, their faces and some of their key movements…In Macron I see
a brighter future for France.

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Getting a job to tide you over might be more easily said than done. With unemployment running at just below 10%, it’s a difficult situation. You’ll also need to be able to speak French to a good standard.

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I agree with @Steve_Cobham

Finding a job is not easy… so please do not let your possible-future-employment play any sort of role in your financial planning.

If you do find some sort of employment… let that be a bonus rather than a lifebelt. :wink:

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Yes, but do the Unions and the Socialists? I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but with high unemployment and restrictive employment laws, something needs to be done. Macron faces an uphill struggle, and the popularity polls don’t seem to indicate that he’s got all that many voters on his side. Currently, 57% of the electorate aren’t satisfied with his performance.

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A short while after I’d arrived, and was discovering that my plans had been shall we say on the optimistic side, I decided maybe I should get a little local job of some kind while my business built itself up. In those dinosaur days the local paper was the main platform for jobs, online jobs boards were quite a new thing, so I bought Ouest France on the day it claimed to have a jobs section, expecting to find 4 or 5 pages of jobs to go through and put rings round the possible ones, like you used to in the Yorkshire Post. As I recall, there was a butcher advertising for an assistant with all the proper qualifications, and a company looking for a driver with all the proper qualifications, and a company looking for a technical consultant with experience and qualifications, and that was it. I still remember sitting there staring at the paper and wondering what I was missing. On one level I had been well aware that unemployment was high in France, but somehow it hadn’t struck home what this actually meant in practical terms until I saw for myself that very few jobs really does mean just that, very few jobs.

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According to Le Figaro today, the expected opposition to his reforms by the unions has not been forthcoming and it’s looking hopeful that progress will be a lot smoother than anticipated.
The Socialists are spluttering but the party is about as healthy as UKIP and nobody is taking much notice of them.
Le Pen has been conspicuous by her silence on everything to do with Macron’s reforms.
(I can’t link to it because it’s subscription only, but if you go past a newsagent, you’ll see it on page 1)

Of course time will tell.

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