The list of jobs opened to foreigners in France

If your profession is found there, it will be easier for you to find a job. It means that the needs exceed the supply of the French labor market. And on the other hand, when you legally apply for a work permit (if you are outside France, but also if you are inside but without a residence permit), you will have more chances of obtaining one.

There are some professions in France that provide more employment opportunities to foreigners originating outside the EU, the European Economic Area, and the Swiss Confederation. Since 2008, by government decision, these sectors, otherwise known as "under tension", have been summarized in a separate list. It is widely and officially known as the "list of professions open to foreigners" and it summarizes dozens of professions grouped into 30 large families. The list provides a picture, if not whole, somewhat clearer of job openings in France open to foreigners.

Why is it important?

Because, first, you will find it easier to get a job in France. If your profession is on this list, it means that the need to hire exceeds the supply of the French job market. And secondly, when you legally apply for a work permit (if you are outside France, but also if you are inside but without a residence permit), you will be more likely to obtain one. Why? Expat.com1 explains it very well that « “To work in France, a foreigner who is not a national of the European Union or of the European Economic Area must have a work permit. If he does not yet have one, he can apply for one from the French administrations. For this, he must have found an employer with whom he signs a promise of employment. Both he and his employer must adhere to conditions and provide several documents. Among these conditions are "opposability of the employment situation". This means that the employer must prove to the French administrations that he has not found any jobseeker "already present on the French labor market" capable of filling the position, and that only this foreign employee can do so. France is currently experiencing a high unemployment rate; it is often difficult to prove that a single person can hold such and such a job. However, the hiring of a foreign employee for a profession included in this list is not subject to this obligation to respect the opposability of the employment situation. The procedures for applying for a work permit and the file to be put together are therefore easier”

The list helps you to better orient yourself in your employment project, according to the needs of the different regions of France. This way, you will be able to search for work more precisely.

But keep in mind: if you have not found an employer who is ready to sign a job promise, the fact that your profession is on this list does not help you. You need to find someone who is willing to hire you and perform all the necessary procedures. However, the list helps you to better orient yourself with your employment project, towards the right region in France. This way, you will be able to look for work more accurately.

Did you know that?

Aside from its importance in regulating and helping the labor market in France, the list was almost halved just 3 years after it came to life in January 2008. It is about the government decision in August 2011, which reduced the number of families of professions open to foreigners from 30 to 14. The idea, officially expressed by the French interior minister at the time, was to reduce legal professional emigration in France. According to the newspaper Le Monde2, , "In April, the Minister of the Interior, Claude Guéant, expressed the wish to" reduce legal immigration related to work. " The government then wanted to halve the number of work permits granted to foreigners on French territory. To achieve this objective, the interior and labor ministries have just sent the unions a draft decree establishing the new list of jobs "in tension" open to foreigners who are not nationals of the European Union. This new list should therefore be halved compared to that of 2008 ”.

Carpenters, masons, construction workers. The need for the profession of electrician and road driver is almost omnipresent. But there are also job opportunities as surveyors, paramedical professionals, electrical and electronic draftsmen, engineers and telecommunications specialists, various technicians, IT project managers, etc.

En août 2011, cette proposition est devenue une décision gouvernementale. Mais les syndicats, qui au début se méfiaient déjà de la proposition, ont agi très vite. L'un d'entre eux, la CGT (Confédération générale du trav ail) a contesté la décision du gouvernement devant le Conseil d'État, ouvrant un procès. Le Conseil d'État lui a accordé ce droit et, environ un an après, en décembre 2012, a décidé d'annuler la décision du gouvernement. Et, bien sûr, de remettre en vigueur l'arrêt de 2008.  The entirety of this verdict can be found here3, se trouve ici, in French.

What jobs? List by regions of France

Back to the list in question. You can find its recently updated version here4. For more precise and detailed data, use the code for each occupational family, located in the last column of the table, on the right.

As you can see in general, professions under pressure are usually those that require real manual labor. Carpenters, masons, construction workers or construction foremen, farm or livestock workers, locksmiths, mechanics, service workers. The need for the profession of electrician and road driver is almost omnipresent. But in certain regions of France, there are also job opportunities as surveyors, paramedical professionals, electrical and electronic draftsmen, engineer and telecommunications specialists, various technicians, IT project managers, etc.

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1 (2011). Listes des métiers ouverts aux étrangers. Quel impact sur les possibilités de travail en France ?–quel-impact-sur-les-possibilites-de-travail-en-france-.html

2. Le Monde (2011). La liste des métiers ouverts aux étrangers réduite de moitié.

3 Légifrance (2021). Conseil d’État, 2ème et 7ème sous-sections réunies, 26/12/2012, 353288, Inédit au recueil Lebon.

4 Légifrance (2021). Arrêté du 1er avril 2021 relatif à la délivrance, sans opposition de la situation de l’emploi, des autorisations de travail aux étrangers non ressortissants d’un Etat membre de l’Union européenne, d’un autre Etat partie à l’Espace économique européen ou de la Confédération suisse

This article is produced as part of the “Migration, Youth and Internet” project. It is written by Elda Spaho Bleta, volunteer of the local group Oxfam in Nancy, who paid close attention to the information given. The sources of the information are cited, and when personal advice is given, it is the sole responsibility of the editor. If, despite her attention, an error had slipped into the document, please report it to her by writing to [email protected]. This article is published with the funds of the French Development Agency, Grand Est Solidarités et Coopérations pour le Développement (GESCOD), and with the support of Oxfam France. The content of the articles does not engage the structures previously named.

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