The economy in Lille has historically been shaped by commerce and trade, with the area forming a major hub for the food industry as well as mechanical and textile engineering.
The modern city is still a hub for trade and commerce, helped in no small part by a favorable property market and unrivaled transport links to some of Europe’s most powerful cities.
The conurbation of Lille, Roubaix, Torching and Villeneuve d’Ascq is the fourth largest in France and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP.
Citizens of countries required to obtain a visa to work in France must have employment prior to submitting their application. These foreigners can stay in the country for up to 90 days with a tourist visa, which does not allow you to work but does grant you the right to interview for French positions.
This means you should invest a considerable amount of time in your job search and schedule interviews within close proximity to each other since a tourist visa is only valid for one entry and exit. You can find more information on work permits for France from our article on working in France.
There are a number of online resources designed to help expats find work in the area. International job boards and company websites are a great place to start. If your company or a competitor operates out of France, then it might be worth requesting a transfer or making your desire to relocate known to your professional network.
The French visa system is leaning towards encouraging vital skills that could benefit the country’s economy; your application stands a better chance if an employer can prove that your skill set is unique and beneficial to their business.
Don’t discount potential job opportunities in other business hubs like Paris, Lyon and Brussels; the transport connections in Lille are superb, with Paris an hour away and Brussels only 35 minutes by high-speed rail.
English-speaking nannies and au pairs are generally in high demand in France, and there are many agencies geared towards placing suitable candidates in vacant positions. While you can specify which areas you are interested in living in, be aware that many of these agencies operate nationally and there is never a guarantee you will find employment in the city.
There is also a demand for English teachers and, again, a number of companies specialized in finding suitable applicants for these vacancies. However, the demand for English teachers in France is not as exaggerated as in other European countries, and you may not command the same type of salary as you would elsewhere. Make sure you do your research and make the most of the advice offered by organizations such as TEFL to ensure you know what you are worth.