If you want to work in France you need a heavy dose of patience and persistence because it is one of the most ’protected’ labor markets in Europe and while there are jobs to be found getting one depends on several factors. The good news is that once you have succeeded in securing work it will be worth your time and effort as worker security is one of the best in the world. Although there have seen some significant changes from the benefits of previous generations now in retirement, if you have a long-term contract, you are almost certain to have stable work.
You can download a PDF file of the current guidelines concerning the French work permit application. It is processed at the local Direction Departmentale du Travail, de L’Emploi et de la Formation Professionale (DDTEFP) office. Be kind and courteous with the DDTEFP personnel because the law of issuing a "full French work permit" is applied with a large degree of discretion by the DDTEFP. They have considerable decision-making power when determining whether or not you are granted a work permit, as well as what type of work permit. Your work permit is restricted to the profession and geographical area requested.
If you are a citizen of European Union (EU) countries, European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Switzerland, Monaco or Andorra do not need a permit to work in France. Nationals of all other countries must obtain a work permit (autoriation de travail) before arriving in France.
France currently has working holiday agreements whereby Canadian, Australian and New Zealander citizens aged between 18 and 30 years can undertake paid employment for up to one year.
For your work permit to be approved, your prospective employer will have to justify to French authorities why you are a better candidate for the job than an EU, EEA, Monacan or Andorran national. Your prospective employer will need to submit a signed copy of your work contract to the DDTEFP for approval
There are three main things that are considered, in order of importance, that can make a difference in determining whether or not one is attributed a work permit:
The statute of "cadre" and a Contrat Durée Indeterminé (CDI) (i.e, full-time employment contract)
Once your contract has been approved, it will be sent to the Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration. It welcomes and supports aliens who move to France, and it helps French nationals and workers when moving outside France. The OFI will pass on your information to the appropriate French Consulate in your country so you can begin processing your visa.
For more information:
The Grown-Up’s Guide to Living in France by Rosanne Knorr
Living and Working in France, Ninth Edition: A Survival Handbook by David Hampshire
Living, Studying, and Working in France: Everything You Need To Know To Fulfill Your Dreams of Living Abroad by Saskia Reilly
Online job listings: France Xpat Jobs