You can help pay for your education by working part-time while you're enrolled.

Working while enrolled

International students have the right to work while studying in France as long as they are enrolled in an institution that participates in the national student health-care plan. Students who are not nationals of EU member countries must also hold a valid residency permit. The right to work applies to all students, inlcuding those who are in France for the first time, those who are enrolled in the first year of a university program, and those who are enrolled full-time in a language school. 

The law allows students to work 964 hours in a given year, which corresponds to 60% of full-time employment for the year. Remember that you can't expect to meet all of your expenses by working part-time, so you must have other means of support.

France has a national minimum hourly wage, known as the SMIC. The SMIC presently stands at € 9,67 gross per hour worked since january 1, 2016, before mandatory withholding for social benefits. Withholding reduces the worker's net wage by about 20%. 

You are no longer required to obtain temporary employment authorization (APT, Autorisation Provisoire de Travail) in order to work part-time while enrolled. (Exception: Algerian students are still covered by the Franco-Algerian agreement of December 27, 1968.) 

Working at a university

International students are also eligible for student jobs at universities and other public institutions of higher education. Students are hired to provide the following services: assisting incoming students; helping disabled students; providing tutoring; providing IT support and assistance; coordinating and staffing cultural, athletic, and social events; working in the career center; and supporting their institution's promotional efforts. 

Student employment contracts are offered for a period not to exceed 12 months. They run from September 1 through August 31. Students may work up to 670 hours between September 1 and June 30, and up to 300 hours between July 1 and August 31. 

Student employees follow a work schedule that will not interfere with their studies. The terms and conditions of employment specified in the contract are adapted to the requirements of each student's program so as to ensure academic success while also offering work experience. 

Working after graduation

International students holding a master’s degree or the equivalent

Students who have earned at least a master’s degree or the equivalent may apply for a one-time (nonrenewable) temporary residency authorization (APS, autorisation provisoire de séjour) valid for 12 months beyond the date of expiration of the student’s residency permit. The authorization enables the student to work at any job up to the limit of 60% of the official work week (that is, just over half-time employment).

Students who obtain a job related to their academic program at a rate of compensation equal to at least 1.5 times the national minimum wage may enter full-time employment by filing a request for change of status (from student to employee) at their prefecture.

Other students

Other students may also accept employment under certain circumstances. They must obtain a change of status (from student to employee) and follow a special procedure. 

In response to the high rate of unemployment in France, employment is limited to the following 14 occupations (decree of August 11, 2011): 

- Audit and financial control manager
- Furniture and wood products manufacturing equipment operator
- Mechanical product planner / designer

- Quality conformity inspector
- Building and public works draftsman

- Merchandiser
- Information systems production and operation engineer

- Glass manufacturing equipment operator

- Remote service and sales agent

- Operator of basic mechanical production unit
- Electrical and electronic products designer
- Manufacturing processes intervention technician
- Chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment operator

- Furniture and wood product processes intervention technician

Applicants for employment authorization must submit an employment contract or offer of employment from a French firm. In adjudicating the application, the authorities will take several criteria into account, including the firm’s motives, the applicant’s background, and the amount of time the applicant has spent in French higher education.

The "Compétence et talent" permit

The purpose of the "skills and talents" permit (3 years, renewable) is to facilitate the entry into France of foreigners who are likely to contribute in a significant and sustained way to the economic development or intellectual, scientific, cultural, humanitarian, or athletic advancement of France or their country of origin. 

The permit is granted in view of the content, nature, and interest of the applicant's plans. Holders of the permit may engage in any form of professional activity that is consistent with the plans stated in the application.