How to work as a civil engineer in France
March 10, 2012 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Australian civil engineer wanting to work over in france, and possibly stay - is there anyway this will work?

I am currently working as a civil engineer in Australia although still a recent graduate so not yet a chartered member of Engineers Australia. When i was studying i did my end of studies project over in France (Grenoble) and managed to pick up the language pretty fluently and now I want to go back to work (and live) but i dont know how or even if it is possible.

My grandfather was Welsh which i believe lets me get at least a UK 5 yr ancestry visa (not sure if it extends to the EU though), so if i applied for that and headed over to the UK would it make it easier to transition across to France?

Also in terms of work, how likely is it that a French engineering company will hire/sponsor me to head over and work for them? I've heard its fairly easy to go to the UK and work, will it be similar in France.

Has anyone done anything similar or know anyone who has - I would really love any kind of guidance
posted by parryb to Work & Money (5 answers total)
The UK nuclear industry is desperate for engineers who can speak French at the moment and they're sending them to work in France for at least part of the year. Would you be interested in doing something like that? Some of the jobs require 3 years of UK residency to get security clearance but not all of them do. Google for UK French nuclear jobs.
posted by hazyjane at 3:17 AM on March 10, 2012

Best answer: I think you'd be best off focusing on finding work in the UK first, yes, and using that base to A. learn more about civil engineering in France, B. get some solid contacts in France and C. find work there, if that does still end up being what you want to do. Coming straight here without a sponsored job is not the way to go (you didn't suggest it, but I did want to add that because I see so many people try it and it never works because that's exactly what drives immigration authorities batty here.)

As to how easy it would be, that depends on a lot of factors. I certainly wouldn't count on it being easy; keep in mind the sheer numbers of English speakers who want to live in France. (I'm originally from the US and have lived here for over a dozen years all told; I see so many people come here hoping to stay, and they can't because of how many others are already here and have all the related jobs the market can support.) You do have the advantage of an engineering degree, however, which definitely gives a leg up. Degreed engineers (in whatever field) have better salaries and retirement schemes than for many others in France.
posted by fraula at 5:08 AM on March 10, 2012

I'd be skeptical of the likelihood of a job in the UK without the ancestry visa, no matter how fluent you are in French. I have a good reputation in a small industry where the UK doesn't have a lot of domestic players but they're trying to hire, I speak a couple of European languages passably, but I can't get anyone to call me back because I don't already have a permit to work there -- they changed the visa rules last year and have significant caps on Tier 2 employer-sponsored work visas now, and last year they got rid of the Tier 1 visa that let you come in without an employer sponsor if your occupation was on the list of skills shortages (which engineering was). If you can get the ancestry visa and that gives you the right to work there, I think you'll have a much, much easier time.

That said, if you can get a UK work permit, I think it makes you eligible in multiple Eurozone countries. I have seen UK jobs saying implying that a Eurozone work permit makes you eligible there. But I don't know for sure.
posted by olinerd at 6:02 AM on March 10, 2012

UK visas are for the UK only - only citizens and families have freedom of movement in the EU. Ancestry is the best route to the UK since the restrictions on work visas came into play, unless you can be sponsored into France directly on a work permit there.
posted by wingless_angel at 8:14 AM on March 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thank to everyone for the responses - I think i'll look more into going by the UK route and working over there for a few years if i can even get a position there. I just read an article where they have just recently changed the laws over in france to not hire overseas workers where an EU citizen can do the job - sounds like it might have killed any chance of this being easy.
posted by parryb at 12:59 AM on March 11, 2012

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