Home Travel & Adventure Over 5.4 Million Jobs in France Closed Off to Non-EU Foreigners

Over 5.4 Million Jobs in France Closed Off to Non-EU Foreigners


Over 5.4 million jobs remain inaccessible to non-European foreigners in France due to required diplomas or qualifications and necessary authorisation procedures, the Observatory of Inequalities has revealed.

The majority of these jobs (4.1 million) are public service positions, whereas more than a million are private sector jobs, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Regarding public sector jobs,  the Observatory of Inequalities noted that European legislation mandates that states open competitions for civil service positions, but only for citizens of European Union member states.

These competitions, therefore, always remain closed to other non-European foreigners who, for example, cannot become school teachers.

The Observatory of Inequalities

However, non-European foreigners can work in specific occupations as contractors, which means non-permanent workers.

As per the same source, only two categories of civil service positions are accessible to all foreigners: hospital doctors and university teacher-researchers, amounting to a total of 140,000 jobs.

A large part of the so-called “sovereignty” jobs (defence, taxes, police, diplomacy, etc.) remain completely closed to foreigners, even Europeans, by law. The revision of the general civil service code in September 2022 did not remove nationality requirements.

The Observatory of Inequalities

However, the Observatory of Inequalities observed progress in this matter, noting several institutions that have eliminated the nationality requirement for recruitment.

Between 2001-2002,  RATP, managers of Paris public transport, social security organisations, EDF-GDF (now Engie and GRDF), and La Poste removed the rule that required applicants to be of a certain nationality for hiring.

Following its privatisation in 2003, Air France started to accept foreign applicants for employment.

Meanwhile, SNCF removed nationality recruitment under the special railway worker status in 2020, offering about 120,000 jobs for foreigners born outside the European Union.

Professions of Private Sector Closed to Foreigners in France

Certain occupations in the French private sector are not accessible to foreigners because only French diplomas are recognised. Overall, these professions are related to the medical and legal sectors.

However, the Observatory of Inequalities noted that foreign nationals can practice these professions if they possess a French diploma or obtain equivalent qualifications.

For example, a young foreigner who has studied in France can work as a dentist if they hold a diploma from a French school. The process of recognising foreign diplomas is very long and, in some cases, impossible, depending on the profession.

The Observatory of Inequalities

Among professions not accessible to non-European foreigners are as follows:

  • Tobacco retailers (tobacco shops)
  • Directors of security or detective agencies
  • Notaries
  • Officers of the Merchant Navy
  • Court bailiffs
  • Administrators and judicial trustees

Meanwhile, professions that can be practised by non-EU nationals, provided that they hold French diplomas, are as follows:

  • Nurses outside the hospitals
  • Medical laboratory technicians
  • Opticians
  • Medical electrobiology manipulators
  • Speech therapists
  • Psychomotor therapists and occupational therapists
  • Ambulance drivers
  • Chiropodists-podiatrists
  • Dieticians
  • Orthoptists
  • Hearing aid acousticians

Furthermore, professions subject to prior authorisation for practice include occupations such as doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, pharmacists, lawyers, dentists, architects, midwives, accountants, statutory auditors, veterinarians, and surveying experts.

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