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Working in Nice

Find out how to get a job and work in Nice

Nice has a thriving economy that seems to be going from strength to strength. Read our guide to working in the city and discover how to navigate the world of work permits, social security, and the tourism industry in Nice.

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Employment in Nice

The easiest way to find a job in Nice is, of course, to be sent there by your current employer. However, even if this isn’t an option for you, there are ways to find worthwhile work in the city First and foremost, make sure that you learn the language. Speaking French is a necessity if you wish to make a good first impression on any French company. Being unable to speak the language could be seen as a sign of disrespect or laziness and discourage future employers from hiring you.

First Things First: Getting a Work Permit

The first thing you must tackle when working in Nice is the issue of a work permit. If you are from the EU, this should be relatively straightforward, as applicants from EU/EEA member states, plus Switzerland, do not need a work permit. However, as life in Nice is fairly expensive, it would be wise have a job lined up before you move to the city.

If you are not an EU national, then it is essential to obtain a work permit. Usually, your employer will handle this procedure, as it involves proving that no French or EU national can fulfil the role. It is therefore important to convince your potential employer that hiring you is worth the extra bureaucratic effort!

If this is not an option, there are other routes to working in Nice. Many expats choose to be self-employed, as this doesn’t necessarily require a work permit and you can simply apply as a travailleur independent. However, you will still need sufficient financial resources and be able to demonstrate that you won’t be competing with French nationals on the local job market.

If you want to start working in Nice in a self-employed capacity, then consult the website of the Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSSAF). URSSAF is responsible for registering those who are self-employed and enrolling them for social security benefits in France.

For more information on the different means of working in Nice, please see our working in France pages.

Shared Social Security Costs

The French welfare state has been recognized as one of the most comprehensive systems in the world, and working in Nice will let you take advantage of their Sécurité Sociale (social security) program. Expats on assignments lasting for up to  twelve months may be able to opt out of this, in favor of paying social security contributions in their own country. This depends on whether their country of origin has a mutual social security agreement with France — there is a helpful list on the Centre de Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale website. 

Within France, most social security contributions are paid by both employer and employee. TheSécurité Socialewebsite illustrates the different plans for different professions.

The Best Health Insurance

Although public health insurance covers a percentage of the costs arising from necessary medical treatments, most people also opt for private complementary health insurance. This can be eligible for financial support from the employer.

EU and EEA nationals who continue to pay social security contributions in their home country are also covered by the French health insurance system, as long as they register with their local caisse d’assurance maladie (health insurance fund). All other non-residents, whether working in Nice temporarily on a business trip or just visiting, are only eligible for emergency treatment. New self-employed French residents should register with a caisse mutuelle régionale (regional mutual benefit fund) to obtain further information.

If you are working in Nice and encounter a medical emergency, the number to dial is 15. If you need an English-speaking doctor, contact the Riviera Medical Services.

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Economy of Nice

For over 300 years, Nice has been one of France’s most popular holiday destinations, and this history is still obvious today. The majority of jobs in Nice are in the tourism sector or the service industry. Both form the backbone of the city’s economy, although construction and technology are also significant.

The Eco-Vallée Project

Nice is certainly up-and-coming as a technological and business destination and is the only city in France to have been awarded IBM’s “Smart City” award. This is reflected in the development of a new international business park, called Eco-Vallée. Located in the Var valley, just to the west of Nice, this brand-new development will constitute a business zone with a new exhibition center, multi-modal transport hub, offices, and homes. This means the creation of thousands of new jobs, new homes, and a considerable amount of private investment. It also cements Nice’s reputation as a growing, stable business economy and will draw on the city’s international potential.

The Big Business of Tourism

As mentioned above, tourism generates the vast majority of Nice’s economy. It has two main branches: leisure tourism and business tourism. The city attracts five million visitors a year, about half of which come from abroad, especially from other European countries like Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and the UK.

The University of Nice Sophia Antipolis is home to internationally ranked schools of management, as well as degree programs which are directly linked to tourism. This ensures that students can progress to have a future working in Nice. However, it makes it more difficult for expats to find jobs within this highly competitive sector.

It’s More Than Just Tourism

The Eco-Vallée development suggests that Nice is more than just a tourist attraction and in fact is building an impressive reputation as a hub of technology. Telecommunications, internet, multimedia, life sciences, and biotechnology firms are all based in the Nice area and are of increasing importance. The other secondary pillars of the local economy are the construction and public works sectors.

Some useful links for finding work in Nice are:

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: September 26, 2017
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