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Going to London... To Promote Professional Integration in France

Emmanuelle Santelli

In a context of increasing migration of French nationals to London, this article is focussed on understanding the motives of young French adults of North African origin who adopt this mobility in order to enhance their professional employability. Some of these young people benefit in France from an international mobility support mechanism, set up by a local mission that accompanies these young people throughout their mobility activities. Once in London, they are welcomed by a French structure that puts forward job and housing proposals. Starting from this data base, the first part of the article deals with the characteristics of these young people, depending on whether they had set off within the framework of a mobility support mechanism or not. The first group find themselves in a much more precarious work situation than the second. Additionally, they are not in the same life cycle stage. The results as a whole are strengthened and further developed through the analysis of biographical discussions with the young people who had left for some months in London. The second part of the article includes three sections in which we deal with the reasons they left for London, how this experience allowed them to discover their Frenchness, and their new lifestyle. Obtaining new referential material is something that impacts their entire introduction to adult life, but nevertheless, this mobility is most usually explored with the idea of promoting their professional integration in France. Far from engaging in a mobility that will distance them, what they are doing illustrates their desire to leave « in order to come back better » to their original region.