Hiring a foreign student: how to proceed

2 May 2023 | Immigration in France

In 2022, the Ministry of the Interior estimates that 108,340 students have received a residence permit. This represents an increase of 22.8% compared to 2021. However, companies wishing to hire a foreign student are often confused by the numerous steps to be taken. What are the points to watch out for and how to go about it? Here are the 4 most common situations along ITAMA’s insights.

Why is student immigration important?

Students make up 25% of the migratory flow. Those who remain in France after their studies and change from student status to another category (employee, business creator, etc.), represent 15% of this flow. French higher education therefore remains attractive. For employers, it is a way of hiring qualified workers as well as an opportunity to internationalise their teams.

The steps to take to hire a foreign student differ according to their situation. Here are some clarifications on the procedures to follow.

Hiring a foreign student: the different scenarios

Scenario n°1: hiring a foreign trainee for an internship

This is the simplest case in terms of procedures for the employer.

A foreign student has a “student” residence permit, valid for a period of 1 to 4 school years (from September to August). This residence permit entitles him/her to carry out an internship without any additional steps.


Please note that a tripartite internship agreement must be signed between the student, the training establishment and the host company. The foreign intern has the same rights and duties as a French student.

You want to hire a student in this situation? ITAMA can help you!

Scenario n°2: recruiting a foreign student on a work-study contract

In the framework of a work-study contract (apprenticeship or professionalisation), a foreign student will have the status of an apprentice. This situation requires a different approach for the employer.

In the case of an apprenticeship contract, no action is required once the contract has been validated by the OPCO.

If it is a professionalisation contract, and if it exceeds 964 hours, the employer will have to apply for a temporary work permit (APT).

You want to recruit a foreign student on a work-study contract but do not know how to do it? Contact us!

Scenario n°3: recruiting a foreign student who continues their studies (CDD)

It is common for a student to have a part-time job in order to supplement their income. For an employer, it is also advantageous because a student from a third country already has a long-stay visa (VLS-TS) mentioning “student”. This status gives the right to work on an “incidental” basis. This means that the student can be employed in any sector of activity, independently of the sector of study. They may also work for several employers, but only up to a limit of 964 hours per year of validity of their residence permit (i.e. 60% of the legal annual working time). Beyond this quota of hours, the employer must apply for an APT (temporary work permit).

Note: Algerian nationals do not have this right in their “student” residence permit. An application for an temporary work permit called “APT” is therefore mandatory from the first hour of work. This can be done online.

ITAMA accompanies you in this process! Learn more.

Scenario n°4: recruiting a foreign student on a permanent contract

The procedure to follow to recruit a foreign student on a permanent contract depends on the position offered, the sector, the salary envisaged, the level of study but also on their previous situation, in particular if they have been in one of the situations detailed above. Depending on these elements, professional immigration firms such as ITAMA suggests the right category of residence permit, ranging from the work permit request with job market preference, through temporary solutions such as the RECE residence permit (“Recherche d’emploi / création d’entreprise”), to the simplest such as the talent passport for qualified employees.

You want to hire a foreign student and need guidance? Please contact us!