Business & Markets

France grapples with labour shortages in 38 occupations and needs foreign talent

France grapples with labour shortages in 38 occupations and needs foreign talent

France is grappling with labor shortages across 38 occupations, spanning industries such as construction, healthcare, IT, engineering, agriculture, and manufacturing, according to the European Labour Authority (EURES).

This deficit persists despite the country’s job vacancy rate registering at 2.4% in 2023.

Specifically, a EURES report on shortages and surpluses identified the following occupations as the most sought-after jobs in France:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping clerks
  • Agricultural and industrial machinery mechanics and repairers
  • Applications programmers
  • Bricklayers and related workers
  • Building frame and related trade workers not elsewhere classified
  • Business services and administration managers not elsewhere classified
  • Cabinet makers and related workers
  • Cartographers and surveyors
  • Civil engineering technicians
  • Concrete placers, concrete finishers, and related workers
  • Cooks
  • Domestic cleaners and helpers
  • Earthmoving and related plant operators
  • Electrical engineering technicians
  • Electronic mechanics and servicers
  • Financial and insurance brand managers
  • Forestry and related workers
  • Healthcare assistants
  • Human resource managers
  • Information and communication technology operations technicians
  • Manufacturing managers
  • Mechanical engineering technicians
  • Metal processing plant operators
  • Mobile farm and forestry plant operators
  • Nursing associate professionals
  • Pharmaceutical technicians and assistants
  • Physiotherapists
  • Power production and plant operators
  • Printers
  • Real estate agents and property managers
  • Sewing machine operators
  • Developers and analysts not elsewhere classified
  • Plant machine operators not elsewhere classified
  • Structural metal preparers and erectors
  • Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and hatters
  • Telecommunications engineers
  • Vocational education teachers
  • Welders and flame cutters

This suggests that individuals in the specified professions from foreign countries may have increased opportunities for employment and obtaining a work visa in France. In a September 2023 report, it was highlighted that the French economy heavily depends on immigrant workers, some of whom work without a valid permit, and these workers were considered essential by certain members of President Emmanuel Macron’s parliamentary majority.

  • Occupations in surplus demand in France

Interestingly, some occupations are already in surplus and hence are no longer in need of foreign talent. They are:

Authors, building caretakers, cashiers, ticket clerks, gallery, museum, and library technicians, general office clerks, graphic and multimedia designers, journalists, artistic and cultural associate professionals, music teachers, PR professionals, shop supervisors, social work associate professionals, transport conductors, travel consultants and clerks, and visual artists.

  • How to apply

International applicants from countries other than the European Union, European Economic Area, and Switzerland  are therefore encouraged to search for jobs within the in-demand occupation and obtain a job offer from a French employer before applying for a work visa  

Since April 6, 2021, applications for work permits to hire foreign employees have to be done online on a dedicated portal.  Here are the steps involved:

  • Step 1: If the employment levels have to be checked before hiring the future employee (see below), the employer will have to publish the job offer for 3 weeks in a public employment agency (Pôle Emploi or Apec) before applying for the work permit.
  • Step 2: Online application for the work permit on the dedicated portal.  
  • Step 3: Confirmation by e-mail that the application has been submitted.
  • Step 4: If the work permit is issued, the employer and the foreign employee will receive it by e-mail.
  • Step 5: The future employee will have to attach the work permit to his/her visa and/or residence permit application.

Analysis of the work permit application

The Ministry of the Interior which has the responsibility of overseeing foreign workers, indicated the process for a work permit involves reviewing:

  • Employment levels in the relevant profession and region.
  • The alignment of the foreign national’s skills, experience, and qualifications with the job requirements.
  • The employer’s adherence to employment and social protection legislation.
  • The employee’s compliance with regulatory conditions for the specific position.
  • The terms of employment and remuneration, ensure comparability with other employees in similar roles within the company or occupational sector.
  • A proposed salary meeting or exceeding the statutory national minimum wage (SMIC) of €21,203.00 as of January 1, 2024.
  • Accommodation arrangements are provided by the employer for foreign nationals in France.

Upon online submission through the dedicated platform, the applicant receives a confirmation. Once validated, the applicant obtains an electronic work permit, required for visa application at the consulate and/or residence permit application at the Prefecture.


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