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General presentation
Practical information
Practical Advice
Entering and remaining in France
Regional employment markets

Employment services
Accessing job offers
Applyi ng for a job

Work contract and conditions
Social protection
Unemployment benefits
E forms

The French education system (secondary / third level)
Recognition of diplomas



Working in France / Contents


The free movement of European nationals within European Union member states constitutes one of
the basic tenets of the Single European Market, as per the Treaty of Rome (1957).

This liberty cannot be exercised unless appropriate tools exist.

The European Commission and the employment services of the member states took the initiative to
create the EURES network, in order to facilitate movement of EU nationals within the European
Economic Area.

The efficacy of the EURES network draws on the professionalism of its advisers (currently about
600 in Europe) as well as the richness and variety of available information.

These advisers, working for employment public services and social partners, are experts on
employment within the EEA.

Since the decision to leave one's country and family environment in order to work abroad should not
be taken lightly, it is necessary to have reliable information to make sure the move takes place as
smoothly as possible.
General Presentation
Surface area: 551,000 km2
Population: 60,185,831 of which 58,518,395 live in urban areas (7.4% foreigners).
(Source: INSEE statistics 1999).

Twenty-two mainland regions, 96 mainland départements, 4 overseas départements/regions (Guadeloupe,

French Guyana, Martinique, Reunion)

Population of the main cities per region (figures rounded off) (source: INSEE statistics 1999).

Strasburg: 268,000 Limoges: 138,000
Bordeaux: 219,000 Metz: 128,000
Clermont-Ferrand: 141,000 Fort-de-France : 94,000
Dijon: 154,000 Toulouse: 399,000
Rennes: 213,000 Lille: 192,000
Tours: 137,000 Caen: 118,000
Orléans: 117,000
Rheims: 191,000 Rouen: 109,000


Ajaccio: 55,000 Nantes: 278,000
Besançon: 123,000 Amiens: 140,000
Pointe-à-Pitre: 20,000 Poitiers: 87,000
Cayenne: 50,000 Marseille: 808,000
Nice: 346,000
Paris: 2,148,000 Lyons: 454,000 Saint- Etienne: 184,000
Grenoble: 157,000
Montpellier: 230,000 Saint-Denis: 131,000
Perpignan: 108,000
France is the fifth OECD economic power (source: GDP 2002 data extracted from Main OECD economic
indicators, June 2003) and the leading EU agricultural country in terms of surface area dedicated to
agricultural use (source Eurostat: structure of EU agricultural holdings, June 2003).
Unemployment rate: 9.6% in February 2004 (source: French Ministry for Labour).
Currency: euro.


France is a parliamentary republic. Power is exercised by the President of the Repub lic, the Government
and Regional Departments.

The President of the Republic is elected by all French citizens by universal suffrage for a period of 5
years, renewable by universal suffrage.

The government acts under the authority of the Prime Minister, appointed by the President of the
Republic. The prime minister is responsible for defining and implementing the country’s policy.

The Parliament is the instrument of legislative power and consists of 2 assemblies: the national assembly
and the Senate.

Local Powers

Each region is administered by a regional prefect who represents the State authority, and by a regional
Council, elected by universal suffrage, and whose President has executive powers.

Each département is administered by a départmental prefect who represents the State authority, and by a
General Council, elected by universal suffrage, whose President has executive powers.

Each municipality is administered by a Town Mayor, as well as his/her assistants and the municipal
Council, all of whom are elected by universal suffrage.

Children are considered minors up to the age of 18, at which point the right to vote is granted.
School is compulsory to the age of 16.
You must be over 18 to apply for a driver’s licence (car, HGW, motorbike).
Speed limits: 50 km/h in built- up areas, 90 km/h on national roads and 130 km/h on motorways
(110 km/h if raining).
The maximum acceptable level of alcohol in the blood for driving is 0.50 grams per litre of
blood. Safety belts are mandatory for the driver as well as all passengers, seated both in front and
behind. Helmets must be worn both on motor bikes and mopeds.

Banks are generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday (closed from noon to 2 p.m. in
some places). Some banks are open Saturdays.
Credit cards are used extensively in France. Some of the most typical uses include: paying for
purchases, withdrawing money from ATMs, public phone booths, motorway tolls. French credit
cards have an electronic chip and are protected by a confidential code.
Generally speaking, shops are open Monday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to
7 p.m. In large cities, shops do not close at lunchtime. Supermarkets often remain open to 8 p.m.
(10 p.m. in large cities). Some local convenience stores and tourist shops remain open on

France has a good rail and road transport system.
Tickets must be stamped in the train station before getting on the train. Generally speaking, you
must reserve tickets for TGV1 inter-city trains. A number of reduced-price tickets option exist
(for more information, ask in the train station or refer to the SNCF web site: www.voyages-
Public transport is well developed in urban centres. All the main urban areas have a subway or a
tramway in addition to buses and local trains. A number of tariff categories exist, including
weekly or monthly tickets (referred to in Paris as the "carte orange").
Most motorways have toll booths.

To call a number in France from outside France: + 33 (0)x xx xx xx xx
To call a number outside France from France: 00 + country code + number
The France Telecom telephone books are available on the Internet: www.pagesblanches.fr
(residential listings) and www.pagesjaunes.fr (business listings)
Emergency and Information numbers (toll- free):
12 - Directory inquiries
13 - Phone line problems
14 - France Telecom agency (toll- free)
15 - SAMU (emergency mobile medical unit)
17 - Police
18 - Fire brigade
112 - Emergency call from a mobile phone

TGV : Train à Grande Vitesse = high-speed train
Working in France/Practical Information / 1
There are many public phone booths, most of which use telephone cards (available from post
offices, tobacconists, newspaper shops) or credit cards.

The legislation applicable to bringing in domestic pets to France is available from airline
companies and travel agents, as well as on the French Customs web site: www.douane.gouv.fr. A
number of requirements must be fulfilled (mandatory vaccinations, in particular anti-rabies shots,
quarantine in some cases, etc.).
Dogs and cats must be tattooed or identified by an electronic chip. Dogs must be walked on a
lead and some races must be muzzled. Pit bulls and other dogs considered dangerous are
forbidden in some municipalities.

The electricity voltage in France is 220 volts. Electricity sockets respect European standards.
Some devices must be earthed (washing machines, dishwashers, cookers, ovens, etc.). You
should contact the local EDF (“French electricity board”) agency a few days before your planned
move to make sure the electricity is on.
Internet site: http://particuliers.edf.fr
The television standard in France is SECAM and not PAL.

If you need to get a water counter installed/re-started, you should go to the Water Service of your
local municipality.

As might be expected, property prices vary depending on location. Prices are higher in Paris and
other major cities. To rent an apartment you can go through an agency (fee charged) or a
property-ownership group, or you can go look through announcements in newspapers and in a
number of free and paying weekly magazines. You can also rent or purchase directly from
owners (the “Particulier à Particulier” magazine specialises in this). Properties for rent are also
listed on various Internet sites.
For example:
www.pap.fr (web site of “Particulier à Particulier”)
Some town halls have a service to help people look for accommodation.
Documents involved with renting accommodation:
Rental contracts (“contrat de location” or “bail”) are generally signed for a period of 3 years,
renewed by tacit agreement. However rental contracts can be terminated before term under
certain conditions (personal or professional reasons). An outgoing tenant must give 3 months’
‘notice, reduced to 1 month in the case of transfer for work reasons or due to suspension of
activity. This notice must be sent to the owner by registered letter.
A deposit (“dépôt de garantie”) equal to 2 months’ rent is often required. Agency fees are
generally about 1 month’s rent.
Rent is due at the beginning of the month. Considering all of the above, this means that when
you first move into your rented accommodation, you have to pay between 3 and 4 months’ rent
(rent for the first mont h + deposit + agency fees).
In addition, some owners and agents require a guarantor ("caution"), i.e. a third party who
commits to paying the tenant’s rent if she/he fails to do so. As a rule of thumb, the rent should
not exceed 30% of the tenant’s net monthly salary (the last 3 pay slips are required as proof of

Working in France/Practical Information / 2

An inventory and statement of state of repair (“état des lieux ”) will be prepared with the owner
or its representative both on transfer of the keys from the owner to the tenant (i.e. arrival) and on
return of the keys from the tenant to the owner (i.e. departure). On the outgoing inspection, if it
transpires that the apartment has suffered excessive wear and tear, the owner may keep all or part
of the deposit. This inventory and state of repair is signed and dated in 2 identical original copies
by the owner (or representative) and the tenant.
Tenants must take out comprehensive household insurance (“assurance multirisques habitation")
before signing the lease. A copy of the insurance certificate must be given to the owner.

Working in France/Practical Information / 3



Before leaving for France, we recommend calling around to your nearest EURES adviser to find
out as much as you can about the region/city of your destination (practical information, useful
addresses, etc.) as well as any other information of relevance to entering, remaining, living and
working in France. For a complete list of EURES adviser addresses, please refer to:

We also recommend testing your level of French, and if necessary, taking refresher classes.

Don't forget the following elements:

- personal identification documents (passport, identity card, driver's licence) making sure that
any children travelling with you are also listed,
- civil status documents (official family record book, birth certificate,),
- The E forms (E 111, E 119, E 301, E 303, E 101, E 104, etc.) you will require, depending on
your situation,
- car papers (certificate of car ownership, valid insurance certificate) if you intend to use your
car in France,
- diplomas and work certificates (+ photocopies),
- copies of your CV translated into French.

Precautionary measures:
- bring along enough cash for initial expenses (accommodation, everyday expenses, etc.)
bearing in mind that you may need additional funds if you intend to rent an apartment,
- take out a repatriation insurance to ensure sufficient protection in case of accident or serious
- if you are going to bring a pet, make sure it is compliant with French legislation:
vaccinations, identification (tattoo or electronic chip), etc.

- your bank,
- your tax office.


If you are looking for a job, or if you wish to have your employment-benefits rights transferred,
you should register with the ASSEDIC within 7 clear days counting from the date on the E303
form issued by the organisation of relevance in your country (for more information, see
"Unemployment Benefits").
You must be able to prove that you have an address in France before you can register with the

We also recommend registering with the consulate or embassy of your country.

Open a bank account; give your French bank account details and your new address to French and
foreign organisations with whom you will be remaining in contact (banks, Social Security, etc.).

Working in France / Practical advice / 1

If you brought your car with you, get French registration plates and take it in for a car test. This
is referred to as the “contrôle technique des Mines”. The address of the car testing centre to
which you must go is available from your local Prefecture.

If you do not have a driving licence from an EU country and you intend to stay in France for
longer than 1 year, remember to replace your national driving licence with a French driving


Get your E forms ((E 301, E 104, etc.: see "E forms") filled in by the requisite organisation.
These E forms will be used to establish your rights on returning to your country of departure, or,
alternatively, to initiate new rights. Some of these forms give details on how long you worked in
France and on your Social Security contributions, and will be required to calculate your
entitlements on returning to your country of departure.

Keep all documentation substantiating your employment and salary in France, as well as any
documentation sub stantiating payment to retirement schemes.

If you have transferred your unemployment rights to look for work in France, ask your local
ASSEDIC for the E303 form. This will be used to determine your entitlements when you return
to your country of departure. This is an important point since, if you remain in France for more
than 3 months without finding a job, you will lose the benefit of any remaining rights (for more
information, please refer to "Unemployment Benefits").

If you intend to leave France permanently and in case you had applied for one, you should return
your residency permit to the French authorities (Prefecture or local police station).
You should also contact your local Tax Office to sort out your tax affairs.

Working in France / Practical advice / 2


France in a nutshell:
Ÿ growing internationalisation (high- technology, aeronautics)
Ÿ permanent reactivity of large and small-to- midsize enterprises (SMEs) very well represented
in the French market with sub stantial market shares in certain sectors (automobile,
electronics, food processing)
Ÿ highly diversified regions, where the economy reflects multi- facetted geographical aspects, a
past which remains present, and a style of life specific to this country.

Alsace (main city: Strasbourg - population 267,000)

Although small in size, Alsace is one of the most prosperous regions in the European Union (GDP
per head of population). Its highly favourable geographical position is a distinct asset (fifth most
important export region in France).
With over 1000 foreign subsidiaries, Alsace attracts significant foreign investment. Germany is the
main trading partner, followed by the United States, Switzerland, Japan, the United Kingdom and
the Scandinavian countries. It has a healthy industrial fabric combining both international
companies as well as numerous SMEs.
The major sectors are automobile, intermediate goods, mechanical equipment, and food processing.
Services are also well represented (banks) with particular focus on scientific activities
(biotechnology). Tourism has also grown strongly in recent years.

Aquitaine (main city: Bordeaux - population 218,000)

A region of average population density whose main activity is agriculture and viniculture,
representing 35% of exports. The leading position is held by wine. Even though wine is the most
important single activity, aeronautics, parachemistry, pharmaceuticals, high-technology, paper,
carton products and wood also play an important role in this region’s economic life.
Tourism has also attracted foreign investment and is currently evolving from being a family activity
into a large-scale commercial activity.
The main trading partner is the United States, followed by Spain (privileged partner), Germany,
United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Auvergne (main city: Clermont-Ferrand - population 141,000)

Auvergne focuses its energies on industrial activities: mechanical engineering, rubber, chemicals,
and pharmaceuticals. Foreign sales account for 50% of Michelin’s turno ver. Food processing is also
well represented (cheese, meat and mineral waters) as is tourism (hydrotherapy industry).
The main trading partner is Germany, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

Burgundy (main city: Dijon - population 153,000)

In spite of declining agriculture, viniculture remains synonymous with this region.
Services are also well represented accounting for over 70% of total trade activity (trade contract
services to companies).
Industrial activities also account for much employment: metal processing, electronic construction,
chemicals (rubber, plastics, perfumes and agri- food industries).
The main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, followed by the former East
block countries.

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Brittany (main city: Rennes - population 212,000)
Agri- food industries account for the lion's share of economic activity. However, exports have been
in continual decline over recent years: poultry (chicken sector currently undergoing crisis), meat
products and dairy products.
The telecommunications sector is also currently undergoing a difficult period.
On a more positive note, the following sectors have developed: automobile part manufacturing,
electronics, marine aquaculture, and research. Summer tourism is also growing steadily.
The main trading partners are: the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, Spain, Italy, Asia,
Oceania, Africa, and North America.

Centre (main city: Tours - population 137,000)

Although the Centre region is best known for its agricultural traditions (main cereal grower in
France), it also boasts a well-developed industrial fabric with a wide range of activities and a dense
network of SMEs and subcontractors.
The following activities are well represented: consumer products (pharmaceuticals, perfumes,
maintenance products), equipment items, intermediate goods, automobile, and food processing.
The services industry is underdeveloped, attributable to the closeness of Paris.
The main trading partners are Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, and Belgium, well ahead of the
United States and Canada.

Champagne-Ardennes (main city: Rheims - population 191,000)

The pride of this region is its agricultural/viticulture activity, with its world-renowned Champagne
the jewel in the crown.
However, industry is also well represented: industrial goods, consumer goods (pharmaceuticals:
ZANECA) and automobile equipment suppliers.
The main customers/suppliers are: United Kingdom, followed by Germany, Italy and Spain ahead
of the United States. Trade exchanges with the former East block countries are also growing.

Corsica (main city: Ajaccio - population 55,000)

Corsica is marked by the predominance of the services sector, in particular Summer tourism.
The industrial fabric is very poor, concentrated in the agriculture/agri- food industry sector as well
as intermediate goods (high- tech electronic and electric components used by the Airbus
manufacturer; manufactured by Corsican firms Composite and Cerme).
There are few export activities.
The main trading partners are:
- Italy, which represents about 80% of the market (import - export); aquaculture plays a significant
role accounting for 60% of total export production, with wood (in particular cork) and food
products (mineral waters, wines, biscuits) also present.
- United States fo r food/drink products (in particular wine) and handcrafts (cutlery, pottery).
- Morocco and Tunisia (mineral waters),
- United Kingdom and Germany (biscuits).
There is also a lively "local export" activity, i.e., tax-free exports for non-EU tourists.

Franche-Comté (main city: Besançon - population 120,000)

Franche-Compté is the leading industrial region in France.
It also has the second-highest afforestation rate in France (43% of total territory).
6 jobs out of 10 are in the services sector.
Industrial activity is dominated by the automobile sector (25% of industrial employment)
Lively rate of company creation (especially in the services sector)
One of the smallest regions in France, but the main industrial region.

Live and work in France / Regional labour markets / 2

The region has a vibrant fabric of SMEs with the automobile industry playing an important role in
attracting newcomers.
The main sectors are: automobile, intermediate goods, professional equipment items, chemicals,
and plastics.
We also note the gradual recovery of traditional sectors such as watch- making, microelectronics,
optical products and toys.
The main trading partners are: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, followed by Asia (China) and

Paris + region (main city: Paris - population 2,150,000)

Paris and the surrounding region is in a category of its own as regards the French work market. As
might be expected, it is the leading export region and is, in fact, the third most significant economic
region in the world (after New York and Tokyo).
With 11 million, the total region accounts for 20% of France's total population. It represents 28% of
France's GDP and 5% of Europe’s GDP.
Even though the industrial sector is significant with almost 700,000 employees (food processing,
aeronautics, automobile, electronics, chemicals, metallurgy and civil engineering), the Paris region
is characterised by the intensity of its services sector, which accounts for 3,825,000 job positions
(i.e., almost 80% of total employment for the region).
Property, finance (third most important European stock- market after London and Frankfurt) and
services to companies (880,000 employees) are very well represented.
International research is also well represented and accounts for 45% of total employment positions
in this sector. In fact, the general Paris region is rich in "grey matter" accounting for 40% of
executive managers and 30% of university personnel.
The main trading partners are EU Countries, followed by the United States, Canada and Asia (Japan
and China).

Languedoc-Roussillon (main city: Montpellier - population 229,000)

The main industry in this region is food processing (wine, mineral waters).
Electronics is currently undergoing a recession.
The considerable demographic surge has resulted in the development of tourism, NICT (new
information and communication technologies) and services (retailers and services account for 75%
of total gross domestic product). Research is also well represented.
The main trading partners are: Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany followed by the United

Limousin (main city: Limoges - population 137,000)

Even though Limousin remains a predominantly rural area, there are a number of industrial
activities. The region is dominated by the agri- food industry (in particular meat-processing with
companies such as Madrange and Charal), which has grown on the strength of a lively animal-
breeding tradition.
Ceramics has also been traditionally well represented in this region with Limousin porcelain
enjoying a worldwide reputation and showing increasing innovation. Other industries present
include electric and electronic components thanks to Legrand, world leader in low-voltage electrical
products and main exporter of the region.
Handcrafts account for almost 50% of the region's enterprises.
The services sector is less well-developed than in other regions, even though the rural tourism
sector remains lively.
The main trading partners are: Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. Trade exchanges
with the United States have dropped since 2001.

Live and work in France / Regional labour markets / 3

Lorraine (main city: Metz - population 127,000)
The crisis of this region’s traditional extraction companies (mining and metallurgical) resulted in
the gradual replacement of these heavy industries by a dense and varied SME network.
The bulk of industrial activities are accounted for by the automobile (equipment manufacturer),
mechanical and electronic equipment sectors, but other activities are also present: chemicals,
energy, carton paper and agri- food industries.
Its strategic location in the heart of Europe has already persuaded leading foreign companies to set
up operations, particularly in the automobile sector (Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler-Chrysler, etc.).
Its main trading partners are: Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands
and the United States.

Martinique (main city: Fort-de-France – population 94,000)

A French Overseas département, the island of Martinique is an outermost region of Europe, as are
the Canary Islands for Spain and Madera for Portugal.
Its natural environment is characterised by its insularity, a tropical climate and a hilly and volcanic
It is extremely remote from the European continent (6,830 km from Paris), but close to third
countries less developed: it is located in the Caribbean Sea and surrounded by independent island
Its surface is 1,080 km² and its population includes 388 042 inhabitants.
The main city is Fort-de-France; together with Le Lamentin and Schoelcher, they form an important
conurbation gathering most activities in the département.
The local economy relies on several sectors, such as the agri- food industry, tourism, fishing, public
buildings and works activities.
However, the level of development of its Caribbean neighbours is a source of competition
increasing the island's economical handicaps.

Midi-Pyrénées (main city: Toulouse - population 400,000)

Aeronautics and aerospace sales predominate in this region accounting for 70% of exports (boosted
by the presence of the Airbus manufacturer) to the financial benefit of the Haute-Garonne
A lively subcontracting environment has developed around this core activity: electronic
components, mechanical equipment, chemicals, plastics.
Traditional Midi-Pyrénées industries are declining: textiles, wood products, pharmaceuticals and
perfume s. Outside Toulouse and the immediate surroundings, the region is still highly rural and
agri- food industry activities are well represented: milk, meat, grain and cereals.
The services sectors play a major role in the economic life: technology parks, services to
companies, retailers, tourism, services to private individuals.
The main trading partners are Germany, the United States, Spain, Switzerland and Canada. It is the
fourth leading export region in France.

Nord-Pas de Calais (main city: Lille - population 191,000)

The Nord-Pas de Calais enjoys a very favourable location in the heart of Europe and accounts for
8.3% of total French exports (third leading export region in France).
The main activity is the agri- food industry followed by automobile, metals, and textiles.
A dense SME network has replaced the mono- industrial set-up of the seventies.
The services sector accounts for most jobs in the region: hypermarkets (Auchan, Décathlon, etc.),
mail-order companies (La Redoute, les Trois Suisses), NICT (new information and communication

Live and work in France / Regional labour markets / 4

The main trading partners are: Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Germany and the

Basse-Normandie (main city: Caen - population 117,000)

Basse-Normandie is a predominantly agricultural region, and is therefore subject to uncontrolled
external events (mad cow disease, European Common Agricultural Policy).
The main activities are: agri- food industry, automobile, metal processing, electric/electronic
The services sector is underdeveloped, mainly because of the closeness of Paris.
The main trading partners and suppliers are Germany, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium,
Luxembourg and the Netherlands, followed by the United States.

Haute-Normandie (main city: Rouen - population 108,000)

The economy of this region is based in the Seine Valley, where a number of industries are well
represented: automobile, equipment manufacturers, equipment items, petrochemicals, chemicals
(foreign multinationals such as Bayer and Goodyear) and pharmaceuticals.
The agri- food industries are also lively (Rouen is the leading cereal port in Europe).
The main trading partners are the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany.

Pays de la Loire (main city: Nantes – 277,000 habitants)

Leading region for horticultural activities; in second position for agricultural activities.
Under the impulse of innovative SMEs, the region has succeeded in developing a lively agri- food
industry, and produces some interesting equipment items thanks to dynamic industrial innovation
and research (especially in the sector of naval construction and aeronautics).
The pharmaceutical sectors (perfumes, maintenance products) and electronics are also well
The main trading partners are the European Union (72% of transactions) including the United
Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Picardy (main city: Amiens - population 139,000)

A major agriculture region whose leading products include sugar beet, wheat, potatoes, oilseed
crops and green vegetables (with the latter two increasing in importance).
Agri- food industries such as canneries and sugar refineries are also considerable assets for the
The metal processing and automobile sectors are well represented, while the services sector is
somewhat underdeveloped.
The main trading partners are: Germany, United Kingdom, former East block countries, and North

Poitou-Charentes (main city: Poitiers - population 87,000)

This region has remained rural and agricultural. The flagship products are cognac (90% of
production exported) and meat products. The recent mad cow crisis resulted in a significant decline
in meat and dairy food products.
Local industry draws its vitality from a diversified SME network: equipment items (automobile,
aeronautics and naval construction) and intermediate goods (textiles, paper, wood, electric
Tourism is well-developed along the Charente coastline (Ré and Oléron islands, La Rochelle,
Main trading partners: European Union including Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and Russia
followed by United States and China.

Live and work in France / Regional labour markets / 5

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (main city: Marseille - population 807,000)
This region can be characterised by the predominance of high value-added services sectors: tourism,
services to companies, and health services.
The raw chemicals industry is also very well represented (Berre petrochemical complex) as well as
metallurgy, electronics/electric components and NTIC (Sophia-Antipolis high-tech region).
Agriculture is also specialised in high value-added products: fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Main trading partners: Italy, Germany, United States, Japan and ASEAN countries (Association of
South East Asian nations).

Réunion (main city: Saint-Denis – population 130,000)

A French département in the Indian Ocean, located south–east of Africa, the Réunion is a European
outermost region.
It is a real gate for Europe in the Indian Ocean area and develops many partnerships with its
neighbours: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kwazulu Natal, Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, etc.
Tourism and agri- food industry are the most dynamic sectors and participate in the development of
this département with an important and young population: 766 200 inhabitants for 2,507 km².

Rhône-Alpes (main city: Lyon - population 453,000)

A region with a long-established industrial tradition, Rhône-Alpes also boasts a lively services
sector boosted by tourism.
Intermediate goods are also well represented (chemicals, petrochemicals, aluminium, nuclear fuel
rods, metals, plastic materials).
The region is also specialised in equipment items (electric and electronic components).
Agriculture and food processing have refocused to concentrate on viniculture, fruits, vegetables and
dairy products (numerous cheese specialties).
Most new jobs are created in the upper- level services sector: engineering/studies/consulting,
information technology and multimedia, transport/logistics.
The tourism industry is also very lively: ski resorts, nature tourism, hydrotherapy industry.
Main trading partners: Germany, Italy, United States.

Live and work in France / Regional labour markets / 6


EURES: European Employment Services http://europa.eu.int/eures

Created and co-ordinated by the European Commission, EURES is a public network of employment
services and social partners of frontier zones, specia lised in pan-European employment issues.

ANPE: French National Employment Agency www.anpe.fr

Public service under the tutelage of the Ministry of Labour (www.travail.gouv.fr).

Its mission is to place employment seekers and process employment offers from companies.

OMI: International Migration Office www.omi.social.fr

Public establishment reporting to the Ministry for Social Affairs, Work and Solidarity.
Its mission is to implement the immigration policy defined by the public authorities.

NB: OMI and the ANPE merged their expatriation services in 1999 to create an international job placement
umbrella structure called the “Espaces emploi international” whose mission is to encourage international

APEC: National Employment Agency For Professional/Managerial Employees: www.apec.asso.fr

Jointly managed, private body specialised on employment positions for professional/managerial

employees (caters to both employees and employers).

ASSEDIC: French national organisation managing unemployment contributions and payments

Applies the rules of the unemployment insurance system under the umbrella of the UNIDIC (national
inter-profession union for employment in industry and commerce). This system is managed jointly with
the social partners.

DDTEFP: Departmental Office for Work, Employment and Vocational Training:


Services of the Ministry of Labour.

Its mission is to assess and regulate general policy relating to employment and vocational training.

AFPA: National Adult Vocational Education Agency www.afpa.fr

AFPA is the main adult vocational education body of its type in France. It is managed by the State, the
social partners and AFPA itself under the tutelage of the Ministry for Social Affairs, Work and
Its mission is to facilitate job- hunting and career re-orientation by organising training courses for
employment seekers and adult education for salaried wo rkers.
The texts that establish free movement for workers within the European Community are as follows:
- For salaried workers => Articles 39 et seq. (former Article 48) of the EC Treaty,
- For self-employed persons => Articles 43 et seq. (former Article 52) pertaining to
setting up and managing undertakings.

The text which establishes freedom to provide services within the community is:
- Article 50 et seq. (former Article 59).

These texts are complemented by European directives 93/96 for students, 90/365 for annuitants and
retired people, and 90/364 for other EC nationals.

These texts are transposed to French law by the decree 94-211 dated 11 March 1994.


- Nationals of European Community member countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland,
Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
- Nationals of countries who signed the Porto agreement on the European Econo mic Area (Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway).
- Nationals of countries who signed the Athens treaty (effective from 1 May 2004) subject to
respecting transitional periods : Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,
Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
- Swiss nationals as per the terms of the agreement between the European Community and the
Confederation of Switzerland dated 21 June 1999 with effect from 1 June 2002 (subject to the
application of transitional provisions included in the agreement expiring 1 June 2004).

Driving license

Driver's license from EU member countries are valid for France and holders of such licenses are not
obliged to get a French license.
The conditions which apply to holding a driver's licens e are as follows:
- the driver's license must be valid,
- the person must be old enough to drive the vehicle listed in the applicable categories of
the driver's license,
- the license must not be suspended, restricted or cancelled in the person’s country of

If a person driving with a non-French driver's license commits a driving offence on French territory
resulting in
- suspension, restriction, or cancellation of the non-French license, or
- loss of driving points,
then that person must take out a French driver's license.

Importing your vehicle into France: you must go to the Tax Centre ("Centre des Impôts") of your
place of residence and ask for a tax certificate ("attestation fiscale") which you will take to the car
registration centr (“service des cartes grises”) of your local Préfecture to have your car registered.
You must then get your car checked by the technical car checking centre (“contrôle technique au
service des Mines") following which it may be necessary to make it compliant with Frenc h

Free movement and Residency permits

Under the terms of the law No. 2003-1119 of 26 November 2003 (published in the Journal Officiel
No. 274 on 27 November 2003) relating to the control of immigration, residency of foreigners in
France, and nationality, and particularly in virtue of article 14, EC nationals, nationals of countries
who signed the European Economic Area agreement, as well as members of the Confederation of
Switzerland, are no longer obliged to have a residency permit.

Notwithstanding the above, it must be specified that even though the obligation to hold a
residency permit no longer applies for the above cases, the legal framework pertaining to free
movement remains applicable, notably as regards the categories for non-French nationals to
which this framework applies, as well as the conditions that must be satisfied.
Lastly, it may be useful to apply for a residency permit anyway since this will simplify
administrative procedures.

The obligation to take out a French residency pe rmit remains valid for spouses of European
nationals from Third States ("Third State" as defined by the Vienna Convention on the Law of

For employees of French companies: residency entitlement depends on the existence of a work
contract governed by French law. The duration of the work contract is a determining element in
the exercise of free movement. For work contracts greater than 3 months but less than 12 months,
the validity of the residency permit will correspond to the duration of the work contract. For work
contracts greater than 12 months, the duration of the residency permit will not be strictly limited to
the duration of the work contract.

For employees seconded to France for professional purposes: This category refe rs to employees of
foreign companies who have been seconded to France for professional purposes. In particular, these
employees remain within the social protection system of the country of departure. In this case, the
duration of the residency permit will depend on the duration of the secondment.
Note: the term "Secondment" will be understood as defined by the social security.

Documents to provide to obtain the residency permit:

If you wish to apply for a residency permit, you must supply the following documents: valid
identification, proof of accommodation and proof of employment depending on the category:
- for employees of French companies: you will be expected to provide a Certificate of Employment
(“déclaration d’engagement ") (available from the French authorities) signed by the employer. In
particular, this document should give the expected duration of the employment.
- For employees seconded to France for professional purposes, you will be expected to provide a
Certificate of Employment (“declaration d'engagement") (available from the French authorities)
signed by the employer and stating the expected duration of the secondment, as well as a Social
Security Secondment Certificate issued by the Social Security organisation of the country of

For persons entitled to set up and manage undertakings : this refers to non-salaried workers (traders,
skilled manual labourers, industrialists, farmers, self-employed professionals, etc.) who intend to set
up in France on a permanent basis. This category must comply with French legal requirements
applicable to the applicable category (diploma requirements) and/or to the setting up of companies.

For service providers: the difference between this category and the above category (persons entitled
to set up and manage undertakings) resides in the temporary nature of the service rendered.

If you wish to apply for a residency permit, you must supply the following documents: valid
identification, proof of accommodation and proof of activity by any means you consider
- validity of residency permit (for persons entitled to set up and manage undertakings): the
residency permit will first be issued for the duration of 10 years, renewable for a further 10 years.
- validity of residenc y permit (for service providers): for services whose expected rendering period
is greater than 3 months and less than 12 months, the residency permit will be equal to the expected
service-rendering period. If necessary, it may be extended as required to complete the service.


The situation of non-active EC nationals varies depending on whether or not they have exercised a
professional activity in France.
This can be broken into two categories:
- persons entitled to reside in France who, prior to claiming this right, exercised a salaried or
non-salaried professional activity,
- persons who are not engaged in a professional activity, and who have not exercised a
professional activity in France.


Retired people if first, they have exercised a professional activity in France during the 12 months
preceding the date on which they are claiming their entitlement to a pension in France or persons
who have reached the age of 65 and second, are able to justify permanent residency in France for
the previous 3 years.
Persons permanently unable to exercise a professional activity if they can prove permanent
residency in France for the previous 2 years. If a permanent incapacity to work, related to a work
accident or occupational disease, entitles the person to an annuity paid by a French institution, then
the residency criterion no longer applies.
Persons living outside of France but who cross the border into France to work if they can prove 3
years’ residency and continuous professional activity in France, and if they keep their French
residency, returning to this residence at least once a week.

Documents required for people in this category applying for a residency permit:

1. Residency application times: if the EC national holds a valid residency permit, the substantiation
documentation will only be required when renewing this permit.
If the EC national does not hold a valid residency permit, he/she must apply for a permit within 2
years of being entitled to do so.

2. Documents to provide to obtain the residency permit:

- Valid passport or national identity card,
- 3 recent photographs (frontal, bare head, format: 3.5 x 4.5 centimetres),
- Recent justification of address in Franc e: rent receipt, gas bill or electricity bill or most recent
local Council tax statement (“taxe d’habitation”),
- If someone is providing you with accommodation: accommodation certificate dated and signed
by the lodger, plus the following: photocopy of the lodger's identity card, rent receipt, gas bill or
electricity bill or most recent local Council tax statement of lodger,
- Proof of right to residency: the applicant is free to choose the elements he/she feels will
establish right to residency: pension book, allocation of disability pension decision, etc.
Likewise, he/she is free to choose the elements he/she feels will establish proof of continuous
residency: lease, rent receipt, etc.

3. Duration of residency permit: these permits are valid for 10 years, renewable for an identical



1. Students : Residency rights for students are governed by the 93-96 EU directive dated 29
October 1993, transposed into French Law by decree dated 11 March 1994. This directive applies
only to students not entitled to residency on some other basis (e.g., as a salaried person). The
granting of this residency right is subordinated to the following conditions:
Resources and social protection: The student must be able to prove that he/she has health insurance
covering all risks of illness and maternity, as well as sufficient resources (see book VIII of the
Social Security code).
Enrolment: The student must prove that he/she is enrolled in a second- level or third- level
educational institution.

Documents required for people in this category applying for a residency permit:
Valid identification, proof of accommodation, by declaration by pledge proving that he/she has the
necessary health insurance as well as sufficient resources. Proof that he/she is enrolled in a second-
level or third-level educational institution.
Duration of residency permit: residency permits issued under these circumstances are limited to the
duration of the school course, or to 1 year if the course lasts longer than a year. Subsequent
residency permits will be valid for one year.

2. Annuitants and retired people: directive 90/365 dated 28 June 1990; decree dated 11 March
1994. This refers to European Community nationals who have carried out a professional activity in
a member country and want to set up residency on the territory of another member state.
They must possess sufficient resources (see book VIII of the Social Security code) and health
insurance (illness and maternity).

Documents required for people in this category applying for a residency permit:
Valid identification, proof of accommodation, proof of a health insurance policy and proof of
sufficient resources. You may present any substantiation documentation you consider appropriate.
Duration of residency permit: residency permits issued under these circumstances are valid for a
period of 5 years, renewable under the same conditions. Please note that these residency permits can
be withdrawn at any moment if the allocation conditions are no longer satisfied.

3. Other European Community nationals : directive 90/364 dated 28 June 1990; decree dated 11
March 1994. The purpose of this directive is to grant right of residency to European Community
nationals who are not entitled to this right in virtue of other Community Law provisions. In
particular, this applies to partners who are not considered "family members".
They must possess sufficient resources (see book VIII of the Social Security code) and health
insurance (illness and maternity).

Documents required for people in this category applying for a residency permit:
Valid identification, proof of accommodation, proof of a health insurance policy and proof of
sufficient resources. You may present any substantiation documentation you consider appropriate.
Duration of residency permit: residency permits issued under these circumstances are valid for a
period of 5 years, renewable under the same conditions. Please note that these residency permits can
be withdrawn at any moment if the allocation conditions are no longer satisfied.

A. Definition of family members
Family members are: spouse, children less than 21, dependent children, dependent ascendants. For
students, the definition of "family members" is limited to spouse and dependent children.

B: Entry conditions for family members (common law)

Family members are entitled to enter French territory under the same conditions applied to the
European Community national whom they accompany (same type of residency permit issued for the
same duration). They must be able to prove their relation to the European Community national
(marriage certificate, birth certificate, family record, etc.).

C: Family members entitled to reside in France

1: European Community spouse of a French national: these persons will receive an initial
residency permit valid for 10 years, renewable with all entitlements for the same period.

2: Family members of a deceased salaried or non-salaried person (work accident, occupational

disease), limited to those family members declared on the date of decease, and subject to permanent
residency of 2 years on the date of decease.

D: Family members of European Community nationals from a “Third Country”:

Such persons are entitled to enter French territory. However, they must have a valid passport with,
if necessary, a visa. A short-stay visa is sufficient. Subsequently, a valid passport suffices to enter
France in the case of nationals of Third Countries who have signed a short-stay visa waiver
agreement. Persons who do require a visa should submit an application to the French Consular
authorities of relevance submitting their passport and proof of their relationship to the person
already entitled to residency. The visa is free.
Residency permits issued to persons under this category will be of the same type and duration as the

European Community national whom they accompany.
Family members can exercise a professional salaried or non-salaried activity; they do not have to
satisfy the requirements applied to Third Country nationals under French law.


Unless you speak French relatively well, it will be very difficult to secure employment
in France.

Before leaving for France, we recommend you contact the EURES adviser closest to
your place of residence, who will be able to help you with your planned move to
For a complete list of EURES advisers, please refer to the Internet site:


A) ANPE (French National Employment Agency) - Member of the EURES network

Most French towns will have a local ANPE agency, whose function is to register and counsel job seekers,
and organise training courses.

To this end, the ANPE offers the following services:

ð job vacancy consultation by means of: job notices on public display, newspapers, and the www.anpe.fr
Internet site (self-service Internet terminals)
ð advice meetings (employment and training) and career guidance
ð employment-seeking sessions, information on assistance available to job searchers
ð computer equipment to write up CVs, trade newspapers and journals, documentation (professional
directories, other works of relevance).
Internet site : www.anpe.fr


The first thing to do it is to go to your local ASSEDIC office (Association pour l’emploi dans l’Industrie
et le Commerce - French national organisation managing unemployment contributions and payments).
Please refer to the www.assedic.fr Internet site for the nearest address. You will receive an application
form to be filled in before showing up. The ASSEDIC will be your first point of contact to register as a job
seeker and/or apply for unemployment benefits. The ASSEDIC will handle all the administration aspects
during your unemployment period, including the actual payment of any unemployment benefits to which you
may be entitled. Make sure you have the following elements before going to your local ASSEDIC:
your national identity card or passport and, for non-EU nationals, a residency permit or a work permit, as
well as the E301 form or E303 form as applicable (see "E Forms" for more information).

Once you have registered with the ASSEDIC you must, within 4 weeks, go to your local ANPE agency
bringing along any documents of relevance to your job-seeking interview ("entretien professionnel”):
registration card issued by the ASSEDIC, CV, preparation document).

B) OMI (International Migration Office) - EURES network partner

The services proposed by the OMI do not concern job search in France, since OMI is responsible for
receiving, circulating and managing job offers for positions outside of France.
OMI informs companies and potential candidates on work, social and residency conditions outside of
France, and has documentation on working abroad which may be consulted on the premises.
Internet site: www.omi.social.fr

NB: OMI and the ANPE merged their expatriation services in 1999 to create an international job
placement umbrella structure called the “Espaces emploi international” whose mission is to
encourage international mobility.
For more information, please refer to www.emploi-international.org

C) APEC (National Employment Agency For Professional/Managerial Employees)

APEC is intended for companies and employees who have contributed to the special retirement scheme for
this professional category (known as “cadres”), as well as college graduates with at least 4 years of third-
level training and who have received their diploma within less than 1 year. Most large French cities have an
APEC agency. APEC issues information sheets on employment possibilities for persons in this category, as
well as other professional sectors.
Internet site: www.apec.fr

D) APECITA (National Employment Agency for professional/managerial employees, engineers

and technicians in the food/food processing sectors)

APECITA may be compared to APEC, with the difference that it deals only with the agriculture and food-
processing sectors.
APECITA publishes “Tribune Verte” a bi-monthly magazine with job vacancies in these sectors, available
on subscription.
Internet site: www.apecita.com



Job recruitment agencies publish job offers intended for cadres (professional/managerial employees) with
initial or extensive experience. This may be contrasted with headhunters who recruit directly and
confidentially contacting the top-level managers or other high-profile employees.
Most job recruitment agencies are specialised in certain sectors and positions. Their contact details are
listed in the France Telecom Yellow Pages (www.pagesjaunes.fr) or in specialised guidebooks.


Temporary work agencies contract out their staff to companies on a temporary basis.
Their contact details are listed in the France Telecom Yellow Pages (www.pagesjaunes.fr).


A) PRINTED PRESS (list not exhaustive)

1/ National daily newspapers

Name Job section day Target public and sectors

Le Figaro Monday in the “Le Figaro Senior executives and technicians
www.lefigaro.fr Entreprises” supplement (finance, business, engineering)

Les Echos Tuesday Executives and technicians

Le Monde Tuesday in the “Le Monde Management executives and senior
www.lemonde.fr Economie” supplement technicians

2/ Weekly magazines

Name Sectors Target public

L’Express Information magazine Management executives, engineers,
www.lexpress.fr sales engineers

L’Usine Nouvelle Industry Industry-sector executives, engineers

www.usinenouvelle.com and technicians

Le Moci International commerce Business executives, export

www.lemoci.com specialists

Entreprise & Carrières Human resources Human resource executives and

www.entreprise- technicians
Le Point Information magazine Executive-level persons for all sectors
Le Moniteur des Travaux Public works, civil engineering All positions in the public works and
publics et du bâtiment and building civil engineering sectors
L’Hôtellerie Hotel, restaurant and catering All positions in the hotel, restaurants
www.lhotellerie.fr sectors and catering sectors

Carrière et Emploi Human resources Executive-level persons and

Press outlets only technicians for all sectors

3/ Regional newspapers

Generally speaking, the job section in regional newspapers appears Saturdays and Sundays.

Printed regional press (list not exhaustive):

Region Name Web site

Nord-Pas de Calais La Voix du Nord www.lavoixdunord.fr
Alsace Les Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace www.dna.emploi.net
Lorraine L’Alsace www.alsapresse.com
Franche-Comté Le Républicain Lorrain www.republicain-lorrain.fr
L’Est Républicain www.estrepublicain.fr
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Nice Matin www.nicematin.fr
La Provence www.laprovence-presse.fr
Rhône-Alpes Le Progrès www.leprogres.fr
Le Dauphiné www.ledauphiné.fr
Bretagne Ouest France www.ouest-france.fr
Aquitaine Sud Ouest www.sudouest.com
Poitou-Charentes La Dépêche du Midi www.ladepeche.com
Centre Le Journal du Centre www.centremploi.com
Auvergne La Montagne
Languedoc-Roussillon Le Midi Libre www.midilibre.com
Paris region Le Parisien www.leparisien.com

B) INTERNET SITES: please refer to "Useful Internet sites"


A number of television stations broadcast programs for job seekers (France 2, France 3, France 5, Canal
+, TV5). Some of these channels are broadcast by cable or by satellite to European Economic Area

Likewise, a number of radio stations have job-seeking slots (Radio France International for example).

For more information on the radio/television job seeker slots, please refer to trade newspapers and



ð Youth Information Network

This network includes the CIDJ (Youth Documentation and Information Centre), CRIJ (Regional Youth
Information Centres), BIJ (Youth Information Offices) and the PIJ (Youth Information Points) with offices
in Mainland France, Corsica and French overseas départements. These organisations have a host of
information of potential interest to young people (studies, employment, leisure activities, holidays) including
some newspapers/magazines with job vacancies (Carrières & Emplois, Rebondir, Entreprise et
Carrières, Le Monde, etc.). In particular, the CIDJ and CRIJ offer assistance services to find summer

The Youth Documentation and Information Centre updates its microfiches once a year. They may be
consulted in the various CRIJ and BIJ centres.

ð CROUS (Regional Centres for University Studies and Social Affairs)

Located inside universities, the mission of CROUS centres is to improve working and social conditions for
students in higher education: accommodation, grants, social protection, subsidised meals, jobs, leisure
activities, travelling.
The CROUS also caters to the various requirements of foreign students in France.

ð CIO (Career guidance and Information centres)

CIO centres offer information and documentation services for students and non-students (young people,
families, social services, working adults).
People can consult their documentation to find out more information on second-level and third-level
education, professional activities, job opportunities and administrative competitions (information collected
from ONISEP and its representatives).
Four "National Resources Centres" specifically oriented towards European training courses and
international diploma/degree recognition have been set up (Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg).

ð “Espaces Jeunes Diplômés” (Centres for young graduates with at least 4 years’ higher
Located in several of the most important French university cities, these information and counselling centres
help young graduates get started on the career ladder. This involves setting up meetings with companies
and consultancies, as well as proposing targeted documentation.

ðPAIO (information and career guidance centres)

This network is intended for people under 26, with no or poor professional qualifications.

Useful links

French Ministry for Education: www.education.gouv.fr

ONISEP: www.onisep.fr
CIDJ: www.cidj.asso.fr
CNOUS: www.cnous.fr
CIO directory: www.education.gouv.fr/orient/listcio.htm


The search for a summer job or a seasonal job (agriculture, hotel industry, food industry, tourism) is
considered equivalent to a classic job-hunt. Therefore, the usual information sources and networks can and
should be used (newspapers/magazines, public employment services, Internet sites, specialised servers,
directories, etc.).
The CIDJ and the ANPE have been working together for a number of years now to propose summer jobs:
see www.cidj.com/jobs-ete/index.htm
Other Internet sites: www.eurosummerjobs.com


A European agreement for Au Pair work (applicable age bracket: 18 to 30). For further information,
please refer to the Youth Information Network (see “Les réseaux d’information”)
Or Internet site: www.cidj.com => “Venir en France” => “Travailler”


Most public service positions are filled by means of competitions.

Article 5 of the applicable legislation states that only persons with the French nationality may apply for
these competitions.
However, article 5bis does enable EU nationals to sit for these public examinations, with the exception of
certain positions associated with sovereignty and matters of sensitive state concerns such as: Defense,
Police, Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Public Finances.
Moreover, some high-level positions (University professors, researchers, hospital doctors) are accessible
to all nationalities.
Nevertheless, it should be said that obstacles may be encountered in the case of certain administrations.

Information on public ministry competitions:

ð Minister for the French Civil Service : www.fonction-publique.gouv.fr/travailler/concours.htm
ð CIRA (Inter-ministerial Centres for Administrative Information): contact by telephone
0 821 08 09 10
ð These various Ministries, which can be contacted by standard mail or Internet
ð ANPE (bimonthly magazine: Carrières Publiques)
ð ONISEP: www.onisep.fr
ð Journal Officiel (Official Gazette) www.journal-officiel.gouv.fr

In France, job vacancies may be accessed at no cost. Any request for fees of any
nature is illegal.
Do not spend any personal funds (travel, hotel, etc.) without first receiving a written
notice of some nature from the potential employer.
If you have any questions, we recommend contacting the public employment services.
We also recommend contacting your local ANPE before undertaking the journey to
the potential employer to see if you can recover your expenses.
Job searching means developing a strategy and possessing the required tools.

Your job- hunting strategy will be based on your personal and professional profile. In France, it is
common practice to prepare a professional career project and to expand on this during the
recruitment interview. Preparing such a project means asking oneself questions on one's skills
and know- how, and their suitability to the requirements of a given job position. Your strategy
must also take into account your target market (SME or large enterprise, sector of activity,
geographical location, permanent contract/short-term contract). In France, most employment
opportunities are created by small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs). As regards the employment
market for executive/professional level employees (known as "cadres"), bear in mind that one
such job position out of two is based in Paris or the surrounding region.
One interesting statistic: of all employment positions to be filled over a year, only 40% are
actually advertised (employment services media or printed media; see “Accessing job offers”).
Therefore, looking for a job entails both going through published job announcements as well as
making unsolicited applications. As always, a network of friends and/or colleagues can also
stand you in good stead.
Furthermore, you should take into account the prevailing economic climate (new company
creation, new planned setups, advantageous (or disadvantageous) position of a given company in
a given sector, etc.) all of which will enable you to identify enterprises currently under
development (we strongly recommend you keep in touch with current economic life and

The most frequently used methods are the application letter and the curriculum vitae. However,
there is nothing to stop you from contacting a potential employer in an alternative manner
(telephone, fax or e- mail).

A curriculum vitae must be typed, written in French, in standard A4 format (21 x 29.7), and on
standard white paper. In theory, your curriculum vitae can be as long as you wish; however, we
recommend a maximum length of 2 pages. Bear in mind that the object of the CV is to give an
initial presentation of who you are, what training you have, and the skills you acquired during
previous professional experience or, failing this, during previous work-study company
There is no point in including work certificates with a curriculum vitae. Likewise, it should
neither be dated nor signed. You can include references if you wish, but this is not mandatory.
Only include a photograph (passport format) if specifically requested or if it is a personal
decision. Avoid using abbreviations and if necessary, explain what they mean between brackets.


example in appendix):
1 / Personal information:
Last name, usual first name, exact address and personal phone number with international dialing
code if necessary, date of birth or age, place of birth (optional), family situation and nationality.
Information on your religion, state of health, family members, or membership to political parties
or trade unions should not be given.

Working in France/ Applying for a job/ 1

2 / Training
In this section, list your diplomas, focusing mainly on those related to university studies or
professional activities. State the dates on which you received your diplomas and if possible, give
a French equivalent (see "Recognition of diplomas"). Do not clutter up the section with pointless
information (there is no need to give details of everything since pre-school level). However, you
should describe the contents of your training. Experienced persons should also detail the training
courses of most relevance, which they took while working.
Remember to include your language skills, giving a precise indication of your level in each

3 / Professional experience
This is the most important section. Experienced persons should list every professional experience
in the form of a short paragraph (young graduates will give a paragraph for each internship).
For each professional experience/internship, give the following information: start date, end date,
name of company, sector of activity of company, position title, and then describe the work you
carried out.
Generally speaking, you are not be expected to explain why you left a particular company nor
generally speaking, why your professional situation changed.

4 / Personal activities, hobbies, other information

This section is optional and if included, should be kept short. Include activities and/or
responsibilities outside of study/work hours (student office manager, event organizer, etc.),
leisure activities, and previous trips focusing on countries that you have visited and know well (if
you already know France well, make sure you mention this), sports, personal leisure activities
(literature, music, etc.).

COVERING LETTER (see example in appendix)

A covering letter should be one to two pages long (maximum), written on standard white paper,
and preferably written by hand (common practice in France). However, for some job positions
employers are increasingly willing to accept covering letters that are typed, e- mailed or enclosed
with the CV. Give your last name, first name, complete personal address and phone number
(with international dialing code) on the top left part of the sheet. Put the date on the top right
hand side of the sheet. A few lines further down, write "A l’attention de M. ou Mme XXX”
("For the attention of..."). Write the company's name on the top right hand side of the page.
The purpose of the covering letter is to explain to the receiver why you are responding to a job
offer or why you decided to send an unsolicited application to that company. Your objective is to
let that person understand that you know who she/he is, what she/he is looking for, and why you
are the person she/he needs.
You should sign your covering letter (preferably on the bottom right of the page).


Job positions in the public service always include a written exam (competitive examination) and
an oral exam.
However, in SMEs (small to mid-sized enterprises), recruitment is often done by the Company
Director. In large companies, recruitment is the responsibility of the Head of Personnel (or
Human Resources), but can also involve a specialist from the Department concerned.
Sometimes, recruitment is entrusted to professionals (recruitment agencies, consultancies) who
submit only 2 to 4 potential candidates to their customers.
It is common practice for enterprises to reply to an application by sending out a standard or
specific questionnaire or application form to be filled in and returned by the applicant.
Working in France/ Applying for a job/ 2
All is preparation, and preparation is all: if you get called for a first interview, prepare it well.
Always remember that the recruiter is looking for a candidate fulfilling his/her requirements, and
you should also make sure that the proposed job is actually in line with your expectations.
We highly recommend finding out about the Company and its activities beforehand: Internet site,
company directories (such as Kompass), etc.
There is no fixed length for an interview, and it can be anything from 15 minutes to an entire
day. The interview can be individual (face to face) or collective (relatively rare). You might
consider bringing along a photocopy of your diplomas or work certificates or any other
document of potential interest to the recruiter. An interview can also involve personality tests,
psychology tests, or aptitude tests, varying in duration from one hour to a complete day.
You can ask the interviewer for more information on the possible follow-up actions to your
application, and can find out if second interviews are generally conducted (and when).
You might also consider sending the recruiter a letter of appreciation after the interview and if
necessary, once again giving a precise explanation for your interest in the position, focusing on
how it corresponds to your expectations and motivation.

Working in France/ Applying for a job/ 3


A work contract must be a written document. In France, a work contract can be one of the following:
• CDI (open-ended contract),
• CDD (fixed-term contract),
• temporary contract
• part-time contract,
• freelance contract.

OPEN-ENDED CONTRACT (CDI = contrat à durée indéterminée))

Open-ended contracts are signed for an unlimited period, i.e., neither party has stipulated a contract-expiry
date. Nevertheless, contracts of this nature can be terminated by either party subject to respecting the
requirements of the French Employment Code.
Open-ended contracts must be written. If the employee does not understand French, she/he can request
that the contract be translated into his/her mother tongue.

FIXED-TERM CONTRACT (CDD = contrat à durée déterminée)

Fixed-term contracts can only be used to give a legal framework to a specific and temporary task under
strictly defined conditions, notably:
• to replace an absent employee (due to maternity leave for example),
• temporary increase in company activity,
• seasonal jobs.

The maximum duration of a fixed-term contract (including renewal) is 18 months. However, this can be
extended to 24 months if the contract is performed abroad. This contract can only be extended for the
same duration as the initial contract.
A fixed-term contract must be written and must include a precise justification for the position (for example:
maternity leave), otherwise the contract is considered an open-ended contract.
A fixed-term contract cannot be terminated before expiry except for the following reasons:
• force majeure,
• joint agreement
• serious professional error.

Under French work legislation, the beneficiary of a fixed-term contract is entitled to an employment-
insecurity bonus (“prime de précarité”) or equivalent lump-sum payment on expiry of the contract. As
stipulated by the law dated 3 January 2003, this is equal to 10% of the total gross salary, except for certain
sectors (collective agreements facilitating access to vocational training) where it can be limited to 6%.
In addition to this bonus, the contract beneficiary is entitled to holiday pay. This is equal to 10% of the
“total gross salary” + “employment-insecurity bonus”.

Working in France/ Work contract and working conditions 1/3

Temporary contracts are governed by the same rules applying to fixed-term contracts. However, 3 parties
are now involved:
1. The temporary worker,
2. The temporary work agency that employs the worker,
3. The customer company, where the temporary worker is placed for the duration of the contract.

An employer can only call on the services of temporary work agencies in the case of assignments; i.e., a
specific non-permanent task.

There is no law to prevent a temporary worker leaving his/her temporary work agency to take up a full-
time employment in the company where she/he carried out the assignment in question.

Part-time contracts are used to give part-time workers the same contractual protection as full-time
In the private sector, "part-time work" refers to any work whose duration is less than 80% of the
legal/conventional work duration. There is no minimum limit to a given part-time position. However, in
practice, the employee must work a certain minimum number of hours (60 hours per month) to be entitled
to Social Security benefits.
In the public sector, "part-time work" refers to any work between 50% (half time) and 80% of the full-
time work.
A part-time work contract must be written.

Freelance contracts are especially used in the case of seasonal employments. Such contracts can be
ongoing in the case of permanent employment which, given the seasonal nature of the activity, means that
the employees are not working all year round.
As with the other work contracts, Freelance contracts must also be written.


The official length of the French work week is 35 hours. The change from the previous 39-hour week to
the current 35-hour week took place on 1 January 2000 for companies with more than 20 employees, and
on 1 January 2002 for all other companies.

It should be borne in mind that the official work week is a reference only; a benchmark used to calculate
overtime. In other words, it is not a legal obligation and a given company can have different general work
hours, or use part-time work hours.
In principle, the legal official work week applies to all employees. However, some categories are excluded
given the particular nature of their work. Examples include: travelling sales representatives, management
executives, company managers, residential building superintendents, home employees.
Any overtime in excess of 39 hours per week must be compensated as follows:
• + 25%, counting from the 40th to the 43rd hour,
• + 50%, counting from the 44th hour.
Furthermore, any work carried out in excess of the official 35 hours per week is considered overtime and
must be compensated accordingly.

Working in France/ Work contract and working conditions 2/3

For more information, you can contact the DDTEFP (Work, Employment and Vocational Training service)
of your place of residence.
See: www.travail.gouv.fr/adresses/adresses_f.html
or the official web site on the subject: www.35h.travail.gouv.fr

Ä In France, current work legislation counts a total of 11 official holidays:

January 1 (New Year) 14 July (national holiday)

Easter Monday 15 August (Assumption)
1 May (Labour Day) 1 November (All Saints)
8 May (V-Day 1945) 11 November (Armistice 1918)
Ascension Thursday 25 December (Christmas Day)
Pentecost Monday (discontinued in
public sector from 2005)

For any further information, contact the Work Inspection services or trade union representatives.

Counting from the first month of work, each work period of 4 weeks entitles the employee to 2 and a half
days of paid holidays. These days can be taken either during a given reference period, or by arrangement
with the employer (sometimes only after working 1 year in the company).

Referred to as the "SMIC", this is the minimum guaranteed wage that must be paid to an employee in
exchange for 1 hour of work. Under current legislation, the SMIC must be reviewed once a year. Any
changes will take effect as of 1 July of that year, with the exact adjustment determined by current and future
economic conditions.
Social Security charges (before tax): in France, the social security charges paid by the employee are about
Minimum wage as of 1 July 2003: 7.19 euros per hour.

The various rules and regulations applicable to the professional working environment are prioritised:
• officially ratified international treaties,
• French Constitution,
• laws and decrees,
• jurisprudence guaranteeing the respect and interpretation of the above-mentioned texts,
• extended collective agreements,
• ordinary agreements (sectorial, geographic or professional),
• the work contract itself,
• internal house regulations,
• general industry practices.

F France has a special labour dispute court (the “Conseil de Prud’hommes”) whose function is to
resolve disputes between employees and employers either through conciliation or judgement.

Working in France/ Work contract and working conditions 3/3

Working in France/ Work contract and working conditions 4/3

The general French Social welfare scheme (mainland France and overseas départements) covers the
risks encountered by beneficiaries: illness, maternity, disability, pension, loss of spouse, decease, work
This system applies to all workers who are salaried employees or considered in this category, and who
are not covered by a special scheme. All beneficiaries are covered irrespective of age (even pensioners,
except for disability, decease and loss of spouse), nationality and sex.

Since 1 January 1996, the “All-in-one Hiring Certificate" (“déclaration unique d’embauche”) has
replaced the former employer registration application, which the employer and the employee used to
send to social welfare.

Employees seconded for a temporary period to work in France for an employer whose headquarters is
located outside of France are not covered by the general French régime; rather, they remain with the
régime of their country of departure (unless the country has no Social welfare mutual agreement with


Every employee is automatically covered by the social welfare scheme on condition that the employee’s
social insurance payments are up-to-date. Social welfare covers health expenses (consultation,
medication, hospital stays, laboratory fees, optician's fees, dentists). The employee is also covered for
periods out of work due to illness, maternity leave, work accidents or occupational diseases. Employees
outside the European Economic Area must also satisfy the applicable residency criteria to benefit from
the scheme and must have a residency and work permit.


The social insurance contributions to the social welfare system are paid partly by the employee and
partly by the employer (referred to as “part salariale”, and “part patronale” respectively).

Contributions for work accidents and family allowances are paid exclusively by the employer.

Medical expenses are reimbursed by the social welfare. However, they are not totally reimbursed;
rather, the social welfare authorities reimburse a percentage of the agreed medical tariffs. The remainder
(referred to as "ticket modérateur") and any medical fees in excess of the agreed tariffs must be paid
either by the employee or else by an additional insurance (or comparable instrument). Depending on the
job, this optional additional insurance may be covered by the employer, or the employee, or both.

Working in France / Social welfare protection in France / 1


The conditions to receive benefits in kind are as follows: you must have worked at least 60 hours as a
salaried employee during the calendar month preceding the date on which the medical services were
rendered, or alternatively, you must have worked at least 120 hours as a salaried employee during the
previous three calendar months preceding the date on which the medical services were rendered.

The conditions to receive financial reimbursement from the social security are as follows: either the
salary on which you made your social insurance contributions was equal to at least 1.015 times the
minimum wage (SMIC) during the previous six calendar months, or alternatively, you must have worked
at least 200 hours as an employee (or equivalent category) during the previous three calendar months
(or 90 previous days).

Benefits in kind:
Both the employee and the employee’s family members are covered. However, in the case of certain
health services (dentures, orthopedic devices for example), the health insurance office (CPAM)
responsible for the employee must give its prior agreement (each French département has its own

To have medical expenses reimbursed by the CPAM, you must produce the medical prescription and
the Social Security medical form (“feuille de soins”) both of which will be given to you by the medical

Another very useful feature of the French social welfare system is the “Carte Vitale". You will
automatically receive this green-color smart card as soon as you are entitled to health coverage. It
remains valid for a period of 4 years. The “Carte Vitale” greatly facilitates reimbursement by the social
welfare system and is gradually replacing the medical form referred to above.

If you are hospitalised, you will have to pay a certain fixed amount for each day spent there. This is not
covered by the social welfare but you can have it covered by means of an additional insurance policy.

Employees living in one country but crossing the border each day to work in another country are entitled
to medical care either in their country of residence or in their country of employment. However,
employee family members must, except in case of emergency, apply for the authorisation of the
appropriate institution (that of the country of employment) to receive medical treatment in the
employee’s country of employment (article 20 of EEC regulations 1408/71).

Sick benefits paid in cash:

Subject to fulfilling some minimum conditions (see above "entitlements"), salaried employees as well as
job seekers are entitled to unemployment financial benefits (for a period of up to 1 year following expiry
of entitlements). These benefits are, in general, equal to 50% of the average gross daily salary paid to
that person during the 3 months preceding the job loss/period of non-activity, with a waiting time (“délai
de carence”) of 3 days before payments commence. In general, given the fact that most salaries are
paid on a monthly basis, it is simpler for the employer to continue paying the employee who is on sick
leave as if nothing had changed, and to recoup the money directly from the appropriate authority.

Working in France / Social welfare protection in France / 2

To be entitled to these sick benefits paid in cash in the case of sick leave, you must provide an
employer’s certificate stating the number of hours worked and the total amount of the salaries paid.

To make sure that a sick leave is not considered contract termination, the employee must do the
- inform his/her employer by sending the sick notice or sick notice extension issued by the medical
practitioner as soon as possible (48 hours maximum),
- justify his/her absence by sending the sick notice or the sick notice extension to his/her health
insurance office (CPAM) or to the medical service (when the medical reason for the sick leave
is given).
- refrain from working during the sick leave period,
- if the employer so wishes, the employee on sick leave must agree to undergo a medical
examination by a medical practitioner chosen by the employer,
- return to work on the expiry of the sick leave,
- agree to a medical inspection imposed by the French Work Code in the case of sick leave
extending a certain period. This inspection is carried out by the occupational health doctor.

Temporary stay in a member state of the European Economic Area (except for business trips):
if you reside in an EEA member state and you intend to temporarily move to another member
state, make sure you take the E111 or E119 form with you (depending on your specific case).
These forms may be obtained from your local health authority.


All payments to the insurance scheme protecting workers against work accidents and occupational
diseases must be covered entirely by the employer. The employee is entitled to benefits in kind (health
expenses, prosthetic devices and equivalent, functional rehabilitation, re-education, professional
reclassification) as well as sick benefits paid in cash.

In the case of a work accident and/or occupational disease, you must inform the employer within 24
hours (by means of registered letter if the declaration cannot be made on the place of the accident) and
you must inform the health insurance body within 48 hours (send in the sick leave notice and the medical
Border-crossing employees are entitled to benefits in kind associated with work risks either in their
country of residence or in their country of employment.

Working in France / Social welfare protection in France / 3


The French retirement scheme consists of a mandatory part, called the basic social welfare retirement
(“retraite de base"), handled by the C.N.A.V.T.S* (national general retirement body) as well as an
optional additional retirement part ("retraite complémentaire"), known as the A.R.R.C.O.*, handled
by the complementary retirement body. Executive/managerial level employees (“cadres”) have their own
retirement fund, known as the A.G.I.R.C.*, which can be considered a complementary scheme to the
two previous schemes.

Please note that you will not receive your pension automatically. Regardless of your professional
career, you must apply for your pension to the appropriate authorities in your place of
residence 6 months before retirement. For Paris, you should apply to the national body (“Caisse
nationale”); apply to the regional body concerned (“Caisses régionales”) if you reside outside of

In all cases, your working periods as an employee in the European Economic Area member states will
be added. The pension itself will depend on the duration of your professional career as well as the salary
you received.
In France, employees can retire at the age of 60. The social welfare pension depends on the base
salary, as well as the rate and duration of social insurance payments.
The "base salary" is the average yearly salary for the best 25 years of social insurance payments.

Under current legislation, the maximum pension rate (50%) is paid to insured persons who are at least
60 years old and can justify 160 quarters of social insurance payments, i.e., a total of a 40 annuities.
However, this will be extended by one quarter per year to reach 41 annuities in 2012 and 41.75
annuities in 2020.

If you decide to pay into a complementary retirement scheme, or if you work in a managerial/executive
capacity (“cadres” retirement scheme), then you are entitled to retirement points ("points de retraite”).
The amount of your additional pension generated by these retirement points will depend on your social
insurance contributions, since the pension is determined using the number of working years, your salary
and your social insurance payments (employee part and employer part), i.e., the number of points
acquired and their value.

The pension can be further increased if the employee has an additional insurance contract (mutual or
private insurance company).

* * *
C.N.A.V.T.S. A.R.R.C.O. A.G.I.R.C.
110/112, rue de Flandre 44, boulevard de la Bastille 4, rue Leroux
75191 PARIS Cedex 19 75992 PARIS Cedex 12 75116 PARIS
Tél. : 01 40 37 37 37 Tél.: 01 44 67 12 00 Tél.: 01 44 17 51 00

www.cnav.fr www.arrco.fr www.agirc.fr

Working in France / Social welfare protection in France / 4

It should also be noted that the law dated 24 July 2003 on the reform of the French retirement scheme
includes the possibility to purchase missing annuities (up to a limit of 12 quarters) and also includes tax
breaks for employees paying into retirement saving accounts.


The purpose of family allowance to alleviate the family expenses of European Economic Area nationals
residing in France with one or more dependent children. These allowances are granted subject to certain

There are a total of 22 family allowance benefits, which may be separated into 4 major categories.
Some family allowance benefits cannot be exported:
1 - Benefits associated with the birth of a child,
2 - Benefits associated with education,
3 - Specialised benefits,
4 - Accommodation allowances.

In most cases, these benefits are granted/withheld depending on the financial situation of the family (or
tax household).

For more information, please refer to the CAF (Social Security office) web site: www.caf.fr. This site
was designed to give accurate information on all aspects of assistance available from this office.


The purpose of disability benefits is to compensate the disabled person for his/her reduced work
capacity and potential loss of earnings (the person must be at least 66% disabled).
The insured person must be less than 60 years old to be entitled to disability benefits. Beyond this age,
the person will depend on the pension insurance scheme (incapacity to work).

For more information, we recommend contacting your local health insurance office (CPAM) or
consulting their web site for the most up-to-date information.

Information and useful links:

CAF (Social Security office) web site: www.caf.fr

For a complete list of regional pension authorities, please refer to the web site www.ameli.fr (online
health insurance information) or contact the social service of your local town hall.

Working in France / Social welfare protection in France / 5

You are a European national, you reside in one of the European Economic Area (EEA)
countries, and you are looking for a job in France: you must sign up as a job seeker with the
organisations concerned in your new place of residence, firstly with the ASSEDIC and then
with the ANPE.

A number of cases are possible:

A/ You have already worked in a European Economic Area country and

did not receive unemployment benefits:

In this case, you should ask for the E301 form from the organisation concerned in that country
before coming to France. This form lists the periods that will be used to calculate your
unemployment benefits should you become unemployed in France. If you do not have the
E301 form when arriving in France, the ASSEDIC can make the request for you; however,
this is a time-consuming procedure.

According to the rules of the European Economic Area, the last country in which you worked
is responsible for paying your unemployment benefits. Therefore, you must work at least 1
day in France to ensure that the time you worked in another EEA country be taken into
account in France to determine your unemployment benefits.

If you are entitled to unemployment benefits, the amount will be determined on the basis of
your French salary if you have worked at least 4 weeks in France, or if this is not the case, it
will be determined on the basis of a reference salary.

B/ You are already receiving unemployment benefits in an EEA country

and have come to France to look for a job:

After 4 weeks registered as a job seeker in your country, you should ask the organisation
paying your unemployment benefits for an E303 form. You must then sign up in France as a
job seeker within 7 days following the removal of your name from the unemployment list in
your country of departure.

You will receive your unemployment benefits in France for a maximum duration of 3 months,
with the amount being determined by your remaining unemployment rights (under
exceptional circumstances, the organisations concerned can authorise your departure before
the end of the 4 weeks).

You should submit the E303 form to the ASSEDIC of your new place of residence, who will
then pay your unemployment benefits (for the maximum 3- month duration) on behalf of the
unemployment agency in your country of departure.

NB: the waiting time before receiving unemployment benefits can be quite long (especially if
you do not have the E303 form). Therefore, we recommend having enough money to cover
your living expenses in France while your application is being assessed.
On expiry of the 3 months (or even before), if you return to your country of departure (i.e.,
where you initially signed up for unemployment benefits), you can once again register to have

Working in France / Unemployment benefits / 1

your unemployment benefits re-started, whereby the amount will be determined by your
remaining rights. The period during which you received unemployment benefits because of
the E303 form will be subtracted from your remaining rights.
If you do not return to your country of departure before expiry of these 3 months, you
will lose any remaining unemployment benefits in your country of departure, unless
specific provisions to the contrary exist.

C) You have worked in France and have lost your job:

In this case, you must register in France as a job seeker and your personal situation will be
examined by the relevant French services. The ASSEDIC will pay unemployment benefits if
you satisfy the necessary conditions. Please note that, as from 1 January 2003, you must have
worked full- time (i.e., paid into the social welfare system) for at least 6 months during the 18
months preceding the loss of employment.
As explained in section A, the form E301 will be used by the ASSEDIC, when calculating
your unemployment entitlement, to take into account periods worked in another EEA country.

If, while receiving unemployment benefits in France, you decide to look for work in another
EEA country, you should ask your ASSEDIC for the E303 form which will entitle you to 3
months of unemployment benefits in the other EEA country (procedure same as case B
presented above).

If you decide to leave France immediately after losing your job (without first signing up as a
job seeker) in order to look for work in another EEA country, you will not be entitled to
receive any unemployment benefits unless you work for the minimum contribution period of
this country.
Before leaving France, we recommend getting the Work and Employment Service (Direction
Départementale du Travail et de l’Emploi) on which you depend to fill out the E301 form.
This form will be used by the unemployment agency in the EEA country where you want to
work to take into account the time you worked in France when calculating your
unemployment benefits.
For more information on the amount and duration of unemployment benefits, please refer to
the Internet site www.assedic.fr

D) You leave a job in an EEA country to go with your spouse (or partner)
who has found a job in France:

In this case, your resignation will be considered acceptable by French authorities. You may be
entitled to receive unemployment benefits in France if you have re-worked for at least 1 day
and have enough previous contributions in your country of departure.
Once again, you should have the E301 form filled out by the relevant organisation in your
EEA country of departure, and bring the form with you (see A).

EEC 1408/71 regulations.
CDE Ministerial Circular no 96.02 dated 22 January 1996
UNEDIC circular 96/10 dated 26 April 1996
ASSEDIC notice no 164

Working in France / Unemployment benefits / 2

• A.N.P.E: Agence Nationale Pour l’Emploi (French national employment agency:
• ASSEDIC: Association pour l’emploi dans l’Industrie et le Commerce (French
national organisation managing unemployment contributions and payments:

N.B.: the information given above is likely to change over time. Therefore,
we highly recommend consulting the www.assedic.fr Internet site before
your departure.

Working in France / Unemployment benefits / 3

TAXATION: Personal Income Tax
This section concerns taxation in France. It deals only with direct taxation of salaried
workers. This tax is referred to in France as I.R.P.P. (Impôt sur le Revenu des Personnes
Physiques). A number of other taxes are also detailed. If you have other sources of
income (financial instruments, property, etc.) or make capital gains in France, you will
also be subject to French tax legislation.
For more information, you can refer to the relevant section of the French Ministry for
Finance Internet site: www.finances.gouv.fr

Unlike some other countries, salaried employees in France are not taxed at source; each
salaried person (tax household) must calculate and pay their income on their own, and pay their
tax directly to the tax authorities.
In other words, in France the employer plays no role in determining, handling or paying
the personal income tax of its employees.

Each year, in February, the tax authorities send each tax household (married couple, declared
partners, single persons) a tax declaration form (“Déclaration des revenus”). The income to be
declared on this form is that of the previous year (year N). This declaration must be filled out and
returned within the allocated time to the tax authority, failing which penalties may be levied.
During year N+1 (year of declaration), the tax household will then pay its tax either by monthly
direct debit (10 monthly debits plus remainder in December) or by "provisional thirds"
payment in February, May and the outstanding balance in September (the thirds are
calculated on the basis of the previous year's tax). You may choose whichever of the two systems
suits you best in accordance with the tax authority.
The tax due for the first tax year will be paid in one operation around September of the following


Personal income tax is calculated on the basis of the net salary earned by the individual salaried
person, or by the couple.
As might be expected, the tax bill can be reduced depending on the specific situation of the given
tax household (personal expenses, donations, etc.).
Tax liability is calculated using a dependants' allowance system (“système du quotient familial”).
This allowance will be determined on the basis of the tax rate applicable to the tax bracket of the
given tax household. Its limit depends on the number of tax-deductible units (referred to as
“parts”) corresponding to the family situation and number of dependants of the taxpayer. The
current maximum tax bracket is 49.58% (finance law 2003).


- RDS (Reimbursement of the French social debt)

- CSG (General Social Security Levy).
The purpose of these levies is to reimburse the French social security debt. They are imposed on
all employees and are calculated on the basis of the employee’s income and a certain coefficient

Working in France / Taxation / 1

set by the government. A certain per cent of the CSG & RDS is reintegrated into the taxable
income and is liable for personal income tax.

For information, other taxes and levies include:

⇒ Property tax: this tax is calculated on the basis of the surface area and location of the
residence; it must be paid by the owner of the property.

⇒ Council tax: this tax is calculated on the basis of the location of the residence; it must be paid
by the person in the residence on 1 January of that year regardless of whether she/he is owner
or tenant.

⇒ Television licence: this is a yearly tax and must be paid if you have one or more television

⇒ VAT (Value Added Tax): there are 3 VAT brackets depending on the type of product.

France has signed tax agreements with most European Economic Area countries. The
purpose of these agreements is to avoid double taxation.

Working in France / Taxation / 2

In general, when you come to work in France, you will no longer be part of the social insurance system
of your country of departure; rather, you will be part of the French social insurance system.

A wide variety of forms exist, one or more of which you may need to live and work in France.

These forms will be issued by the appropriate social insurance and employment authorities in your
country of departure. A list of the most commonly required forms is given below. For more information,
we recommend referring to the EURES Internet site:
http://europa.eu.int/eures - Chapter Living and working conditions

Forms Relating To Sickness And Maternity Benefits

E 101:
This form is issued to your employer if you are seconded to France on a temporary basis (one year
maximum) but you continue to receive your salary from your normal country of residence. It may be
renewed once.
This form certifies that you are still protected by the social insurance of your country of departure.
It is only issued under certain conditions:
- the employer will continue to exercise its professional activity in your country of departure and
employs personnel in this country,
- there must be a direct link between your employer and yourself.

This form also covers the situation of a self-employed person intending to work in France for a
maximum period of 1 year. To be eligible, you must already be a self-employed person in your country
of departure and be able to prove that you pay your contributions to the appropriate social insurance

E 102:
Similar to E 101, but applies to an extension.

E 104:
This is a straightforward record of periods of social insurance, employment and residence in a particular
Member State.

E 106:
Certifies entitlement to health benefits in a country other than that in which the person concerned is
normally or was previously insured. Family members are also included.

E 109:
Although similar to E111, this form is issued to a person going to study or to work as an au pair in

Working in France / E Forms / 1

E 110:
Certifies the entitlement of persons to receive benefits in kind in France, if in your country you are
employed in the industrial sector, and travel frequently in France.

E 111:
Issued by the social security system of your country if you are coming to France for a short period, e.g.
on holiday or for a business trip. It must be presented when medical benefits in kind are required.
Family members accompanying the insured person are also covered if they are listed on the person’s
social insurance card.

E 119:
Certifies the entitlement of unemployed persons and members of their family to health care and benefits
in France, normally while the unemployed person is looking for work. Used in conjunction with
form E 303, which deals with entitlement to unemployment benefits (see below).

Forms relating to Unemployment Benefits

E 301:
Details the periods to be taken into account in calculating unemployment benefits.
You must obtain this form before leaving your country of departure.

E 302:
Details the members of the family of the unemployed person to be taken into account in calculating
benefits (NB: not required in France).

E 303:
A series of E303 forms exist; they certify your entitlements if you are receiving unemployment benefits in
your country and want to look for employment in France taking your entitlements with you (three
months maximum).
Before leaving your country of departure to look for work in France, you must submit the appropriate
E303 form to your local health authorities in order to obtain the E119 form (see above). Keep this form
and submit it to French health institutions if you need medical treatment.

When you arrive in France, hand in the E303 forms to the unemployment authorities (ASSEDIC) within
at most 7 clear days as from the issue date on the form issued by the unemployment authority in your
country of departure. This will entitle you to receive the same unemployment benefits to which you were
entitled in your country of departure. If you return to your country of departure before the E 303 expiry
date (3 months), you resume receiving benefits as if you had not left. If you return however after this
date, you lose all your rights, unless measures to the contrary exist.

Forms relating to Family Benefits

E 401:
Details the composition of your family in order to allow the calculation of family benefits.

Working in France / E Forms / 2

working life "TROISIEME CYCLE" = working life
postgraduate studies

"deuxième cycle" = Bachelor's


"premier cycle" = first two




working life


General and/or Technological

CAP (vocational

BEP (certificate


of technical

Y 16 to 18 years old
SECONDARY SCHOOL - Final Career Orientation O
("Cycle Secondaire de DETERMINATION") N
14 to 15 years old A

C SECONDARY SCHOOL - Initial Career Orientation

("Cycle Secondaire d'ORIENTATION")
13 to 15 years old
G ("Cycle Secondaire d'OBSERVATION")
E 11 to 13 years old


6 to 11 years old
3 to 6 years old

Public schools are free

Private schools and most of the Grandes Ecoles (prestigious schools) are paying
Internet site of French Ministry for Education: www.educ.gouv.fr
School holidays (pre-school, primary, secondary (collège & lycée): school year starts st week of September
First-term break: one week from end of October to beginning of November
Christmas holidays: two weeks from end of December to beginning of January
Second-term break: two weeks around the end of February to early March (exact dates vary between locations)
Spring holidays: two weeks during April (exact dates vary between locations)
End of school year: end of June
These dates can change from year to year: refer to Ministry for Education site/body for exact dates

Working in France / French Education System/ 1

For many years, the European partners tried to establish equivalence relations between European
diplomas. With the enlargement of Europe and the creation of a single market, the limits of this approach
soon became obvious. Nowadays, the focus is no longer on equivalence between diplomas, but rather on
diploma recognition between member states. That said, there is still no legal framework to determine
equivalence between diplomas and titles obtained in France and another European country.
A distinction must first be made between recognition for academic purposes (i.e.: you would like your title
to be recognised because you wish to continue your studies) and recognition for professional purposes (i.e.:
you would like your title to be recognised because you wish to work in a certain profession).
It is essential that you thoroughly research this subject in your country of departure before
coming to France.
For more information, please refer to the following web sites:
* European Commission:
which gives information on recognition of diplomas in the European Union
* EURES: http://europa.eu.int/eures
* NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centres: ): www.enic-naric.net


This is the procedure used within the European Economic Area to assess the possibility to exercise a
profession in a country other than the country in which the diploma was issued.
Once again, it is important to distinguish between regulated professions and non-regulated

Non-regulated professions (access not controlled by regulations ):

In this case, neither access to the profession, nor exercising the profession are regulated. You are subject
to the rules of the labour market. Your capacity to find work will depend on how your personal and
professional capacities are judged by potential employers.
Certificates issued by the French Ministry of Education through the local Education Authority ("rectorat")
when you have become a French resident can be used for information purposes (with an employer for
example) but they have no legal value.

Regulated professions :
1/ Specific directives have been issued for a number of professions providing for the automatic recognition
of diplomas or other qualifications. The holder of such diplomas or qualifications is free to exercise his/her
profession in another member state (directive 2001/19 EEC). These professions are: doctor, dentist, nurse,
veterinarian, pharmacist, mid-wife and architect.
2/ Regulated professions: the general system (no specific directive issued)
Professions in this category are regulated, i.e., they can only be accessed or exercised in a country if the
person in question has followed specific training courses and has achieved a specific diploma in that same
This is very often the case as regards the following professions: health, law, architecture, transport, etc.
In this case, a diploma achieved in another member states must first be recognised by an official competent
Working in France/ Recognition of Diplomas/ 1
To obtain this recognition, you should contact the competent Ministerial service or alternatively, the contact
point representing that profession (for example www.architectes.org; www.paris.barreau.fr).

For more information, please contact:

Ministère de l'Education Nationale

International affairs – NARIC France
4, rue Danton - 75006 Paris - Tél.:

Professions regulated in France are: lawyer, solicitor, consulting barristers, bailiff, Commercial court
clerk, notary, legal administrator, official receiver, auditor, accountant, auctioneer, speech therapist,
orthopedist, physiotherapist, psychomotion teacher, occupational therapist, psychologist, dietician, nurse's aide,
childcare aide, hearing aid specialist, optician, chiropodist, medical biology laboratory technician, patent rights
consultant, quantity surveyor, property agent, taxi driver, ambulance driver, ship’s captain, real estate agent,
driving instructor, teacher, secondary school teacher, third-level teacher, dancing teacher, regional tour
guide/interpreter, travel agent, welfare assistant, hairdresser.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. For more information, please contact your local Professions
Association (“Chambre des Métiers”) or Chamber of Commerce (“Chambre de Commerce”).


This refers to the process by which the education institution (University, school) in the host country where
you wish to pursue all or part of your studies, evaluates your diploma.

Please note that recognition is never granted automatically. The final decision belongs to the
education institution, and is made on a case-by-case basis.

A written request should be sent to the addresses given below, accompanied by certified true photocopies
of the original diploma and its translation (translated by a sworn translator1).
A description of the training course content should also be enclosed.

General Secondary School Teaching Diploma:

You should contact the secondary school where you wish to enrol. You can also obtain information,
elements of comparison, and a studies certificate with your school record by contacting the local education
authority (“rectorat”) of the region concerned (address available from EURES advisers) and from CIDJ
documentation (available in all ANPE offices) or from the Ministry of Education

Vocational Secondary School Teaching Diplomas:

Requests for information on pursuing your studies in France should be sent to French Ministry for
Ministère de l'Education Nationale
Direction de l’Enseignement Scolaire

The list of sworn translators is available in the foreign embassies in Paris, prefectures and town halls.
Working in France/ Recognition of Diplomas/ 2
Bureau DESCO A 6
110 rue de Grenelle
75007 PARIS
( or or

Third-level Education (access with a non-French diploma on completion of secondary school


In this case, you should contact the third-level school in which you wish to pursue your studies. You can
also find general information from the French Ministry for Education:
Ministère de l'Education Nationale
Délégation aux relations internationales – NARIC France
4, rue Danton - 75006 Paris - Tél.:

Students who wish to enrol in third-level education in France can be broken into 2 groups:

ΠStudents beginning third-level studies

To begin third-level studies in French, i.e. enrol in the “premier cycle” (the first 2 years of university),
you must apply to the third-level institution on receiving the title certifying the successful completion of your
secondary school studies.

• Students who have already commenced their studies outside France, and wish to pursue their studies in

Œ • To pursue in France third-level studies you have already commenced in your country, you
can submit your current diploma(s) to request exemptions in the host third-level institution, so as not to
have to start again from the beginning. Your diploma must be translated by a sworn translator and a
description of your studies must be enclosed.

The local education authority (“rectorat”) can also provide information on the corresponding level of your
studies based on the translation and your description of the course content.

Lastly, if you wish to pursue studies in regulated professions, you should contact the Ministries directly
concerned by the profession (medical, veterinary, odontology, pharmacy, paramedical, ambulance driver,
accounting, agronomy, agri-food industry, etc.).

Do not send any original documents to the services mentioned above.

Working in France/ Recognition of Diplomas/ 3

The removal of borders within the European Union opened new perspectives for cross-border
For the European Union, the cross-border worker is a national of a given European Union country
working in a member state, but living in another member state, who returns to his/her main place of
residence at least once a week.

However, for the tax authorities, the notion of cross-border worker varies depending on the
presence/absence and content of the appropriate bilateral tax agreeme nts.

The EURES network created 2 types of EURES cross-border advisers (EURES-T) to facilitate
cross-border mobility:
- EURES-T advisers specialised in information and job offers, working with European employment
public services;
- EURES-T social advisers working with trade union and employer organisations for European
Economic Area countries, specialised in social legislation issues.

For contact details, please refer to the site: http://europa.eu.int/eures

Cross-border workers are entitled to the complete benefits of free movement to the exclusion of all
types of discrimination. The member states acknowledge the rights of such people to reside on their
territory without requiring a residency permit.

Cross-border workers are entitled to unemployment benefits in their country of residency in
accordance with the legislation of this country. The exact amount of such benefits is calculated on
the basis of their most recent salary.
Required form: E 301 of the country of employment.


- Benefits in kind (medical care, hospital expenses, medication, etc.) can be reimbursed either in the
country of residency, or in the country of employment, depending on where the medical services are
Required forms: E 104 & E 106.
- Benefits paid in cash (indemnities for work incapacity or lost earnings) are always paid in the
country of employment.

- Cross-border workers are entitled to family allowance granted by the legislation of the country of
employment, unless the worker’s spouse or a member of his/her family works or receives
indemnities for lost earnings in the country of residency.
- Since 10 October 1990, cross-border workers (salaried or non-salaried) are entitled to recoup any
differences which may exist in family allowance benefits between the country of residency and the
country of employment.
In practice, the greater amount is paid.

Working in France / Cross-border workers/

Employees do not receive their pension automatically; they must apply for it.
Pension applications are always made in the country of residency, regardless of the
country/countries of employment.
Pension settlements and payment are made by each country concerned according to its own
legislation in proportion to the time worked.
A number of special conditions exist, notably concerning the legal retirement age which differs
between countries.

Cross-border workers must pay their taxes in the country of employment. If a tax agreement exists
between France and a border country, the terms and conditions of this agreement must be followed.

N. B.:
The criteria used to determine "border zones" and "border status" conditions are determined
exclusively by the applicable tax agreement. These criteria vary between countries.
In order to avoid double taxation, specific forms are available from the appropriate tax authorities:

EU nationals residing in France and working ð 276 F form (French-speaking area) or

in Belgium 276 G form (Dutch-speaking area)

EU nationals residing in France and working ð Form 5011

in Germany Form 5011A for ETT(temporary work
EU nationals residing in France and working ð Ask employer for tax exemption certificate to
in Spain be submitted to the Spanish tax authorities
(form no. 2)
EU nationals residing in Spain and working ð As above
in France
For Italy ð Please contact the tax authorities on both sides
of the border
EU nationals residing in Belgium and ð Tax declaration 5206
working in France
EU nationals residing in Germany and ð Form S2240
working in France
Luxembourg There is no cross-border tax régime between
France and Luxembourg.
Monaco A tax agreement has been signed between
France and Monaco

Please note that, as a general rule, cross-border workers residing in France and paying taxes in
another country should declare this revenue to the French tax authorities.

Working in France / Cross-border workers/

Please note
Internet sites constantly appear, disappear and evolve; therefore, this section should be considered a starting point to be
used for further research and to address some of the main issues.
First, you should identify the sites most likely to meet your requirements.

As regards job-offer sites (not including those of official organisations), a general charter of good practices was
developed by 4 recruiters (see www.appei.org).


http://fr.yahoo.com www.adminet.com/comp
www.google.fr www.bottin.fr
www.nomade.tiscali.fr www.pagesjaunes.fr
www.voila.fr www.europages.com
www.lycos.com www.societe.com
www.webcrawler.com www.cofacerating.fr
www.excite.com www.indexa.fr
www.altavista.com www.business-in-europe.com
www.euroseek.com www.kompass.fr (fees charged)
www.telexport.tm.fr (fees charged)


www.viamichelin.com www.urssaf.fr
www.mappy.com www.industrie.gouv.fr/eic
www.sncf.fr www.acfci.cci.fr
www.maporama.com www.greffe-tc-paris.fr


www.teletravail.net www.handijob.org

(sites listed in alphabetical order)

www.afpa.fr Lists of intensive and standard training courses
www.ccip.fr Go the training section
www.centre-inffo.fr Lists of ongoing adult training courses
www.cidj.com Youth information and information centre
www.edufrance.fr General information on training courses in France
www.generation-formation.fr Information on ongoing adult education
www.onisep.fr Career guidance, studies, courses and professions
www.anvar.fr France Innovation Agency
www.cadresonline.com/lisfonc.html Online salary simulation for professional/managerial employees
www.cfce.fr International commerce
www.cyber-emploi-centre.com Employment portal of the City Hall of Paris
www.drire.gouv.fr Regional industry and research departments
www.galileo-france.com Entrepreneurs community (lists of companies and ads)
www.ifri.org French institute for international relations
www.inpi.fr Industrial property institute of France
www.insee.fr French institute of statistics & economic studies.
www.service-public.fr French public administration portal

www.afij.org Job offers for young graduates
www.annonces-carrieres.com Job offers (subscription required to access all sections)
www.anpe.fr National Employment Agency
www.apec.asso.fr National Employment Agency for Professional/Managerial
www.cadremploi.fr Recruiting agency job offers
www.caesium.fr/@lphajobs/ Job offers in IT sector
www.competences-emploi.com Online magazine of companies who recruit
www.contact-emploi.com Job offers and CV posting
www.cortex-culturemploi.com Job offers in the cultural sector
www.crefac.com List of Internet site with job offers (under “ABC emploi”)
www.demain.fr Employment and training television
www.dynarel.fr Job offers for technicians and IT professions
www.emploi.com Job offers (all professions)
www.emploi.org Companies which recruit on the Internet
www.e-go.fr Job offers for young graduates
http://europa.eu.int/eures Database of European job offers - EURES portal (EC)
www.jobpilot.fr Job offers (all professions)
www.jobuniverse.fr Job offers in the IT sector
www.lerucher.com Job offers (all professions)
www.les-pages-emploi.com Links to employment sites
www.monster.fr Database of job offers
www.planet-emploi.com Job offers, intensive and standard training courses
www.pleinemploi.com List of job offers taken from the press of the “Nord” region
www.recrut.com Job offers
www.stepstone.fr Job offers
www.webcible.com Job offers in the IT sector
www.lhotellerie.com Job offers in the hotel/catering sectors