Guide To Getting a Job in France Without Speaking French

France is one of the world’s most sought-after places to work. Its minimum wage is one of the highest in Europe, and the culture supports a work-life balance characterized by flexible hours. Ambitious, growth-minded businesses look to France to increase their teams’ diversity and strengthen their diversity.

The best way to get a job in France without speaking French is to look for international companies. Alternatively, look for customer-facing positions as many companies will be looking for English-speaking employees. Finally, look for jobs in the tourism or hospitality industry.

You’re applying for jobs in France and looking to relocate for work. However, you don’t know if your French literacy may be null or too incompetent for a corporate setting. This guide gives you an insight into everything you need to know about getting a job in France as a non-French speaker.

Are you considering moving to France but don’t have a job yet? Read our guide on how to move to this beautiful country without a job offer!

How to find a job in France without speaking French?

With the creation of many job opportunities in France, your chances of finding a job without speaking French are high. In addition, the country has a low unemployment rate, which experts predict will decrease even more in the coming years.

Work and residence permits for France

Before working in France, you should first apply for a visa and work permit. If you are an EU citizen, you don’t need a work permit nor visa to work in France.

However, if you’re a non-EU citizen planning to move to France for work, you should apply for a short-stay or long-stay visa. To qualify for either long or short-stay visas, you must first find a job in France.

During the application, you’ll submit your visa application form, passport, national identification document, work permit application, and a letter detailing your recruitment.

With a short-stay visa, you can work in France for not more than three months. To be eligible for a long-stay visa, ensure that:

  • You are going to work in France for 3 to 12 months.
  • You will work for a company in France for one or more years.
  • You are going to do research or teach at universities.
  • You are an intra-company transferee.

What salary can you expect while working in France? Read in this guide.

Best areas to work without French

France has various multinational companies and digital agencies that don’t base their job requirements on French skills. Some industries don’t operate in French, and these are the places you can apply. These industries include:

  • Tourism
  • Bartending
  • Writing and journalism
  • Housekeeping
  • Childcare
  • Technology and Gaming
  • Agriculture: grape harvesting

Other options are available to get into the French corporate world without speaking French. They are:

1. Job transfer

Consider finding a job in a company within your country with branches in France. This transfer can be a long-term plan to work in the company long before relocating.

2. Self-employment

You can move to France and set up a business, but you must first demonstrate how economically viable the company is. Suppose you are a non-EU citizen, you must apply for a visa if you meet the necessary conditions for running a business in France.

3. Skills

The French labor market is currently experiencing a shortage in qualified personnel, and as a skilled foreigner, you can take advantage of the gap. Some of these occupations that lack skills include:

  • Plant operator
  • Engineer
  • Builders
  • Butchers
  • Carpenters
  • Programmers
  • Social workers
  • Agricultural workers

Getting a permanent job contract in France is rare when starting a new job. You will begin with a temporary contract for the initial few months, then upgrade later. 

How to get a job in Paris without speaking French?

Not being fluent in French shouldn’t be a barrier to finding a job in Paris. The city offers various job options that don’t require French-speaking.

It also boasts companies that actively search for English speakers only to fill their specific jobs. These jobs and companies are suitable for people new to the language.

Consequently, you will meet plenty of Americans and other English speakers successfully employed in Paris. Apart from Paris, there are a few other great places to live and work as an English speaker. We have combined them all in this article.

When drafting your application, translate your resume to French or use French equivalents of job titles to enable recruiters to understand how your experience matches with France’s.

It’s essential to be clear about your French fluency in the application to avoid embarrassing yourself during interviews. If you’re a regulated professional, you will need to acquire a French equivalency certificate via the CIEP.

What is considered a good salary in Paris?

You may need to take additional courses to upgrade your qualification in some instances. Sometimes your academic qualifications may not meet the French equivalency, making you ineligible for some jobs.

Although job prospects for non-French speakers may be limited, below are places you can use to land one:

1. Building or increasing your network is key to landing a job in France as a foreigner.

You can connect with professionals on networking sites like Viadeo and LinkedIn or join Facebook and meetup groups that may connect you with your next job.

There are expat Facebook groups for different cities’ professionals. Through these groups, you can find job postings and expand your network. They include Americans in France and Expat Life in France.

2. Consider looking for opportunities in French global companies. These include:

  • Multinational companies in the major cities of France have more English-speaking positions. The major industrial sectors are transport, tourism, agriculture, energy, and technology. With the right skills, you can find a job in these industries.
  • The 40 significant companies in French (CAC 40). Among their job postings are those that don’t require mastery of the French language. You don’t need to prove your English proficiency to these companies if you are a native speaker or live in an English-speaking country.
  • Other French companies that are not internationally famous. You can get information about the presence of such companies in your area via your local Chamber of Commerce. They’ll give you information on the economic market, companies within your locality, and recruitment.
  • Embassies and consulates. Most English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, and the UK have outposts within France that need English skills for communication.

3. Consider international Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in France.

There are about twelve NGOs with head offices in major French cities, and they constantly recruit English-speaking professionals regardless of country of origin.

4. Universities are in constant need of international professionals.

Other than teachers, these institutions need personnel to administer international relations and undertake orientation for international students and researchers.

Some typical English-speaking jobs in France include:

Real estate agentsThere’s an influx of British residents moving to France following economic issues and high housing costs in the UK. Real estate companies are on the hunt for English speakers to work as agents in their companies.
Hospitality workersFrance is known for tourism, and most tourists are English speakers. For this reason, most hotels, lodgings, bars, and hostels hire English speakers.
IT personnelEnglish is a big part of the IT culture. As a foreign English speaker with IT experience, you can apply for work in companies seeking IT skills.
IT companies, including Lacoste and Dailymotion, are always looking to hire foreign nationals with exceptional IT skills and good English skills.
FreelancersMany French companies need people to write their content in English, while others require translation and editing skills. 
BabysittersMost French families need their children to learn English, which begins with hiring an English-speaking babysitter.
English teachersMost people in the country speak French, and the desire to learn the English language is high. The demand for English teachers is rising since France wants to maintain ties with the English-speaking job market.
Few people can teach English in France, but the competition is higher in major cities like Paris. You can find these job postings on websites of language colleges, universities, and private and state schools.
Social media marketersCompanies rely on English-speaking personnel to promote products and services on social media.

The above jobs may not suit people’s preferences and skills. In this case, you can explore other job options like:

Self-employment in France

If you wish to start a business, there are companies to help you set it up, provided you have the Professional Liberal Visa. This visa comes with a multi-year permit, and with it, you won’t need a self-employment sponsorship.

Seasonal jobs in France

France has seasonal job opportunities that you can apply for as a non-French-speaking foreigner. During summer, the hospitality and tourism sectors in major cities like Nice, Paris, and Montpellier flood with job openings.

Another option is applying to work on campsites through travel companies. Other seasonal jobs include grape picking for wine industries and working in a ski resort in winter.

Remote work

Most employers in France have opportunities for remote work. Alternatively, you can find remote work through sites like Remoteok, Jobs in Paris, Talent Hubstaff, and OECD.

Can you live in France without speaking French?

A high percentage of people relocating to France don’t speak French at the time of relocation. While some learn the language over the years, others, like finance workers and bankers, can live in France for many years without mastering the language because they use English to run their businesses.

In a country where French is the national language, as a non-French speaker, it can be hard for you to explain yourself and your needs.

You’ll likely face limited interactions and misinterpretations, but here are tips to get by:

Communicate in English: English is the standard language of communication among foreign nationals and tourists visiting Europe. About 39% of France nationals can converse in English, though they are not fluent. You’ll need to speak slowly and word by word for them to grasp what you mean. 

Learn the basics: The most challenging part of not being able to speak French is the greetings, food names, medication, and prices of different things. Doctors and pharmacists at local pharmacies use French terms, and failure to know what you’re purchasing can be risky.

It’s essential to understand the common French phrases to get through simple transactions and purchases. 

Choose your neighborhood: France has many internationally-friendly neighborhoods convenient for non-French speakers. Whether you plan to live in France for a short or long period, this is an excellent area to live as a newcomer.

The people living in these neighborhoods use English as the standard language of communication, and the locals understand that they speak influent French or English. If you choose to live in areas with many locals, you’ll have difficulty expressing yourself.

Hire a translator: The inability of foreigners to express themselves in French is the reason behind the many translation agencies in the country. They’ll help you during your bank transactions and other English to French necessary services when you hire ones when you hire one. 

If you’re living in France as a student, learning French is inevitable. There are things specific to the country’s education system that you’ll need for enrollment, study materials, and assignments. 

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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