FRANCE | Major Overhaul of Work Permit Rules Brings New Opportunities

A stagnate economy and slow job creation has prompted the French government to pursue reforms of their labor market and immigration structures. As part of the reform, a major overhaul of France’s employment-based immigration system presents some new opportunities for companies and foreign national employees with two new permit categories and short-term assignment exemptions for some activities. However, significant uncertainty regarding certain changes in the application procedures has brought forth some challenges as well.

France’s Labor Market Challenges and Opportunities

Until the 1990s, France was among Europe’s most vibrant economies with solid annual GDP growth of around 5 percent. However, since that time the country’s economy has faltered and is currently perceived by many economists to be among the weakest in Europe, with IHS Markit going so far as to label it Europe’s economic “weakest link.” Slow market trends and high unemployment rates only add to many of these perceptions, as France’s economy is only growing by an anemic 1.5 percent, and the country faces a persistent unemployment rate of 10 percent.