To attract skilled workers and meet the needs of the labor market, France must “modernize and improve” its economic immigration system, said the study by the global economics organization, the OECD.
Economic immigration of non-EU nationals remains low in France by international standards, with skilled foreign workers from outside the EU accounting for just 16 percent of immigrants in France compared to 10 percent in 2010.
France ranks eighth behind the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Spain for “attractiveness” among the most highly qualified migrants.
And the OECD doesn't spare the country's feelings when pointing out why, pointing the finger at France's notoriously complex and opaque administrative process, as well as a high cost of living, particularly when it comes to housing.
Central African doctor Ginna Lievre works as a pediatrician in the French town of Argentan. Photo: AFP
It also highlights France's “low wages and the social climate” as reasons it might be unappealing to foreign talent.
The organisation says France “must improve” its professional immigration system because if well-managed it can have a “positive impact” on the economy both in terms of wealth creation and public finances.
The report suggests that France could tackle the issue by updating the list of professions where there is a struggle to fill the number of positions available, giving the country an idea of where foreign workers could fill the gaps.
The OECD also says France must do more to keep its foreign students once they have graduated becasue they are “under represented in industries struggling to recruit workers”.
The report suggests expanding the systems in place for welcoming and offering guidance to foreign students in higher education establishments, in order to maximise their chances of successful integration into the labour market.
In 2011 the European Union produced a report which included operating chemical and pharmaceutical equipment, compliance inspection and the production and operation of information systems on the list of under-supplied professions.
In addition, the organisation calls on the French government to “improve the indicators available to assess the employment situation” and emphasizes the “excessively discretionary treatment of work permit applications” by regions, particularly when it comes to seasonal workers.