How to work in France?

French Labor Laws for Foreigners

French labor laws are particularly protective of the worker and strictly regulate working conditions. They apply uniformly to both nationals and foreigners on most key issues such as compensation, the employment contract, the trial period, paid vacation, training and dismissal.

Compensation. The pay for work is the same for a French national and a foreigner. Minimum wage (known as the SMIC in France) is also applied to foreigners at the same value of 8.71 euros gross per hour.

Work contract. There are two principle types of contracts in France that are the same for both French nationals and foreigners. With a fixed-term contact (CDD), an employee may not resign prior to the end of the contract. A permanent contract (CDI) allows for a resignation after notice is given one to three months in advance.

Trial period. During this period, for which the term is set in your contract (1 day per week of work for a CDD and renewable for three months for a CDI), an employee may be dismissed or resign without notice or justification.

Paid vacation. In France, the worker is entitled to 24 days of paid leave. For foreigners coming from afar, they may have the possibility to take their 5 weeks of vacation consecutively to return to their country of origin.

Vocational training. Accessible to both French nationals and foreigners, according to the opportunities offered by the company.

Dismissal. For French citizens and foreigner workers alike, an employee working under a CDD contract can only be laid-off in cases of serious misconduct or force majeure; however, it can be justified for economic or personal reasons as part of a CDI, with prior notice and indemnity given.

Major Differences. The RMI (a French form of social welfare known as, “revenu minimum d’insertion”) is reserved for holders of a residency card or temporary residence working permit who paid taxes in France for at least 5 years. In addition, workers with only a temporary residence "student" permit are not eligible for Social Security or unemployment benefits. Finally, careers in civil service are reserved for French nationals (police, judiciary, etc.). Some occupations require specific authorizations or national diplomas (doctors, architects, lawyers, etc.).

Where to find a job?

When you’re a student


For students studying in France, your student visa gives you the right to work for a certain number of hours.

Seasonal work. This fixed-term employment meets the requirements of the season: beach tourism in summer, skiing in winter, harvest in late summer, etc.

Hotels and restaurants. Receptionist, night porter, concierge, valet, waiter, bartender—there are many businesses in the hospitality industry and food that are compatible with studies.

Au pair (nanny). Being a student au pair with a French family is ideal financially and culturally, but this is highly regulated. You must be between 18 and 30, take at least 10 hours of specialized French courses for foreigners per week and go through a specialized agency before by agreeing on the contract with the host family. This contract has a duration of between 3 months and 1 year, renewable for a maximum period of 18 months.

For American students not studying in a French university, you may not work in France without a work visa. However, there are a couple of opportunities that you can explore. First, you have the possibility to work as an au pair, provided that you secure the job and enter the European territory with a long-term visa.

Alternatively, there are seasonal activities such as short-term language camps that you can apply for which enable non- Schengen students to legally work during their 90-day tourist visa. For example, American Village recruits American counselors for short-stay summer camps across France.

When you are in the workforce


France is the fifth largest economy in the world and has a dynamic and innovative economy in the heart of the European market. With an unemployment rate below 10% and an employment rate close to the European average, the French market offers unique and sure employment opportunities to foreign workers. Of particular interest, France guarantees generous working conditions to anyone working on its territory, national and foreign.

To find work in France, there are many unemployment agencies which effectively put job seekers in contact with their future employer, providing advice and assistance in the process.

Official websites.


Pôle emploi. The most complete public website for job searches. www.pole-emploi.fr

The Ministry of Employment. The ministry’s website provides everything you need to know about employment law, access to employment and vocational training in France. www.travail-emploi-sante.gouv.fr

APEC (Association for Employment of Executives). Tips, guide and tens of thousands of jobs online. www.apec.fr

Centre INFFO. Under the Ministry of Employment, this site aims to inform in a clear and comprehensive manner on vocational training in France. www.centre-inffo.fr

Search Engines.


Many search engines update job vacancies available daily to Internet users. The following list is not exhaustive.

Keljob. 50 000 jobs and internships in all sectors. www.keljob.com

Cadremploi. 15 000 jobs and executive recruitment firms 1000. www.cadremploi.fr

Actionemploi. Job offers, internships, training, CVs, information, advice. www.action-emploi.net

Emploi.org. Portal which lists and comments on other sites that specialize in job search. www.emploi.org
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To facilitate labor migration in selected professions, the Ministry of the Interior has made available to foreigners wishing to work in France, the following opportunities:
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www.immigration.gouv.fr
www.travail-emploi-sante.gouv.fr

Other Resources for Americans.


American Chamber of Commerce in France. Although the Chamber of Comerce does not handle inquiries on employment opportunities, a
detailed list, "American Firms in France", is available for purchase. E-mail: amchamfrance@amchamfrance.org


European American Chamber of Commerce

Dernière modification : 08/07/2016

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