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France giving foreign grads the cold shoulder

Rachel Marusak Hermann · 17 Nov 2011, 11:09

Published: 17 Nov 2011 11:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Nov 2011 11:09 GMT+01:00

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Foreign students have started to feel the effects of stricter work visa policies in France.

Recent policies have made it tougher for non-EU graduates to get working visas after getting their diplomas in France.

According to an editorial in Le Monde on November 17th, Interior Minister Claude Guéant is to blame. The article recounts policies he has initiated over the past year which have resulted in a tougher environment for foreign students in France.

In April, Guéant announced plans to reduce the number of legal immigrants in France by 10 percent per year.

Setting his sights on foreign workers, he issued a memo to prefectures on May 31st calling for a reduction in the number of work visas offered to non-EU graduates at French schools. In particular, the memo requested prefectures to verify that a French person couldn’t fill the job before granting a work permit to a foreign student with a French degree recruited by a company.

Consequently, in the past three months, dozens of foreign graduates from elite French schools have been denied working visas and residency permits.

The policy is being met with increasing criticism. From the association of private French companies to university presidents and socialist senators, critics are questioning the long-term effect that the policy could have on French companies competing in a global economy.

The editorial suggests that, with the presidential election just five months away, the policy could be part of a ploy to appeal to ultra-conservative voters.

Rachel Marusak Hermann (news.france@thelocal.com)

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