step by step - impatriation

preparing

Relocation is the idea of moving a person, a firm, from one place to another. Relocation services are the services provided when helping firms and employees move from one place to another.

This section will focus on family relocation. Therefore, whether you organize the relocation internally or through an outside firm, you will be able to familiarize yourself with some of the elements to be taken care of: housing, administrative papers (visa, work permit, etc), schools for children, search for a job for the spouse, having the employee learn the host language…

Relocation companies can provide services directly to the families, or employers (who will then pay for services provided to their employees expatriated). For practical reasons (i.e. knowledge of the local rental market), many relocation companies work on a small market (i.e. only Paris or only Ile-de-France, only London area, etc) but they can work with other agencies in the country.

In this section, we will try to provide the maximum information on different aspects of relocation, allowing you to make a better choice in the type of relocation services you want for your employees.

First visit abroad

The first visit abroad is usually recommended to expatriates that head to host locations exotic and far away from the home location. This visit is usually done by the employee and its spouse, allowing both of them to have a sense of what kind of place is the host location and make a decision about whether or not they want to move to the host location.

Therefore, it is recommended that this trip be properly organized with clear goals set. You will find below a list of things to be done during that visit (this list is not exhaustive):

- Meet with the direct superior of the employee in the host location ; 
- Meet with the host HR ; 
- Meet with other expatriates to get to know the host location ; 
- Visit of the city, its neighborhoods, the region, etc. ;
- Visit the housing locations found by the relocation agency ; 
- Visit the school and its headmaster if possible ;
- Formalities tied to moving abroad

The moving

There are numerous formalities tied to moving abroad. Your tranquility and that of your employee will depend on how these formalities are handled during the preparation of the assignment. These can be handled directly by the employee or by a relocation company. Either way, we recommend that you explain to your expatriate that certain formalities need to be down once in France. Some of these are :

- Signature of the lease ;
- Informing your mayor's office of your presence ;
- Enrolling children into school ;
- Souscription d’abonnements (téléphone, internet etc.) ;
- Opening a bank account.

Housing

When expatriating an employee, it is important for both the employee and the employer to have the employee be working at his full capacity as quickly as possible.

This is the reason why calling on a relocation company to assist the employee can be helpful. These relocation companies choose apartments based on the employee ' s requests prior to his arrival, plan visits for the employee and once the apartment has been chosen, handle the lease, getting electricity, telephone line, etc.

The apartments will be chosen based on the employees ' neighborhood request, number of family members, etc. A good relocation company can help an employee find an apartment within a day at very competitive prices (between 1,500 and 2,000 euros per day). These visits are often made when the employee makes his first trip to visit the host location.

For more details, please go to the section Housing/utilities on the page The impat's package.

Schools

The type of schools available to the employee's children, as well as the quality of these schools, are key elements for the employee. Often an expatriation will not take place if the children can not be guaranteed to go to schools in proper conditions in the host location.

Relocation agencies also propose as part of their services to research and enroll children in schools in France. Asking for their assistance is important since, in France, waiting lists are long and these relocation agencies have often contacts within the schools and therefore, may be able to obtain a spot where the employee alone could not.

In France, there are also a great number of excellent international schools. For more information, go to our section Children's education in our page The impat's package.

Medical visit

When coming to France from certain countries, immigration formalities require the employee to go through a medical visit in France. Therefore, inform these employees of this formality so that they are not surprised that the medical visit they went through in their home location is not recognized in France.

The French administration in charge will organize for your employee this medical visit, within three months maximum of the employee's arrival in France. Therefore, if the French administration has a delegation in the home country, we recommend that the employee performs this medical visit prior to his arrival in France.

A relocation agency can take care of making these appointments. However, internally, these meetings can often be organized quite easily.

Finally, remember that each French employee must go through a medical visit. This obligation applies also to French impatriates.

Other official documents

You must remind your employees coming from abroad that immigration documents (visa, work permit, resident permit) are not the only documents necessary. Indeed, the assignee will also need :

- Identity card
- Valid passport
- Driving license
- Voting cards

Certain relocation companies can also assist you in obtaining these additional documents.