Français du monde-adfe, an association recognized as a public utility, organized the second edition of the Barometer on the needs and expectations of French people living abroad. The aim of this biennial survey, carried out in collaboration with the Junior-Enterprise of the University of Paris-Dauphine, is to identify the concerns and new priorities of our compatriots living outside France.
The objectives of this study were twofold: to study the needs of the French abroad as well as to analyze and understand their expectations. At that time, 12,192 French and French people, in equal parts, responded to this survey. Among the participants, 39% are dual nationals and 41% have left France for 20 years or more. A high participation rate was observed in Canada, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Retirement pensions have been frozen for several years despite rising cost of living
Retirement of the French abroad
According to initial analyzes, retirement is one of the most important issues for 39.7% of French expatriates. In fact, the steps seem difficult to get a pension from abroad. One participant informs: “The pension fund tells me that they have mountains of files to process. Who can I contact for unacceptable delays in paying basic pensions? ». The way in which work is taken into account in calculating your pension depends on the country or countries in which you worked as well as your situation. The rules vary from a European country to a contracted or non-contracted country. From this point of view, there is also a strong concern linked to inflation and, therefore, to the decline in purchasing power: “Retirement pensions have been frozen for several years despite rising cost of living” says another expatriate.
Assisting retirees in their often thorny administrative path, however, is a big part of the questions that are addressed daily to elected consular officers. Consulates, which are sometimes under-resourced and understaffed, then find a useful place among elected officials or charities.
Through this barometer, many questions are asked about maintaining a quality public service at our Consulates
Consular administration for expatriates
As in 2018 and with even more exacerbation, respondents attach great importance to proximity: to be able to easily contact a French administration by email or telephone, to receive online assistance from the consulate for day-to-day procedures, to be able to contact with his consulate. in case of a problem and be informed of important events. Consular elected officials are often contacted on this subject, as an interface with the administration.
In addition, due to distance and restricted hours, the renewal of administrative documents such as identity card or passport can be laborious, with disparities depending on the region of the world.
Florian Bohême, a member of the National Bureau of Français du monde-adfe and an adviser to French people living abroad in Cambodia, states: ” Through this barometer, many inquiries are made about maintaining a quality public service at our consulates. Our compatriots want to have humans, agents answering the phone, emails. All digital will not work if it is not accompanied by the maintenance and strengthening of the consular network. »
Climate change = global concern
Climate change seen by the French living outside France
More than a trend, climate change seems to be one of the main concerns of 24.3% of French people abroad. Many witnesses are very concerned about what may seem like “inertia” on the part of governments. “Climate change = global concern. This should be the number one concern of all countries, but no one is doing anything. declares an expatriate.
With the emergence of new crises in our society, the international situation is also becoming a major concern (33.14%). French people living abroad remain optimistic, however, and want to continue living outside mainland France.
Covid-19 and health measures from abroad
The majority of respondents (73.83%) believe that they have been sufficiently informed about the health measures adopted in the event of their return to France. In addition, 85% of expatriates surveyed have benefited from a vaccination campaign by local authorities. 61% compared to 34% of respondents say they have not suffered any economic consequences of the Covid-19. The inability to return to France, the change in lifestyle and the economic crisis would have been the main causes affecting expatriates.
Many French people complain about the high price of French schools abroad
The education of expatriate children
In this section of education, only expatriates with children were able to respond (68.17%). At that time, the French would give special importance to easier access to university in France. As Gaelle Barré, a member of the National Office of Français du monde-adfe and an adviser to French people living abroad in Italy, recalls: “ Many French people complain about the high price of French schools abroad. Families find it difficult to get scholarships and these are insufficient to cover school expenses. With regard to higher education, numerous problems of equivalence of degrees are cited. Some high school students have real trouble enrolling in Parcoursup. » In general, expatriates would like to benefit from French classes for their children in the host country and would like to educate them in a bilingual stream from abroad.
58.48% of students want to stay abroad after their studies. 30.99% of them do not know it and 10.53% want to return to France. The main reasons why these students want to stay abroad are the best standard of living, the possibilities for professional development, the highest salary or the culture.
The possibility of returning to France?
The majority of expatriates surveyed (74.66%) do not plan to return to live in France. For the 6.17% who want to return, the main reasons are retirement, professional or personal reasons.
Florian Bohême recalls: “This high rate of compatriots who want to continue their life abroad shows that French people living abroad are fully integrated into their country of residence. They found families there and started businesses. Therefore, the main function of the public authorities is to give them the best possible support. This barometer exists to remind us of this reality. »