Supporting yourself financially while you’re studying is something that will be tiring but rewarding as well. Especially if you’re studying in a foreign country like France and you want to keep living there after you graduate. Working in France while studying there is something common and possible, plus it’s a great way for you to practice your French! Read on to learn more about what you need to get a job, what kind of job to look for and where.
Your working rights as an international student in France
Let’s start off by learning a few rules on working as a student in France:
1. Every student has the right to work while studying in France.
However if you’re not a European student you will need a student resident permit to be allowed to work, and you can generally work fewer hours per week (part-time).
2. You are entitled to the minimum wage.
Regardless of your residential status, you are entitled by law to minimum wage, also known as the SMIC (Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance).
It is €9.76 gross per hour as of January 1st, 2018. This wage is gross; you have to deduct mandatory social charges (about 20%) to find out how much you really take: €7.61/hour.
If you work 10 hours per week for the minimum wage, you will earn about €78 net.
3. You can work at your host university.
In France, foreign students can also work at their host University or Institute. The work contracts last up to 12 months from September 1st to August 31st. They do work such as:
- Receiving students at the start of their academic year
- Cultural sports and activities
- Assistance for students with disabilities etc.
Basically, your job would be contributing to the well-being and social atmosphere of the University. You would also have your working hours added to your timetable and classes in order to help you get a job in the future.
4. You can do an internship as part of your program.
Some degrees, in order to prepare for them require you to complete an internship first. Both foreign students and French students are subject to the same rules as follow:
- The internship must be contractual, the establishment host has to sign the contract for the student.
- If the internship lasts more than two months, the student must be paid €577,50 per month.
Tips for working in France:
Learn the language
Of course, it is no surprise that in order to get a job in France (most jobs at least) you have to know French. Some companies look to hire English speaking employees and knowing French is not so important but they are very rare, so get to learning!
If you’ve been studying in France for some time now, it won’t be as difficult since you’re probably going to be studying French in University. You can also start learning French in online language apps such as: Duolingo and Babbel. Also take courses from Académie Française or Leboncoin. Sart making French friends, pick up a French grammar book, anything that will help you learn the language.
Make a French CV
This means making your CV a little more complicated than you’re used to. The more experience and higher levels of employment – the longer the description. There’s also debate on whether or not to put a picture in your CV since most French agencies will require one, if they do, put a simple professional picture of you (an ID kind of picture) nothing too eye-catching like holding something (a drink, a book) or wearing bright clothes and/or makeup.
Finding a good job right away is almost impossible anywhere, especially in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language fluently. Simple jobs like waitressing or teaching can be helpful for you to fill up your CV with experience, and slowly get a job you really want until you learn the language.
Look in the right places
Sites like Erasmusu, Monster, Keljob, Recrut, Pole Emploi, The APEC, and Cadremploi are a good way to start looking for available jobs for you. You can also use Linkedin and Facebook to connect with people and agencies.
This means getting your paperwork ready and carrying it with you at all times in case you need it. Documents like:
- Your CV
- Copies of your Passports
- Health Card
- Working papers
- Old payslips
- Household bills
- Any other document that the employer might ask from you
The French employment system is more difficult so you need to research about the differences in work contracts and what applies to you.
Best student jobs in France
1. Café jobs
This means not only in cafés but also working in malls, restaurants, any place that offers service. France is a big country with a lot of cafés, which means they are always looking for new help. Especially English speaking people that would add more diversity to the staff.
2. Assistant at an University
You can apply to get a research assistantship or a graduate assistantship at a University. The job would entail attending tutorials with professors, writing in literature, assisting in research, any help the professor needs.
3. Other jobs at Universities
As mentioned before, you can take Internships at your host University by helping with the morale of the students. But you can also get a job at a University like working at the university’s international office or the marketing office, they usually have job posts in their websites so look for your chosen University and see if they have a vacancy for you.
Working in France after graduation
So you want to keep working and living in France after graduation. Maybe it’s the buttery croissants or the astonishing architecture, whatever it is there are solutions if you still want to work in France after you graduate.
If you’re a European student:
Good news! Foreign students who are from a country in the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland, can stay in France to work after they graduate, for as long as they like. If you are under 28 years old, you can also work as an international volunteer in a French administrative office or company abroad.
If you’re a Non-European student:
Those who’d like to stay in France after graduation are required to have a work contract or a promise of employment and be paid one and a half times the minimum wage €2,220 gross per month in 2017.
Without the promise of employment or work contract, a Non-European graduate may request an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS – temporary resident permit) valid for 12 months and non-renewable, while they find a job in France. To do this, they must have a professional Bachelor’s or a Master’s-level degree or be in the process of starting a company.
Students from countries with bilateral agreements with France benefit from particular conditions regarding the issuance of their provisional residence permit (APS): (Senegal, Gabon, Benin, Tunisia, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Lebanon, India). Check out the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or contact the Campus France Office in these countries for additional information about your situation.