Living in an OS French territory
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jul 31, 2012 12:28 PM Last Post By: Wolfie6552
Jul 21, 2012 9:48 PM
Living in an OS French territoryAs an EU citizen I can legally work in one of the Palm filled beach paradises that make up France's overseas territories so here's my question,
Say I wanted to work in Martinique (seems more realistic than Wallis and Futuna somehow..) but I don't speak French (willing to learn) how easy it would be to pick up basic casual work? Say cleaning or shopping trolley collecting, that kind of thing?
Jul 22, 2012 12:54 AM
1First you need to get your terms straight. Martinique is a DOM, overseas department. Wallis and Futuna is a TOM, overseas territory. The difference is that while DOMs are French departments and in the EU, TOMs are not. TOMs are not part of the EU and even French nationals cannot simply move there without formal visa procedures.
I have no information specific to Martinique but the combination of your lack of French and the local unemployment rate makes work very unlikely for you. The unemployment rate is 20.1% from 2005 which was the latest year I could find. In the late 90s it had been much higher. What's even worse is youth unemployment which is 50%.
So here is the economy of Martinique in a nutshell. Costs are very high, including wages, because most things are imported. While the few who have jobs do get a decent average wage, the picture is bleak for those without jobs. For them the French metropolitan government provides generous benefits. It has all the major features of the French system except they are magnified.
Many of the DOMTOMs share this economic structure, high costs, bleak employment prospects and French
government support. Some have a tourism industry like Martinique and others don't.
You haven't been to Martinique but the high cost of living may shock you, in much of overseas France costs are higher than in Paris, and you may decide to head elsewhere.
Edited by: alexander_vi
Jul 22, 2012 8:20 AM
2When someone says they are willing to take any job I always ask them if they are willing to live under the same conditions as a local with a low level job.
What would the average living conditions be for someone in your home country who collects shopping trolleys or cleans houses? Whatever it is like, it will be worse in Martinique believe me.
Between a pessimist and an optimist you find a realist. If you have no skills that are in demand and expect to compete for a bottom level job against locals, how realistic is it to expect that even if you find a job at that level it will be worth putting up with the living conditions you will be able to afford?
Living in a shack on the beach sounds great until you discover the reality.
Jul 22, 2012 9:41 PM
3Yikes. Alexander more expensive than Paris?!
Travelinstyle46, point taken but people cleaning and collecting trolleys in my country earn the lowest in the EU (original nations anyway) and have a Government trying to force them to work for even less!
Jul 23, 2012 1:06 AM
Jul 23, 2012 7:21 AM
5The life of a beach bum is not cheap. I speak from experience.
When I retired in my 40s and ended up living on a Greek island, my Mother told my Brother, 'oh I hope he isn't just going to be a beach bum.' Just what she thought was wrong with being a beach bum I don't know but I think most of us can understand that reaction from a Mother.
I suppose it depends on how you define a 'beach bum' and your perception of what they do with their time every day. If it was walking the beach begging for money from tourists and sleeping in a shack with rats in the palm thatched roof I can understand my Mother's apprehension. But I lived in a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment set in grounds with a pool and orchard all around. By island standards it was luxury. I went out to a restaurant once or twice a week, took flights home for a visit every year, bought a scooter and a little classic convertible car and generally had a nice life.
So the "laid back life on a tropical island just enjoying life" is indeed possible and quite nice. It took me about $20k a year plus major expenditures (car, flights home, etc.). What is not reality is that someone will enjoy that kind of life on the income from a bottom level job.
Jul 29, 2012 9:43 AM
Jul 29, 2012 9:47 AM
7At a supermarket they provide 'shopping trolleys' to put your groceries in as you go around the aisles. After checking out you may then push the trolley out to your car. Some supermarkets employ people to go around the parking lot collecting the trolleys and returning them into the supermarket. Got it?
Jul 29, 2012 9:57 AM
Jul 31, 2012 12:28 PM
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