Newspaper reports carry messages of high unemployment and poor job growth outlook in these times of financial difficulty in Europe means that finding a job in France as a foreigner might be a challenge.
There are lots of reasons why many people will find the appeal of working in France worth the effort, from the longer holidays to the quality of life. If you’re from the EU and can speak French – you’ll have a head start, from outside the EU there will be more steps to take.
The first starting point is normally the internet or through networking, for instance your country’s embassy may post jobs on their Face Book pages or Twitter – so sign up to them for timely information.
Newspapers will also carry jobs including English language newspapers such as Le Figaro (English version) and The Local both of which can be read online; other good sources include Le Monde and Le Parisien and try local newspapers where jobs will be advertised.
The main employment agency in France is Pôle Emploi.
Speaking French when working in France
It’s essential to speak French. There’s no way round it really. If you’re not able to communicate with co-workers in your host country you’re not going to get very far, so learn as much as you can before you start a job in France and continue to expand on your knowledge of the language when you arrive – even if your job doesn’t involve having to write or speak in French. For details about online courses and French language guides see our French language section.
For English speakers its actually quite a good job market. There are requirement for English language teachers, translators, tourist guides and call centre support workers. Many French companies arrange English language lessons for staff and this can be a good source of employment.
Permits and visas to work in France
EU nationals are generally automatically eligible to work in France, take their family to France and enjoy the same rights as French people under EU regulations.
Non EU nationals, including Britons now that the UK has left the EU, will find it more challenging to work in France. The administration requirements are more onerous and you will have to prove that your employer is employing you for skills he is not able to supply from the EU. Added to this you will need to find a job before you apply for a work permit, but you can’t get a job without a work permit so its not easy. If you do find a job with a company in France they should certainly be encouraged to support you and help you apply for the work permit and a visa to stay – called a visa de long séjour. Once you have this sorted out you can move to France and apply for a residency permit (carte de séjour) which can also take a long time to resolve.
Many non EU nationals visit France to check the job market on a tourist visa. As this is only eligible for a 90 day stay in the country you have to leave and come back so that the rules are complied with. Break them and the chances are you will never be able to get a job in France. If you find a job while you‘re in France on a tourist visa, you’ll need to leave the country, apply for a visa de long séjour and then return.
You can apply for a working holiday visa – this authorises you to work in France for up to one year. But you’ll have to be from a country that has reciprocal arrangements with France such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Grants for the working holiday visa are limited so apply well in advance to give yourself a good chance to be successful in your application.
Clearly, finding a job in France is not always easy. It can be time consuming and frustrating but preparing in advance, doing as much homework as you can and being patient will stand you in good stead and may enable you to find a great job in France with all the benefits that entails.