Many international students wish to pursue higher studies in French universities for quality, exposure, and experience.The enrollment of international students experienced an 8% increase during the period of 2021-22, reaching a total of over 400,000 students, as per news reports. The long-term goal of studying in France for many is to work there and potentially settle.
However, international students may encounter challenges securing employment and remaining in France due to the country's immigration policies and cut-throat competition in the job market. This article will help you explore the rules and regulations you must adhere to as an international student if you intend to stay back in France after master’s.
Table of Contents
- Types of Student Visas in France
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- Why Choose France
- Stay Back Option in France After Masters
- Stay Back Options in France After Bachelor’s
- Benefits of Post-Study Visa in France
- Is Staying Back in France after Master’s Difficult?
- Job Opportunities After Master’s in France
Types of Student Visas in France
France offers three types of visas for international students; let’s understand what these are:
1. Short-Stay Visa
This visa is for those students who come to France to attend short courses offered by universities for 90 days, either in the spring or summer months. This visa cannot be renewed and expires at the end of the three months.
2. Temporary Long-Stay Visa (VLS-TS)
This visa is for those students who come to France to attend training courses of three to six months duration. This cannot be renewed either.
3. Long Stay Visa (Student Visa)
It is for students who come to France to attend courses for more than six months. Long-stay visa is equivalent to a residence permit in France. It enables students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees, to work in France. This visa can be renewed, subject to certain terms and conditions.
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Why Choose France
France is laden with opportunities for students with advanced degrees. France, especially Paris, is the hub for start-up companies; opportunities to grow and expand are plenty. According to the QS World University Ranking 2023, 33 universities rank among the top most. This makes France one of the best places to study for overseas students. With an average base salary of EUR 49,000 per year, France has become a place of attraction for people all around the world.
Moreover, students who have obtained a master’s or higher degree from a French university can work part-time in the country for up to two years after their studies. Resultantly, your route to stay back in France will become much smoother. In 2013, the French Embassy in India facilitated travel for Indians holding French degrees. All French universities Indian alumni are now eligible for a tourist or business visa for four years, provided that they have a Master’s or higher degree.
Stay Back Option in France After Masters
While Pursuing Master’s
Stay back option in France comes with an advantage for master’s students, as their long-stay visa also grants them a residence permit. Therefore, they don’t require a separate work permit. This residence permit allows students to be employed part-time for up to 964 hours a year, i.e., approximately 20 hours a week. In the course of part-time employment, if a student finds employment with a minimum wage guarantee of EUR 53,836.50 annually, then he/she is eligible for a work permit.
Post-Completion of Master’s
On completion of a master’s course in France, you can avail a temporary residence permit that is valid for two years. If you get a job over these two years, you can request your company sponsor your permanent residence or work permit.
Moreover, the long-stay visa comes with another advantage for graduates who have left France after completing a master's level qualification at a nationally-approved educational institution in France. These individuals, after graduation, can intend to return within four years to seek employment or establish a business. Therefore, their long-stay visa serving as a residence permit (VLS-TS) is marked as “Job Search/Business Creation.”
Stay Back Options in France After Bachelor’s
In order to remain in France following your graduation, as a non-European student, you are required to have a job offer or employment contract and receive a salary equivalent to at least one and a half times the minimum wage (that is EUR 53,836.50 gross per annum as of May 2023).
If you do not have a job offer or employment contract after your course completion, you can apply for an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS), a temporary resident permit. This permit is valid for twelve months and cannot be renewed. During this period, the student can search for employment opportunities in France. To be eligible for the APS, the student must hold a professional Bachelor's or Master's degree or establish their own company.
Talent Passport for Foreign Nationals
Talent Passport is a multi-year residence permit that holds the same status as a work permit, granting the holder the ability to participate in salaried professional activities without the need for additional procedures. Throughout the duration of the residence permit's validity, the holder is permitted to work as an employee.
You become eligible for Talent Passport if you are able to provide the following proof as a foreign employee:
- Either a permanent employment contract or a fixed-term employment contract for a minimum of 12 months by a France employer.
- A qualification attained after completing a minimum of three years of higher education or presenting documents validating equivalent professional experience of at least five years.
- As set by decree, a gross annual salary of at least 1.5 times the average annual gross salary, i.e., €53,836.50 as of May 1, 2023.
In case of job change, if the eligibility criteria continue to meet, changing employers and taking up a new position is possible.
Benefits of Post-Study Visa in France
If you end up securing a post-study visa, the benefits that you will get are numerous:
1. There won’t be any travel restrictions on traveling to Schengen countries for up to five years, as you won’t require a separate Schengen visa.
2. You can visit VISALE, the local visa office, free of cost for any visa and immigration-related difficulties.
3. You’ll be eligible to receive rental subsidies on housing.
4. Lastly and most importantly, you can renew your work permit, which is the ideal advantage as staying back in France after your Master’s will be worry-free.
Visa Fee in France
A student visa (long-stay) along with the visa application costs EUR 99.
Is Staying Back in France after Master’s Difficult?
It is not difficult if you plan and strategize smartly. From the time you start your degree, you must have a clear goal in mind and work towards it diligently. Prove your skills to employers and take advantage of the 20 hours part-time employment rule, and network with companies during your degree. If you start the process of networking and relationship-building early, by the time you finish your studies, it will be much easier for you to find employment. Once you find employment, the road to staying back in France permanently and obtaining a permanent residence permit will become easier.
Job Opportunities After Master’s in France
Based on the 2023 report, France has an employment rate of 68.60 percent, which opens pathway for you to explore a plethora of job opportunities in France. Moreover, the completion of a Master’s program in France offers you with an average base salary of EUR 43,000 annually. Whether you have attained your Master’s degree in engineering, hospitality, tourism, or management, there is no shortage of options available for you to pursue your career in France. Holding a degree from a French university will only bolster your resume and impress employers. Being from a foreign country, studying in France, and adapting to the culture and environment is not easy. Completing a degree and finding employment is even harder. If you are already pursuing a degree from a university in France, you must be well-versed with the innumerable benefits that it provides. If you are still figuring out what to do, keep these valuable pointers in mind. Staying back in France after your Master’s will not only put your degree to good use but also guarantee you a quality life, unforgettable experiences, and immense opportunities to grow.
Can I stay back in France after my Master’s?
Yes, it is possible to stay back in France after completing your master's degree by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (APS).
What is a Temporary Visa Permit (APS)?
International students who have completed their studies and obtained a degree from a French higher education institution can remain in France for an additional year by applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (APS). With the APS in hand, you can explore employment opportunities or initiate the process of establishing your own company.
Can I work in France if I have an APS or Temporary Resident permit?
Yes, you can do part-time work in France if you hold an APS or Temporary Resident permit. You are permitted to work under the same conditions as students unless you have signed a work contract. This means that you can work for a maximum of 964 hours, which is equivalent to approximately 20 hours per week.
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