Work papers France
Finding a job in France most often requires a work permit if you are from an non-EU country. There are several ways to go about this task and none of them are easy or straight forward (rest assured France isn’t picking on you, it is just as difficult for a French person to go to a non-EU country). But here are a few suggestions for the persistent to obtain work papers for France.
Founded in 1896, the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) is the country’s premier organization for promoting trade and investment between the United States and France. In the spirit of reciprocity and international understanding, the FACC training program for Americans in France brings together qualified young Americans aspiring to work in France, and companies interested in hosting them. The FACC has a visa program for 18-35 year olds who are currently in university studies or have just graduated.
“This program has allowed me to follow through with my dreams of living and working in France… The structure of the exchange is so efficient, and the staff could not be more knowledgeable and pleasant.”
– Ashley, Rhodes College graduate Online Marketing Agency
This program has been around since 1992 and remains rather confidential. Perhaps it is because you must find a job first then contact the FACC to begin the visa application process which then takes 6-8 weeks. This might put off quite a number of potential employers who would prefer you have work papers in hand before applying. But don’t give up hope the FACC has posted a list of resources and companies who have employed Americans under this program. This is an excellent opportunity and it though it will take some leg work to make it work you can possibly have a visa to work in France for 3-18 months. They call it a professional training program, but in fact the contract is not a convention de stage, but a regular contrat de durée détérminé which has more benefits attached and means that the pay is at least the equivalent of the SMIC. Another detail is that applications must be done while you are still in the US. The FACC suggests starting the search 6 months in advance.
« The big advantage of the program is that it circumvents the traditional clause of talent VISA’s [see below] which require the company to justify the reason why the job offer being filled cannot be fulfilled by a French (/European) national. » –Liam Boogar, rudebaguette.com
The Ciee is an educational organization that can help with work exchanges. Most positions are at camps and as teachers and are meant for gap years, summers, students or to gain experience. To learn more about how they work see their site. The Ciee is also helpful for those wanting to work in the USA.
Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders …
France currently has working holiday agreements where citizens of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, Uruguay. aged between 18 and 30 years can undertake paid employment for up to one year. http://www.anyworkanywhere.com/whv_fr.html
For those who already have work experience there is the Passeport Talent which allows you to create your own job in France or be a salaried employee under certain conditions. The idea is to attract the « right kind » of foreigners to immigrate to France — creators, innovators, investors and entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. The card is valid for 4 years maximum. France is seeking those who will « make a significant or lasting contribution to France’s economic development or to its intellectual, scientific, cultural, humanitarian or athletic prestige. » Family members (spouse and children under 16) will receive a Passeport talent famille allowing the talented applicant to bring the family along for the ride. The spouse will, amazingly, be able to legally work in France, too.
Those that qualify include university graduates; qualified professionals with a minimum of 3 to 5 years of professional experience in the field in which they apply for the visa; investors in an economic project (minimum investment of 300,000 Euros or proof of capacity to create a minimum of 2 sustainable jobs in France in addition to their own); independent professionals such as artists, authors, athletes, etc.; and senior manager and high level executives employed by a French company that is part of an international group. Read more.
Another possible status is auto-entrepreneur which can be obtained if you already have a long stay visa. There is more information on this status here. This link is in French because if you want to do this you’d better be able to speak some killer French !
Read the stories of some non-French entrepreneurs in France
There is currently a special program to incubate new companies in France that are started by foreigners. The French Tech Visa is a program designed for non-French entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to set-up their start-up in Paris. One of the benefits of the program is a fast-track to a visa. This program is conducted in English and includes mentoring, help in moving to Paris, incubator work space, training and prize money. They have done two editions of this program so keep your ears pricked for a third.
If you’re going to work in France for less than 90 days, you need your employer to get you a temporary work permit approved by the French Ministry of Labor, the DIRECCTE (Direction regionale des enterprises, de la concurrence et de la consummation, du travail et de l’emploi), or a convention d’accueil stamped by the local prefecture if you’re a scientist/researcher. This authorization to work is then sent to the French embassy/consulate in your home country where you can apply for your visa.
Transitions Abroad offers a good list of sources to find summer jobs.
Students and recent graduates at French universities
Students can take on paid work during their course of study in France, up 964 hours in a year. You may need to first get a visa to enter France and enroll at a university. There are different types of visas, depending on the course you’ll be taking. If you have at least a Masters Degree you may be able to stay on for an additional year to work part-time. For more information, see http://www.campusfrance.org
To apply for a long stay au pair visa you need to have a round trip ticket, a contract drawn up with the French family that will employ you, proof of enrollment in a French language school and several other requirements. Most language schools can help you through the paperwork. Check Accord for example or Lalangue.
Here’s the low down on work permits and residency permits from the authorities themselves.