France and Them: Expats, Migrants, Refugees

I am not someone who picks up on hot social topics, let alone politics. An expat for the last 10+ years, I don’t feel entitled to meddle with internal affairs of the countries I happen to live in. I am coming from a place way too big for things to change, so I know that great expectations often lead to big disillusionment. Plus, I am a millennial and by now, after hundreds of expensive consultants’ reports conducted on millennials, everyone should know that we only mind our own business and our own benefit.

One thing that makes me write this post: I love France. I have chosen to live (and pay my taxes) here, after having lived in Helsinki, London, Istanbul, South Korea, Munich and a couple of other places.  It costed me multiple relocations (at my own expense), troubles of residence permit and a 30% salary cut once I moved out of Germany. And I am perfectly happy about it. Sure, paying 53% of my salary in taxes doesn’t make me French. But it does entitle me to have an opinion on the subject as vital to the country and as close to my heart is immigration.

In my opinion, immigration is good for France. Take me. I am a holder of an exquisite European Blue Card residence permit, the one reserved for the highly skilled, talented or in other ways rare workforce. I work for a multinational, and because of the nature of my job, I don’t compete with the local labour force, i.e. French people working for the French customers. I do, however, pay my taxes here. This makes everyone happy: I live in Paris, France gets 53% of my income, and I don’t take anything from the local labour market. It is a situation many countries would like to have. In fact, back in the days when I lived in Germany with a similar arrangement, German immigration sercvices used to send me letters, in English – people, in English! – to make sure I am doing okay and happy with the system. Germany also paid me a lot more, for the same job I am doing here. And yet I left for France.

Continue reading