Sunday, November 20, 2011

Circulaire Guéant: So foreign fresh grad could no longer get a work visa in France?

A while back I was invited to a small celebration in an office because someone was going on vacation. It is a tradition here, that someone would bring in chocolate breads, croissants and some juices and invite coworkers to have a small breakfast gathering. Most of the time it was for birthday, a new born in the family, a retirement...This was the first time I got invited because something was going for vacation.

Anyway, I met a fresh grad who just got hired. He told me about the new laws that just got implemented in France, where foreign fresh grads were being refused the working visa and police actually came to the work place to escort him out of the country. "Wow" was my response. I didn't really believe him because as far as I know, it was quite easy to get a working visa in France.

Thing changed without me realizing. Last week I got an email from a coworker, who said his goodbye as his working permit was removed from the Prefecture and he has to stop working from that day on. I didn't know it was that serious until I see the real case. Same thing happened to my teammates who had to stop working as their working visa expired and the prefecture refused to extend it.

All these are due to the new laws: Circulaire Guéant which is aimed to refuse professional working visa in France. A report says that this could affect around 60 thousands applications.

Seeing what is happening, I just want to say that sometimes we just need to have luck. I was one of the last person hired in my company in 2008. Since then most of the IT companies had hiring freeze and it only got restarted in 2010. I just talked to a coworker from Benin (a country in West Africa), she was super happy as she found this job quick easily, now I'm not sure if she is going to stay for long.

France is not the first country trying to limit professional immigrants. In 2004, when I tried to get a job in the USA, I was told that the quota for professional visa had reduced to 50k a year. Basically, all 50k were gone the day it was opened for application. I had a good lead with a Taiwanese company, but the HR checked with the lawyer and told me that there was no more quota for H1B visa. My friend who worked in my X company recommended me to the HR, was told the same thing, they didn't want to hire people who needed a H1B. I would just say that I had no luck, because despite all these talking, big companies still managed to hire foreign graduates, my friend was hired by Citibank at the same period. I think big companies have their own kind of quota.

Anyway, I just hope this is temporarily. I don't think foreigners are stealing jobs from the French. At least for the IT lines, there is huge demand and most fresh grads find their first job fairly easy. Those who are unemployed are mostly the unskilled or workers with little qualifications. It is just a waste of time and money for the companies to go through the process and hire foreigners just to later found that the country would not want to grant them visa.

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