French expatriates: how much and where are they in the world?

By 10 April 2020 April 15th, 2020 No Comments

Mobility is now an integral part of the world of work. Professionals looking for new opportunities, travel consultants for long-term assignments or employees who have gone to a foreign country for training, the French no longer hesitate to settle beyond the borders of France. Where and how many are there? Focus on the statistics of French expatriation.

Why are the French moving abroad?

The evolution of work has made expatriation more and more common and remains the main reason for French expatriation. According to an Ipsos survey, the goal of French people moving abroad is above all to progress in their professional life. International experience is an opportunity to boost your career and add a real asset to your CV. Another important quality on a resume is the mastery of a foreign language. This second reason is frequently cited among the motivations that drive the French to leave. According to the survey conducted by Ipsos, french respondents also mentioned the desire to achieve a better standard of living by moving elsewhere. This is particularly possible in countries where the cost of living is lower than in France. Some also offer tax benefits. In addition, expatriates sent by their company abroad enjoy considerable privileges: a higher salary and often, free furnished accommodation, at least temporarily. Finally, a large number of French people leave for their studies or as part of a training course. It should also be noted that a majority of expatriates have left to join one or more relatives abroad.

Finally, among the reasons that drive the French to leave, we find the desire to travel and discover new cultures or to enjoy a more pleasant climate. Almost one in five French people want to move abroad (Ipsos-Trans-Atlantic Bank study – March 2014) for a more or less long time. They also consider that they have a role to play for France, especially in terms of economics by promoting French culture and products in foreign countries and that on their return, the sharing of their international experience is a real asset that deserves to be more valued and recognized. For companies, managing expatriates is often laborious, and the safety of expatriates is not always taken into account. For companies, the management of accommodations for all their expatriates is often considered difficult and time-consuming, with little centralization. This lack of centralized information and management tools is often an obstacle to ensuring the safety of these expatriate travellers. MagicStay has created Extendeez®, an open international mobility management software that allows you to choose apartments on multiple platforms such as airbnb, booking.com, HomeAway, Sonder, OnefineStay or from local real estate agencies. This digital accommodation management solution for expatriates allows you to present several apartments to the expatriate and get your choice, then book the selected furnished apartment and manage all the administrative information during the entire lease. But above all, this international mobility management software helps to ensure the safety of these expatriates by being connected to the security operator of the client company.

Statistics on French expatriation.

The number of French people living abroad has increased steadily over the past 20 years. In 2017, there were approximately 1,820,000 expatriates based on the number of registrants on the consular register, but only 8 out of 10 expatriates would be registered on this register. It can then be estimated that the number is between 2 and 2.5 million.

But where are they? A few countries in particular seem to be favoured by the French, since 40 of the French community abroad is mainly established in the following 5 countries: Switzerland in the first place (furnished apartments in Geneva),with nearly 180,000 expatriates, followed by the United States (New York furnished apartments) (approximately 158,000 people) and the United Kingdom (furnished apartments in London) who climbed to the third step of the podium with about 140,000 French. Then there are two European and border countries: Belgium(furnished apartments in Brussels)(nearly 125,000 people) and Germany, which hosts just over 118,000 French expatriates. The following 5 countries are: Canada, Spain, Morocco, Israel and Italy.

On the gender equality side, parity is respected! Almost as many French women as men live abroad. As for their age, 25 are under 18, 9.5 are between 18 and 25, 23.8 are between 26 and 40, 26.9 are 41 to 60, and the over-60s are 14.8. The majority are couples, since there are 74, 43 of whom have one or two children and 31 without children. There are 20 of them living alone, and 6 alone with one or more children. Finally, 80 of French expatriates work. The remaining 20 are, among other things, travelling, gone to study or retire.

Would the grass be greener elsewhere? This is possible, since 61 French expatriates have left France for more than 5 years already!

Finding a place to live: the priority when arriving in a foreign country.

Faced with such a long stay on site, you have to find the perfect accommodation so you don’t get homesick! The search for furnished or empty accommodation during long missions or expatriations is often a major source of stress and the main concern of departing professionals. To accompany you in your search for an apartment abroad, using a relocation agency can be of great help.

Moreover, when you do not have the opportunity to go there before your departure, it is difficult to choose your future accommodation on the spot. In order to avoid finding yourself in accommodation that you do not like or to be accommodated in hotels that are not suitable for long stays, opt instead for a furnished rental apartment or apartment-hotel as soon as you arrive. Indeed, these comfortable, secure accommodations, allowing you to feel at home and to be independent thanks to a fully equipped kitchen available, are the best option to begin your immersion in a foreign country. In short- or long-term furnished rentals, Magicstay provides employees in a situation of professional mobility with a temporary furnished apartment while waiting to find a permanent apartment. It is also an opportunity to get acquainted with the city and its new daily life before choosing the final district where you want to live.

With an offer of more than 500,000 accommodations worldwide, you should find your pied-Ă -terre all over the globe on Magicstay.com.


Ipsos-Trans-Atlantic Bank Survey: “Link and relationship with France of French people living abroad” – September 2015

Source: MEAE, figures as of December 31, 2017- diplomatie.gouv.fr

Humanis-Lepetitjournal.com 2016 Barometer