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FRANCE: Changes in the Right of Residence for Foreign Students and Researchers

The "Act of 22 July 2013" on higher education and research amends several sections of the Code of Entry and Stay of Aliens and Asylum (CESEDA) with respect to the duration of the provisional admission, also known as APS (Article L311-11 CESEDA), and multi-annual residence (Article L313-4 CESEDA ) issued to foreign students. The law also now applies involuntary deprivation of employment (Article L311-8 CESEDA) to scientists and researchers. A circular issued on July 30, 2013, implements these new provisions.

Easing of provisional admission (APS) of foreign students includes the following:

  • Increase in the duration of the APS issued to foreign graduates from 6 to 12 months. The duration now has a term of 12 months (non-breakable, non-renewable). However, the 11 bilateral agreements providing for APS derogatory terms continue to apply (this means that the 11 bilateral agreements stipulate APS durations that will prevail over the length under this law). Pending the amendment of AGDREF2 (AGDREF2 is a databank containing information on documented foreign nationals) by the end of 2013, prefects are asked to deliver APS for 6 months, renewable for a second period of 6 months in the absence of new instructions.
  • Removal of conditions related to returning to the country of origin and participating in economic development. It is no longer necessary that the foreign student applicant intend to return to the home country, or that the first professional experience in France directly or indirectly benefit the economic development of both countries. The letter of intent is no longer necessary.
  • Broadening the definition of first professional experience. The first professional experience is no longer limited to a single job or a single employer. A change of employment or employer no longer must lead to refusal to renew an "employee" or "temporary worker" residence permit obtained following an APS when the new job is in line with the training. However, according to the Labour Code, a change in the terms of initial work authorization during the first two years of validity of the employee's stay must be authorized in advance. In an exception, the labor market test will not be taken into account during the adjudication of the renewed work permit.

Issuance of the Multi-Annual Stay for Foreign Students

Foreign students are now eligible for a multi-annual stay at the end of a long-stay visa (VLS-TS). An initial one-year temporary residence permit is not required before a multi-annual residency permit is issued.

Scientists and Researchers Subject to Involuntary Unemployment

Article L311-8 of the CESEDA provides that a residence permit may be withdrawn if the conditions on issuance are no longer fulfilled. However, an exemption was provided for employees, temporary workers, and EU Blue Card holders when the foreign employee has involuntarily lost employment. The "Act of 22 July 2013" added "scientist-researchers," thus expanding the exception.

Situations recognized as involuntary loss of employment under the "Convention of 6 May 2011" and the "Circular of 7 July 2011" on unemployment benefits include:

  • Dismissal
  • Bi-lateral termination
  • The termination of fixed-term employment
  • A resignation considered legitimate under an administration agreement
  • Termination of the contract for cause under Article L1233-3 of the Labour Code

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