7. The right to work

All the versions of this article:

[ Latest update : 30 August 2021 ]

You do not have the right to work during the first few months of your asylum application in France.

If the Ofpra has not made a decision on your asylum application 6 months after you filed it, you can apply for a work permit.

Note : If you have appealed the Ofpra rejection decision, as long as the CNDA court has not ruled on your asylum application, it is still pending. But French law only provides access to the labor market during the procedure before the Ofpra.

- Hypothesis 1 - your application has been rejected by the Ofpra less than 6 months after filing your request. You appealed before the CNDA and have not gotten any answer from the CNDA yet —> you cannot apply for a work permit.

- Hypothesis 2 - your asylum application was registered over 6 months ago and your case is still being examined by the Ofpra —> the administration will have to review your application for a work permit (even if the OFPRA eventually rejects your application, and you decide to appeal before the CNDA).

Note : People placed in the Dublin procedure are only allowed to work 6 months after their application is set under the responsibility of the Ofpra, i.e: 15 months after they first filed their application.
In a decision made on the 14th january 2021, the European Union Court of Justice condemned France and affirmed that people placed in the Dublin procedure should be allowed to apply for a work permit 9 months after they applied for asylum. Therefore, you can try to ask for a work permit after this 9 months period. To do so, you can ask for assistance from an association or a lawyer.

A. Requesting a work permit

1. Finding an employer

First of all, you need to find an employer and get them to complete a file and submit it online. This file should contain :

  • An employment contract for at least 3 months;
  • Several documents regarding the company and your previous job searches.

Article 7 of the 1st of April 2021 decree sets a list of documents that you should submit when asking for a work permit.

2. Reporting to the prefecture with this file

This file must be presented to the prefecture of the department where you live. The prefecture may grant you a work permit or refuse to do so (for example if there are many unemployed persons in France who could hold this specific position).

As of April 2021, in order to file your work permit request, you need to log in to the online service.

If your work permit is denied, you can appeal this decision before a court: to do so, you need to get in touch with an association for the defence of foreigners or a lawyer.

Note: The prefecture has two months to respond to a work permit application. If it does not answer within these two months, your permit is implicitly granted (the authorization will be deemed to have been obtained).

Once you have obtained the work permit, you may begin working for this employer.

Warning: you cannot change employer; the work permit is only valid for the employment contract that you presented to the prefecture.

You can only register to Pôle Emploi (the French unemployment office) to get unemployment benefits if your working contract was ended by your employer for reasons that are not attributable to you or in case of force majeure.

In theory, asylum seekers can, as any jobseeker, benefit from different types of vocational training (contact Pôle emploi for details). However, in practice, access to funding for those trainings is hard to obtain.

B. The specific case of unaccompanied foreign minors

Unaccompanied foreign minors (MIE) followed by the Aide sociale à l’enfance (the children welfare services) are entitled to a work permit for a fixed term training, an apprenticeship or a professional development contract.

If they apply for asylum, they must be allowed to continue pursuing their contract while the asylum application is being processed.

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Latest update : Friday 23 July 2021, 16:10
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