In my 16th year in Singapore and starting to look around to see if there is a better quality of life somewhere else, my quest for the best place to live in the world continues. Following my previous thoughts on Monaco and Andorra, I am now looking at the beautiful French Riviera and in particular Nice.
If you are an EU citizen like me than residency will not be a problem as we are allowed to live and work and set up a business in France without a residency or work permit. If you are not from EU countries or if you are from Croatia then it is most likely that you will have to apply for a residency permit and a work permit to live and work in France. Permanent Residency Status and Citizenship are also available after a minimum of 5 years living in France. More information of types of permits available and how to obtain them can be obtained from L’office Francais De L’Immigration et D’Integration.
Tax & Cost of Living
Unlike Andorra and Monaco, tax is definitely on the high side in France with personal tax coming in as high as 45% and corporate tax at 33.3%. The tax system in France is territorial and residents and nonresidents operating a business in France are subject to tax. Value Added Tax (VAT) is applied to many goods and services at a rate of 20%. Additionally, there are capital gains taxes, and other wealth taxes. Aside from the taxes (Social Security tax contributions are made to government by employees at 18% of gross salary), which provide a very nice social welfare service, other living costs in France are considerably lower than Singapore. According to Expatistan Cost of Living Index, Nice, France is 30% cheaper to live in when compared to Singapore. In particular housing and transportation costs are significantly lower in Nice.
Expatistans Cost of Living Comparison showing Nice, France is 34% cheaper than Singapore (as on 21 September 2016):
Local schooling is practically free and a great option as standard of education is high, however the curriculum is through French. There are several international schools which teach through English, the two main ones being; The International School of Nice located in Nice and Mougins approximately 30 minutes away. Fees for grade 1-6 come in around 14,000 Euro’s (21, 321SGD). Additionally, there is a registration fee of 3,500 Euro’s for The International School of Nice and a lower registration fee of 1000 for Mougins.
With young children, safety is paramount for me. Nice is classified as having a moderate crime rate by Numbeo. Level of crime is rated at moderate in Nice which is significantly different to Singapore where there is little or no crime. This would definitely take a bit of getting used to as we tend to leave our bags lying around and don’t normally lock our doors at night. Walking around during the day is considered very safe in Nice, while walking around alone at night in Nice is only moderately safe.
Famous for its beautiful beaches, people and scenery, Nice is one of the most sought after places to live in the world. Weather wise Nice has a great climate; summer is warm and breezy (average temp 24°C) and the winters are mild and dry (coldest temp 9°C). This mild weather allows an outside lifestyle for much of the year which is an attractive prospective with two very active boys to entertain.
Pollution from the fires in Indonesia (Haze) has been one of my huge pet peeves living in Singapore in recent years. Last year we had to stay indoors on/off for several months due to the severity of the haze. Nice’s low pollution index and beautiful countryside are a huge attraction when compared to the high pollution environment of Singapore.
Another attraction for me for Nice is its proximity to the rest of Europe. Spain, Italy and the rest of France are short car rides away and our family in Ireland are just a 2.5-hour flight direct to Dublin with either Ryanair or Aer Lingus.
Healy Consultants Group is an expert in registration in France and can help you with company set-up, obtaining residency and other set up services. To talk to an expert, email us at email@example.com
Company Setup In France