How to Work in France During and After Your Studies
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How to Work in France During and After Your Studies

Written by Hannah Slack

As one of the most famous cultural hubs in the world, France is an exciting destination to begin your career. With a thriving entrepreneur culture, countless hospitality companies and beautiful tourist attractions, why wouldn’t you want to dive in and get involved?

Whether you’re about to embark on your PhD and are looking for an extra source of income or want to know about your career options after graduation, this guide will take you through everything you need to know. Covering student jobs, work visas and career opportunities for both French and English speakers, here’s how to work in France during and after your postgraduate degree.

How to work while studying in France

Studying in France can be a little expensive and so many students take up part-time work during their degree. This could be in the form of on-campus or off-campus permanent contracts, holiday or ad hoc work, internships or even apprenticeships.

In France, all students have the right to work on or off campus although restrictions differ if you’re an international student. While you do not need a specific French work visa, non-EU/EEA students must have a student residence permit to work. As a PhD student, you’ll be required to have the French long-stay visa. As this only allows you to study in France for up to a year you’ll then need to apply for a multi-annual residence permit (carte de séjour pluriannuelle) which also allows you to work.

How many hours can you work as a student in France?

In order to ensure employment does not hinder academic progress, there is a limitation on the number of hours international students can work in France. While there is no restriction on home students, universities will provide their own recommended hours cap.

  • Students from EU/EEA: European students have the same working rights as French students.
  • Students from other countries: Foreign students are permitted to work up to 964 hours per year, or the equivalent of 60% of a full-time job. This allowance is slightly less for Algerian nationals. The Franco-Algerian Agreement of December 27, 1968 restricts students to working up to 50% of the maximum full-time hours. Internationals seeking to work longer hours will be required to obtain a provisional French work permit, most likely the autorisation provisoire de travail (APT).

Minimum wage, commonly called the Smic (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance), is guaranteed to all students. As of summer 2023, this is €11.52 per hour pre deductions. While working you may be required to pay social security contributions which currently total 20% of your pay.

If you apply for a job at your university there might be different restrictions on student hours. University jobs typically will not provide more than 670 working hours between September 1 and June 30, the key semester dates. Students will then be allowed to work up to an additional 300 hours between July 1 and August 31.

What jobs can you get as a student in France?

There are many different types of jobs available to students, whether you’re proficient in French or an English speaker.

On-campus jobs

Universities offer student jobs all year round. These can involve regular contract hours or ad hoc roles. As a PhD student, there will be opportunities to undertake teaching assistant and research assistant roles. Some other common student jobs in France appropriate for postgraduates include welcoming new students (once you have completed a year of study), tutoring, organising and supporting cultural or sporting events, aiding students with disabilities or running student amenities such as campus bars or shops. All student jobs will be scheduled around your academic responsibilities.

Off-campus jobs

As mentioned, France’s thriving tourism and cultural industries makes the country ripe for part-time work. From restaurants and bars to art galleries or city tours, there are plenty of opportunities for postgraduate students to earn alongside their studies. Make sure to let your employer know the demands, restrictions and schedule of your degree to avoid potential clashes in expectations.


Whether you’re required to complete an internship as part of your degree or independently want to gain work experience, both French and international students are subject to the same regulations. Internships require a signed agreement between your university and the institution of proposed work. If the contract lasts more than two months then the student must be paid compensation of €600.60 per month. Internships that are completed as part of a degree do not count towards the 964 hours of permitted work.

Apprenticeships and professional training

Apprenticeships and vocational training opportunities are only available to PhD students in their second year of study onwards. If the number of contracted hours exceeds the international limit for non-EU students, your employer must apply for a temporary work permit.

How to find a student job in France

The best way to find and apply for student jobs in France is through your university's student services. Here you’ll find advertisements for both on and off-campus opportunities. Other options include looking at popular international student sites, such as Erasmusu, or French student job boards like Letudiant. Typically, job descriptions will indicate whether the role is suitable for English-speakers not fluent in French.

Working in France after graduation

If you’re near completion of your postgraduate degree, you may be considering entering the job market in the country. France has a lot to offer postgraduates, particularly those looking to run their own start-up. However, there are a few restrictions in place on who can work in France and how long you have to find a job.

EU/EEA graduates

Anyone with an EU/EEA status may live and work for as long as they like in France. Additionally, if you are under the age of 28 then you’re also eligible to work as an international volunteer in the French administrative office or at a company abroad.

Non-EU/EEA graduates

In order to stay in France, international graduates must have the promise of employment or a work contract in place ready for the end of their course. You must be contracted to receive at least one and a half times the minimum wage.

If you do not have a promise of employment in place, international graduates will need to request an Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS – temporary resident permit) while searching for a job. Applications should be sent to the Prefecture which is usually a free process. The French APS visa is valid for 12 months and is non-renewable. Until you can sign a fixed or indefinite employment contract, you will only be authorised to work the same hours as students which totals approximately 20 hours a week.

How to find work in France

To get a job in France you will need an industry-relevant CV and cover letters. Some common ways to find permanent full-time jobs in France are through the Pôle Emploi (Employment Centre) which lists job ads from all major sites. Job fairs are also a common occurrence and can be a useful way to secure interviews.

Many universities and student focused businesses help graduates find work. Make sure to contact your university’s career service when reaching the end of your course. The Bureau d’Aide à l’Insertion Professionnelle (BAIP – Professional Insertion Assistance Offices) advertise local job opportunities and can offer advice to students looking for work. Additionally, make sure to research online platforms such as France Alumni which are specific communities to help foreign graduates learn about and find career opportunities in France.

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Last Updated: 17 November 2023