7. The right to work
You do not have the right to work during the first few months of your asylum request in France.
If, after 6 months since filing your asylum application (until the 1st of March 2019, the delay is 9 months), the Ofpra has not made a decision on your asylum application, you can apply for a work permit.
If you are appealing, as long as the CNDA court has not ruled on an asylum application, it is still pending. But French law only provides access to paid work during the Ofpra procedure.
- Possibility 1 - your application has been rejected by OFPRA less than 6 the months (until the 1st of March 2019, the delay is 9 months) after filing your request, you have lodged an appeal with the CNDA and the court has not given its ruling yet: you cannot apply for a work permit.
- Possibility 2 - your asylum application was registered more than 6 months ago (until the 1st of March 2019, the delay is 9 months) and your file is still being examined by the Ofpra. If you submit an application for a work permit, the administration must examine it even if you are subsequently rejected and you lodge an appeal before the CNDA.
A. Steps to take to obtain this work permit
1. Find an employer and get them to complete a file including
- An employment contract (it must be for longer than 3 months) drawn up on a special form;
- Several documents regarding the company.
2. Report to the prefecture with this file
This file must be presented to the prefecture of the department where you live. The prefecture (specifically the “Direccte” or Direction régionale des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l’emploi) may grant or refuse a work permit (for example if there are many unemployed persons in France who could hold this position…).
In case of refusal, you can appeal this decision before a court: to do so, contact an association for the defense of foreigners or a lawyer.
When you have obtained the work permit, you may begin working for this employer.
At the end of your contract (fixed term, interim work), or in the case of involuntary loss of your employment (you are let go), you have the right to register with Pôle emploi (the French unemployment office).
Asylum seekers may benefit from different types of vocational training (contact Pôle emploi for details).
B. The specific case of unaccompanied foreign minors
Unaccompanied foreign minors (MIE) taken care of by child welfare (l’Aide sociale à l’enfance) are entitled to a work permit if they present an apprenticeship or professionalization contract.
If they apply for asylum, they must be allowed to continue their contract while the asylum application is being processed.