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Having to retrain to work in France

IF you are qualified in your chosen profession and move to France you may have to retrain to be able to work legally.

IF you are qualified in your chosen profession and move to France with the aim of carrying on, you may well have to retrain - in French - to be able to work legally.

The list of what sectors require retraining is extensive and by no means uniform. In some cases, such as coaching a sport, it is advisable to join a national federation for insurance purposes - and for this you will be expected to have French qualifications. Some sectors, such as accountancy, have more obvious retraining requirements.

Others are more surprising. For example, it can be difficult for a qualified and experienced hairdresser, for example, to open a salon without a brevet professionnel (BP) certificate.

Amanda Lesley, who owns a salon in Port Grimaud in the Var, said: “The rules state that to have your own place you must have a BP.

“I don’t but I get around this by having one member of staff who does.

“Legally I am not allowed to colour anyone’s hair if she is not in the salon, which is odd considering I’m the boss.

“I know a couple of British girls training for their BP. They go in once a week, it takes two years and will cost €400. And while they are training they earn less than the minimum wage.”

Mrs Lesley warned that, even if you are going to work independently and go visiting clients at home, you must have a BP. Other sectors with demanding training requirements in the UK do not require extensive retraining programmes.

Plumbing, especially with gas systems, is complicated and would carry considerable risks if done by someone who was not qualified.

However, no retraining is required if you have the British qualification certificates. Glen Malton, from Antibes, moved to France two years ago after working as a fully qualified plumber in the UK for 15 years.

He said: “All I needed to do was get my CORGI gas certificated professionally translated and then I was free to go. I had to do a short course on how to run a business which is normal for anyone registering as an artisan.

“The only thing I can’t do is issue gas certificates, which is not a problem as I can get a Qualigaz engineer to look at my work quite cheaply.”

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