French expats looking for El Dorado in Ireland

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

DUBLIN, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - Thousands of young French people are taking advantage of full employment if not iron-clad job security — not in France, but just over an hour away by plane in Dublin.

DUBLIN, April 11, 2006 (AFP) - Thousands of young French people are taking advantage of full employment if not iron-clad job security — not in France, but just over an hour away by plane in Dublin.

The French embassy estimates that there are at least 17,000 French people currently in the Irish capital. Not all have qualifications, but most can get by in English.

"The growth of the Irish economy is so strong (more than five percent a year) that there’s not been enough local workers for a while," Laurent Girard-Claudon, an expatriate since 1999, told AFP.

“There are always vacancies in every sector, from information technology to the restoration business, sales and the building trade," said the 29-year-old entrepreneur, whose company Approach People recruits multi-lingual workers.

Véronique Lagrange, 24, qualified as a sommelier in Bordeaux two years ago. Tired of being offered waitressing jobs, she left for Dublin with only her CV in hand and a room booked in a youth hostel.
"I immediately found a job as an assistant sommelier in a large restaurant," she said. "Three months later, my boyfriend joined me and he was taken on as a hotel receptionist."
Yannick Martin, 25, is originally from Dieulefit, in the Drôme area of southeast France. He spent three years working out short-term contracts after completing an information technology course at university.
He chose to work in Ireland to improve his English and boost his chances of finding a job when he returns to France.

After two telephone interviews and a flying visit to Dublin, US computer giant Hewlett-Packard took him on late last year as a call centre worker dealing with French clients.

His Irish experience should be just enough to boost his CV. "I give myself two years before going home," he said.

Although the cost of living in Dublin is expensive, Yannick said he enjoys it. It may not have the cultural pull of cities like London, Paris or Barcelona but it is almost as cosmopolitan, he added.

The friendly welcome of the city's 1,000 or so pubs is not a myth, he said.

Irish employment contracts remain the same whatever the employee's age: there is a six-month trial period, which is renewable once, during which time either party can terminate the contact with only a week's notice.
After that, the notice period is one month. At this stage, any dismissal must be backed up in writing, but the procedure is not set in stone.
Given such a background, short-term contracts are few and far between: the minimum hourly wage is EUR 7 after taxes.
Unemployment benefit is paid as a lump sum, but at EUR 200 a week is not a large amount when compared with living costs.

Yet that does not affect the majority of people in the city, where the unemployment rate is officially three percent.
Not everything is rosy, however. Veronique Lagrange is now working in a wine bar. She followed her colleagues' advice and did not take out any medical insurance.
She explained that visiting a general practitioner costs her 60 euros a time, none of it refundable through social security.
One friend who had a bad back had to pay 3,000 euros in fees to a physiotherapist, she added, proving that here more so than in France, "it pays to be in good health".
Meanwhile, the pictures of demonstrations in France against a controversial new youth labour law remind the young French in Dublin of what could have been.
Laurent Girard-Claudon said he understands "the young who don't want to be taken advantage for 18 months like interns fresh out of school".
As for Lagrange: "I would probably be on the street as well if I was in
France. I can accept job insecurity at my age, but not a lack of hope."
Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article