France is a member of the European Union, and is part of the EU's Schengen Area, which grants free movement throughout most of continental Europe.
The French authorities have traditionally put many bureaucratic obstacles in the way of companies wishing to recruit foreign workers. However, in recent years their attitude has changed which has affected the performance of many French companies.
French citizenship or residence
A French permanent residence permit allows you to stay in France for 10 years and, as it’s renewable, theoretically you could keep living in France indefinitely with this status. When it comes to residency, you have almost the same rights as a citizenship with the difference that you cannot vote. If you want to live in France for long term or even permanently, you may be eligible to apply for a French permanent residence or for French citizenship after five years of living in there, although this time is reduced in certain cases such as marriage or being the parent of a French citizen.
Visas in France are valid for different purposes: a holiday, an employment, and studies or if you are coming to join a relative, then you can get family life visa. You will need to apply for a French Schengen visa unless you are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland and some other countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America.
Schengen visas allow you to enter France for up to three months (90 days) within a six-month period. If you come to France on a Schengen visa then you can’t renew this type of visa from within the Schengen area and supposedly you cannot look for work or take up a work contract.
In order to work in France first you need to find a job. Getting a job proposal before going to France will save you tons of time. There is a number of different types of French work permits depending on your employment situation in France. The French work permit is closely linked to your residency status in France, and in most cases, a job will need to be arranged before you can apply for a permit to move to France.
Seasonal workers permit
If you’re working in France for less than 90 days, you need your employer to get you a temporary work permit approved by the French Ministry of Labor.
You’ll need a short-stay work visa to work in France for less than 90 days unless you’re from the EU/EEA/ Switzerland. If you’re from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Seychelles, Singapore, S. Korea, US or Venezuela, then you don’t need a visa to enter France but you will need to make sure that your employer has organized a valid work permit.
Studying in France
Nationals from the EU/EEA and Switzerland don’t need a visa to come and study in French higher education and can apply directly to educational institutions. If you are entering the first year of higher education, like French students, you will need to follow the online post-baccalaureat admission. If you’re from elsewhere, you will need to apply for a French student visa at the French embassy or consulate in the country in which you’re living.
Students can take on part-time paid work during their course (a maximum of 964 hours a year). You must be registered as a student with a university in your home country and the internship must be related to your studies. While most internships are unpaid, you are allowed to receive a small allowance from the employer. You need to have an internship contract signed by you, your employer in France and your school or college in your home country, as well as proof of financial security (approximately EUR 615 per month), flight reservations and proof of accommodation.
Over the past decade, new procedures have been implemented, including the establishment of several new work permit categories. However, despite these significant improvements, France remains one of the most heavily 'protected' labor markets in Europe. If you are looking for a job in France and need professional assistance look here.