If you chose France as a destination for your studies, or if you are considering it, one of the questions that comes to mind is how easy is it to work in France after graduation? Good news is the answer to this question is YES, it is easy, and in this post I will explain how.
One of the advantages of France as a destination to carry out your studies is the possibility of working during and after your studies. France has understood the importance of the skilled workforce that comes to its schools and universities each year, as well as the impact it has on the country’s economc development and has been able to take advantage of this. Skilled foreigners in France are future potential entrepreneurs, job creators and have competences that may be interesting in the labor market.
As I explained in another post, once you finish your studies, it is possible to have a one-year work visa (Carte de séjour – Recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise formerly known as Autorization Provisoire de Sejour – APS) This visa allows you to look for a job in France after graduation like any French citizen. As I already mentioned, this visa has a duration of one year only, so it does not allow you to stay in France indefinitely, however, there is a way to convert this visa into a long-term work visa, keep reading to find out how.
The procedure that I describe in this post applies only to those who have graduated from a Masters or a License Pro since for lower levels of studies the employment situation in the country applies, meaning they can only apply to the areas that are considered “ in difficulty ” depending on the region, which limits the possibilities of finding a job. For students whose educational level is equal to or above Masters or License Pro, the employment situation does not apply, meaning they can obtain a job like any French citizen, as long as they meet the conditions that I will describe below.
Obviously, and this goes without saying, it also applies only to people from countries outside the European Union since there is labor mobility between member countries.
Changement de statut
This procedure is known in French as “changement de statut” and, as the name implies, it is nothing more than a change from one immigration status to another, in this case from student to employee.
Like any administrative process in France, this can also be complex and burdensome, but in the end, if you have all the documents and meet the requirements, process should be smooth. Obviously the most complicated part of all this is getting a job offer in France, but that deserves to be dedicated a full post.
Once you receive your Carte de séjour – Recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise, it allows you to apply for job offers like any French citizen for a period of one year. If during this period, you have not got a job or you do not have a job offer, since you do not have a reason to legally reside in France, you must leave the country. If, on the contrary, you are already hired or have a job offer, you can request the change to have the status of “salarié”.
The only way to request this change of status is with the support of a company and the job offer must also meet the following requirements:
- The job for which the visa is requested is related to your area of study;
- The salary must be at least 1.5 times the gross minimum salary. For Master level jobs, salary should easily be above this amount.
It is important to comply with these requirements, since, even if the employment situation is not applicable, it is necessary to have the authorization of the DIRECCTE (Direction Régionale des Entreprises, de la Concurrence, de la Consommation, du Travail et de l’Emploi). This institution will receive your application once deposited in the prefecture and will be the one who authorizes you to do this job in France.
It is also important to note that the company must also pay a tax for making this change of status. If the contract is for a period longer than 12 months, the company must pay a tax equivalent to 55% of one month of gross salary with a ceiling of 2.5 times the SMIC or minimum wage. This is important to keep in mind, since, although large companies hire many foreigners and know these procedures perfectly, other medium or smaller companies do not know the procedure in detail, so it is important to be proactive in preparing the dossier.
Presenting your “dossier”
To build your dossier you must present the following documents in your local prefecture:
- Long-stay visa or APS;
- Birth certificate (translated and apostilled)
- If you are married: Carte de séjour or ID of your spouse and marriage certificate (translated and apostilled);
- Birth certificates of your children, if you have any (translated and apostilled);
- Proof of address of less than 3 months;
- 3 Photos;
- Work authorization form (cerfa n ° 15186*02);
- Employment contract / job offer (promesse d’embauche);
- Proof of payment of tax stamp (€ 225).
Once these documents are deposited in the prefecture, the processing time will depend, as always, on the number of applications that the prefecture has received at that time. Usually on the website of each prefecture there is information on the processing time of the applications to get an idea of the progress of your application. The advantage is that with your Carte de séjour – Recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise you can start working in the company that wants to hire you, while your change of status is processed.
Types of Carte de Séjour
The visa or carte de séjour that will be issued will depend on your salary level and your type of contract. The main types of carte de séjour are:
With a monthly salary of at least 1.5 times the gross SMIC and a job related to your studies:
- Carte de séjour temporaire salarié, valid for one year and renewable if you have a CDI;
- Travailleur temporaire, valid for the duration of the contract if you have a CDD;
With a salary of at least € 36,946.00 gross per year:
- Carte de séjour pluriannuelle passeport talent – salarié qualifié
- Carte de séjour pluriannuelle passeport talent – innovative company
The validity is for the duration of the contract, in the case of a CDI it must be renewed every 4 years.
With a salary of at least € 53,836.50 gross per year:
- Carte de séjour pluriannuelle passeport talent – carte bleue européenne
This type of visa is for “highly qualified” employees and its great advantage is that it also allows you to work in other countries of the European Union and not only in France.
Regarding the salary that can be expected after graduation, I will make a full post since it is an extensive topic. If you are already in France and had to go through this process, do not hesitate to share your experience and how easy or difficult it was for you to work in France after graduation. If you are still studying, or plan to come to study in France, do not hesitate to leave your questions in the comments.