Working in France?
Expat Work Permits for France
The “Skills and Talents” Work Permit
The “Skills and Talents” Card ("carte compétences et talents") is intended for non-EU nationals who would like to carry out a specific project. Their aim should be to further the economic development of France and/or their country of origin. It is valid for an initial period of three years, and accompanying family members automatically receive a “private and family life” permit allowing them to reside and work in France.
The applicant needs to submit a visa application together with a briefing paper presenting the project to the French Consulate in his/her country, or to the nearest Préfecture if he/she is already in France at the time of application.
Temporary Work and Residence Permits
This category comprises two groups: the “salaried” temporary residence permit is for foreign employees coming to France on an employment contract lasting one year or longer. The “temporary worker” residence permit is for those whose contract lasts less than a year.
In both cases, the prospective French employer is responsible for carrying out the formalities. They have to contact the French authorities and prove that they have tried and failed to recruit a French candidate for the job. Moreover, they have to show that working conditions, salaries, company accommodation, etc. are equal to those of local employees.
Every administrative region in France has its own liste de 30 métiers, i.e. 30 occupations which are open to foreign (third-country) nationals, provided they have the relevant qualifications and experience to carry out the job in question. For instance, in the Île-de-France around Paris, this list includes architectural draftsmen, or specialists for audits and financial controlling. In Rhône-Alpes, though, you might also succeed as a construction supervisor or IT specialist.
The “Employee on Assignment” Work Permit
The “employee on assignment” permit is the traditional work permit for expats, targeting managers, well-paid professionals, and skilled workers or employees.
Your employer can apply on your behalf if you have been with the company for at least three months and if your gross monthly salary is at least 1.5 times the minimum wage in France (i.e. around 2,150 EUR per month).
The permit allows you to work for one of the company’s branches in France or another company within the same group for an initial period of three years. Furthermore, your family will be allowed to join you on a “private and family life” permit.
For highly qualified candidates from EU member states, there is now the European Blue Card. Long-term employees earning at least 51,443 EUR per year or more can apply for this special permit and immediately bring along their family.
The Permit for “Seasonal Workers” and Academics
The “seasonal worker” permit is valid for three years, but it only allows the holder to work for a minimum of three and a maximum of six months over a period of 12 consecutive months. The main residence must remain outside France at all times, and family members are not allowed to join. Again, the recruiting party is responsible for all the paperwork.
The “scientific” permit is for academics with a Master´s degree wishing to participate in research or teaching activities in France. In order to apply, you need to have a convention d’accueil (hosting agreement) from an accredited French research institute or an educational institution endorsed by the French Consulate in your country of origin.
The academic residents aren’t allowed to take up paid employment outside their research or teaching assignment. However, their family members are allowed to join them in France.
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