Working in France while a student

International students have the right to work in France if they have a residency permit and are enrolled in an institution that participates in the student health plan of the French social protection system (Sécurité Sociale). Even first-time visitors to France and students enrolled in the first year of postsecondary education enjoy the right to work.

The work week in France (annually averaged) is 35 hours. French law allows international students to work no more than 884 hours in a given year. That translates to half-time employment (19.5 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time during vacations.

CampusFrance, along with French educators and policymakers, does not believe that full-time work is consistent with student status.

Supplementing your income by working while studying is a common practice. You won't be able to meet all of your expenses by working half-time, but you should be able to earn extra spending money.

The minimum hourly wage in France (known as the SMIC, for salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) is 7,61 Euros gross, that is, before withholding of mandatory social-benefit taxes, which come to approximately 20 percent of the gross payment.

Working in France after your studies

At the end of your course a firm can recruit you even if you aren't a national of the European Community.

You must request a change of status (from being a student you become a salaried employee) and in order to do so, you have to follow a specific procedure.

According to your place of residence, you will obtain the necessary information concerning how to put together your application from the town hall, main police station, sub-prefecture or prefecture.

You must present, among other documents, a work contract or an offer of employment from a French company.

To assess your application the administrative services will take into consideration a certain number of criteria, such as the company's motivation, your profile or the length of your studies.

When your application is accepted you will be issued with a temporary residence permit for workers.

Finding a job

Many international students work at the following jobs:

-teaching a language
-babysitting
-testing software and video games
-translating
-telemarketing and survey research
-waiting tables, washing dishes, and cooking, particularly in fast-food restaurants.

The CROUS (regional student-service center) in your region publicizes student jobs (more). For advice, postings, and addresses that may be useful in your search, check Phosphore Web site.

Be sure to get a written employment agreement or offer of employment...
An employment agreement protects you in case of conflict with your employer. You will need a written offer of employment when you apply for temporary employment authorization, which you must do before working with a student visa.

Apply for temporary employment authorization
The French labor law provides as follow: "As a condition of employment, individuals who are not French citizens must hold a valid work permit." Students wishing to work for pay must obtain a temporary employment authorization. (Students from the European Economic Zone, Algeria, and Togo are exempt from this requirement.)

In the first year of study students may obtain temporary employment authorization for a maximum of 9 months. The authorization is renewable as long as you are enrolled in an institution of higher education that participates in the national student health plan. (Participating institutions include all universities, most schools of engineering and business, some schools of French as a foreign language (such as the Alliance Française of Paris for programs of 3 months or more), and the Institut Catholique de Paris (for programs involving at least 12 hours of coursework per week).

Filing your request for temporary employment authorization

There are no forms to fill out. Just submit the items listed above to your local labor and employment office (Direction Départementale du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle, or DDTEFP). Applicants must appear in person. Mailed applications are not accepted. You can get the address of your local DDTEFP office at your town hall (Mairie) or from the Web site of the Ministry of Employment (French only).
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