More than 50,000 young French people cross the border to take advantage of high Swiss wages while paying more moderate rents in France. Testimonials.
They go back and forth every day, without looking back. Sophie lives in Haute-Savoie in Saint-Julien-en-Genevois but works in Geneva. To travel the 8 kilometers between the two cities, it sometimes takes an hour or two because of traffic jams. Every morning, an army of French bumpers rushes to Switzerland. Every year, more and more people are building their professional lives across the border. At the end of 2012, half of the 264,000 foreigners working in Switzerland are French. Among them, 50,200 young people from 20 to 29 years old.
Daily trips for dream pay
From the balcony of their apartment in Saint-Julien, Sophie and her companion have a view of Geneva. Working just a few miles apart, their wages are a big difference. If both are osteopaths, Sophie earns 5500 net euros per month when her friend only touches 2000 in France. This situation is described as “completely incoherent, hallucinating”. Bored, his friend wanted to make his place in the sun too: he was hired in Switzerland and starts next week.
In Saint-Julien, a third of the inhabitants are exported to the country of chocolate and find it “strange to work in France”. Good pay on one side and cheaper rents on the other, the purchasing power is only better. Young people have seen their parents work for years and are following the movement once on the job market. “Once the diploma is in your pocket, you look directly in Switzerland,” says Matthias. Every day, this planning engineer takes his car and two trains to get to work. A largely profitable route: at the post and equivalent hours, it pockets 1500 euros more than in France. So he has already bought his own apartment in France at only 26 years old. “I repay 850 euros a month,” he explains. With a French salary, I could never have owned so quickly.
Health insurance, “border special”, only cost them a hundred euros per month. For the time being. In 2014, the plan could change and health coverage to 8% of their golden income, which would amount to 440 euros monthly for Sophie. The young woman has already studied the problem. “At worst, we are domiciled in Switzerland. The shot of the fictional installation is very simple. Quiet.
“The Swiss do not want to get their hands dirty”
But on the other side of the border, the French are not popular. Although it is only 5%, the unemployment rate in Geneva is the worst in the country. “The Swiss think that they are stealing their jobs and clogging their roads,” says Matthias. We are their immigrants: those responsible for all the evils.
No scruples for these young French people who consider themselves to be cheap and voluntary labor. “The French do the jobs that the Swiss do not want to do as secretary or cashier,” continues Matthias. A few years ago, Sophie was a waitress in a Swiss bar, paid 17 euros per hour. almost twice the French hourly Smic. “Here it is very poorly paid! attests yet, Sophie. Nobody would want to do it. His current employer came to recruit his school in Lyon. He wanted young people ready to work evenings and weekends, not like young Swiss “too attached to their comfort”.
Same story with Frédéric*, a former employee of the Geneva Golf Club, who denounces even a stratification of posts by nationality. “The locals do not want to get their hands dirty. They occupy the top positions, the French have intermediaries: waiters, bartenders, hotel masters. And in the shadows, the plunge or the household, it is the Portuguese, the Spaniards. On the construction sites, Albanians and Kosovars “. We must keep up the pressure: in Switzerland, an “incompatibility of mood” with the boss can be worth a dismissal. But all just such a salary, which allows them to build then dream villas in their native country. “It’s simple: everyone who wants to be a proprietor goes to Switzerland,” Frédéric concludes.
Boomerang effect: the Swiss settle in France
Opportunism works in both directions. The French enjoy opulent salaries and the Swiss of France at bargain prices. “In the car parks of supermarkets and shopping centers, there are plenty of Swiss matriculation plates,” said Matthias. In addition to food shopping, some come to settle in France, where rents are 30 to 40% lower than Geneva according to Matthias.
As a result, real estate pressure is also crossing the border. Saint-Julien may be a dormitory town without a single bar, Sophie and her boyfriend pay 850 euros per month for 35 square meters. They do not plan to move to Switzerland, where “there is nothing below 1600 euros”. She just wonders “how to do the young French people who live and work here”. Frederic could answer him easily: he still lives with his parents.