How to go to work on the Cote d'Azur and get a French passport for 3 years

Here I will tell you how to get a French passport for 3 years, while working in IT on the Cote d'Azur. The story will be based on my personal experience, but this is still not a description of my biography, because in my case many decisions were not optimal. So if you are interested in an overview of the IT market, wages and opportunities on the Cote d'Azur - welcome under cat.

About the author: I have been working in France for six years in the IT industry, of which the last four years have been in the south. I still do not have citizenship, although I acted correctly, it could be obtained in 3 years. In addition, now there are new types of residence permit, which greatly changes the situation. Therefore, there will not be a story about my personal experience, but about how to act correctly, optimizing the speed of obtaining good European citizenship.

Disclaimer: here it is the speed of obtaining a French passport that is optimized when working in IT, and not the monetary component. But I will still write here about salaries in the south of France, this is important for the overall picture.

There are two ways to integrate into French society: through work (you can apply for citizenship in 5 years by a complicated procedure) and through education + work (you can apply for citizenship in 2 years by a simplified procedure).

The French sincerely consider their education to be the best in the world (Yale? MIPT? No, not heard) and therefore the best way is to start with getting this education. Education is almost free (600 euro / year) + you can win scholarships of the French government or enter the program when the scholarship during your master or postgraduate study is paid by a French company. Here in the south it is often Inria, a semi-private sharashka claiming to be a research center, and in fact engaged in money laundering. They do sponsor many programs, but make sure that research activities (for graduate students) or seniority (for masters) at the same time took place in a decent institute, and not in Inria itself. An important point - scholarships, as a rule, for those who are less than 35 years old, although this is not written anywhere. Age discrimination in France is prohibited,

Do not be afraid to be the only foreigner on the course. This year, the local university has graduated 23 foreigners and 3 French in the specialty “IT engineer”, and there was one Frenchman in the specialty “data science”. The French prefer the humanities like management or social relations, almost 100% of the French are in the graduation class.

After completion of the master (2 years) or PhD (3 years), you will automatically be given a so-called APT (autorisation provisoire de travail = right to work in advance), according to which you can work in the specialty for a whole year.

Time to look for a job. If you are still satisfied with the sea, then here is a review of the local IT market.

Lyrical digression about money. I am not aware of the scholarships of masters, but the scholarships of graduate students are fixed by the government and are in the range of 1600 - 1800 euros per month net. Accommodation costs from 600 euros (studio away from the sea) to 1200 (a modest villa with a swimming pool). You can find more expensive - the same Abramovich lives just here, in one of the coastal towns, but we are now more about the level available to the programmer or devops, who lives on one salary.

Salaries of fresh graduates are in the range of 36-41K euro / brut per year (2300 - 2600 per month net), here you can find a calculator to see in detail.

Very narrow frame, is not it? 2300 will receive a graduate of the local Toulon Zazhopinskaya University, and 2600 will receive a graduate of the elite Mines School from Paris. Look at France as the USSR - the principle of equalization is very common and popular, and elitism (Mines, for example) or non-elitism (if you did not study in France, for example) of your education will be with you until death.

If you already had several years of experience in Russia, and then you got a master in France and you also speak French, then your market price when looking for your first job will be from 38 to 41K / euro brut year (2400 - 2600 euro / month clean). Why so little? Because your first job will have to change your status from student to “talent passport”, which is valid for 4 years and gives you the right to work in any company, but only in your specialty. This status requires you to have a French education and a salary of at least 36K / euro, and also to have your work pay you 1,800 euros of taxes and make administrative passes that are difficult for them.

Let's go back to the works, and if you're interested, in another article I’ll tell you about the salaries of middles and seniors, as well as about the “southern salary IT ceiling” - a purely local phenomenon - and how to go through it. There are three large companies in the region that constantly recruit people: Amadeus, Thales and Orange, many small and billion consulting (service) companies: Accenture, Astek, Alten, Altran, Thales services etc.

Here is such a moment - it’s not worth getting into service companies for a fresh graduate without a working status in this political situation. It is not worth it because they do not produce anything, and therefore the maximization of their profits is in no way connected with your personal blessing. That is, you run the risk of working for a year on your temporary work permit, and in a year to get a refusal to change your status to work because your service company “made a mistake” filling out your documents. It is very convenient for them - they do not pay taxes for you and immediately take a new graduate from APT, but you are not so happy - the refusal to change the status is usually accompanied by an order to leave France within a week.

Therefore, we discard the service companies as an option for the first job and look at the hottest options for direct hire: Amadeus, Thales and Orange. There are other decent companies that are also gaining, but less - there are Huawei, Bentley, ARM, Intel, Quant in the region, Texas Instruments and others periodically come back. I do not want to do a full review of the local market in this article, but if you are interested, write me in the comments, and there will be another article.

Amadeus is developing various services for airlines, a technical stack of your choice - programmers (C ++, Java, JS, Android / OS, Go, Python, Scala), devops (AWS, Google cloud, Azure, private cloud, OVH) and db specialists (MongoDB, Oracle, Redis, MySQL), and the interview scheme is very similar to the one used by Amazon. The company is huge, and you can work with the ancient Legacy code in C over 30 years old, and also with the development of the latest monitoring systems in the clouds.

Thales is software for satellites, military and non-military, so you, as a foreigner, will not be able to get on all open vacancies. Here everything is as old as a dinosaur, and it’s just as frayed. Software for the infamous Iridium33 , the culprit in the first space accident, was written here.

They are mostly looking for Ada programmers, although periodically there are new services, where there is C ++, Python and even devops work, but they are vanishingly small. There is a fairly active department for processing images from satellites - there is image processing and C ++. Thales is elegantly located - in the suburbs of Cannes and right on the seashore, the schedule from 10 to 16, and at lunch everyone go swimming.

Orange is a mobile operator from the top three, a giant of the MTS type. They mostly have Java and Python (but they like to recruit seniors), and also great opportunities for devops. Orange OBS and Orange Labs are, in general, full of opportunities, but it’s quite difficult to get directly - they abuse consultants (like Amadeus) plus Orange - this company is very French in its mentality, a lot of intrigue and politics, and interviews include not so much a test of technical knowledge, as the ability to adapt to the situation and courtly.

Once you have found a job and signed a permanent contract (CDI), you can apply for citizenship. You have everything you need - French education + permanent job, and you do not need to pass the French language, because you are following a simplified procedure like studying in France. The procedure for obtaining citizenship takes from 1 to 3 years in the south, as lucky, but on average two. Thus, in 3-4 years after your arrival in France you will have a European passport, with which it will be much easier to build a future life. And you will spend these 3 years on the coast of the warm sea, although you will have to suffer with the French language and bureaucracy.

Thank you for reading, ask and criticize.

P.S. If you study in France and want an internal recommendation to one of the listed companies - you can write to me.

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