- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals France Guide (PDF)
As with most countries, there are certain requirements expats must meet before they can work in France. These may vary depending on the expat's country of origin. Citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland don’t require work permits to find employment in France.
Non-EEA nationals must usually go through a complicated application process for the right to employment in France. There's also a limitation on the number of job categories open to non-European foreigners. As such, work permits in France are notoriously difficult for expats to get.
Eligibility for a work permit in France is related to employment status, and it's usually necessary for expats to find employment before relocating. Expats may need to rely on their prospective employer to obtain the permit on their behalf.
Expats looking for employment in France may also need to prove that their skills are unique and can't be found among EEA nationals, which can be a troublesome task. Patience is a valuable asset, as expats in France are bound to experience the country’s infamous bureaucratic process first-hand.
Applying for a work permit for France
Expats planning to work in France for longer than three months are required to have a long-stay visa, which can only be applied for after their prospective work contract is sent to the French Ministry of Labour for approval. Once the contract has been reviewed and approved an appointment can be made to apply for the visa. Expats arriving in France on a long-stay work visa are required to register with the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration (French Office of Immigration and Integration).
Work visas for France vary in their length of validity, requirements and number of entries. They generally also depend on the type of worker and their field. Common work permits for expats moving to France include the Skills and Talents Permit, as well as the Employees on Assignment Permit.
*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
"Although I was born in Canada, both my parents immigrated from Portugal. So, I was eligible for citizenship through my local embassy. It’s worth looking into, even if just your grandparents were born in a European country because you may be eligible for citizenship. Thanks to the European Union, once you have citizenship with one European nation you are permitted to work and live in any EU state with relative ease."
Read more about Canadian expat Dorian's experiences in France in their interview with Expat Arrivals.
Are you an expat living in France?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to France. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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