Nov 13 2019

Streamlined Residence Permit Process, New Labor Shortages Tool Forthcoming


At a Glance

  • The French government has announced that it will introduce several changes to better align the immigration system with France’s labor market needs.
  • Key planned changes include a new statistical tool to map regional labor shortages, expedited work authorization processing for companies recognized by the French government as having regular needs for international mobility due to their sector of activity and internal organization, and making the residence permit filing process electronic, among other changes.
  • The proposal is part of a package of measures rolled out over several years. Some of the measures require parliamentary approval before they can take effect, which is expected in 2020.

The situation

The French government has announced that it will introduce several changes to its immigration laws to better address the country’s current labor shortages. Some of the proposals require parliamentary approval before they can take effect.

A closer look

The law includes the following proposals:

Action Details Current status Timing

Mapping labor shortages 

French authorities will develop a new statistical tool to map regional labor shortages in cooperation with employers, trade unions and regional authorities. The tool aims to enable Parliament to set annual regional recruitment objectives (referred to as ‘quotas’ in the media) based on identified regional labor shortages. 

The current national shortage occupation list was last updated in 2008.

April – May 2020; annual review starting 2021

Labor market test waiver

Newly added shortage occupations will benefit from the current labor market test exemption

Currently, the labor market test to search for eligible French or EU workers takes at least 21 days to process.

January 1, 2021

Expedited processing for trusted companies

Immigration authorities have proposed to expedite work authorization processing for companies recognized by the French government as having regular needs for international mobility due to their sector of activity and internal organization.

There is currently no expedited processing system in place for trusted companies. This proposal was included in the September 2018 immigration reforms.


Online Talent Passport  applications 

Online filing of applications for Talent Passport applications


Talent Passport applications are filed in person at the French consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. 

Beginning 2021 

Online application for work authorization 

Online filing of work authorizations

Work authorization applications are currently filed by mail to the Labor authorities.

Beginning 2021

Online application for residence permit 

Immigration authorities will move residence permit filing online, starting with Student residence permit applications.

Currently, all residence permit applicants must make appointments to visit a Prefecture in France several times after they arrive.

Progressively from April 2020 through 2022

Work authorization exemptions for short stays

Authorities are considering creating additional exemptions for foreign workers staying in France for less than three months. It is not yet known which additional exemptions are being considered. 

Currently, several work authorization exemptions exist for artists, professors, auditors and certain experts, among others. 

Not yet confirmed

Increased French language requirement for naturalization

French naturalization candidates will need to demonstrate French oral and written language skills at Level B1 under the Common European Framework of References for Languages in the ENIC – NARIC system.

French naturalization applicants only need to demonstrate Level B1 in oral French understanding.

April 2020



Employers seeking to recruit foreign nationals in regional shortage occupations should benefit from streamlined processing starting 2021. Expedited processing, online filing and additional exemptions would additionally alleviate the burden on employers seeking to fill labor market shortages with foreign staff.


The changes are part of a package of measures aiming to further modernize France's immigration system. France has been conducting broad immigration law reforms since 2016.

Immigration reforms in France are typically known well in advance due to lengthy parliamentary review and the need for implementation through ministerial decrees, which can take many months to develop and publish. Despite the lengthy preparatory process, changes typically take effect abruptly in practice through publication of ministerial decrees which do not include transitional periods.

Looking ahead

The above proposals will be further developed starting November 14, 2019 by a committee composed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior.

Other important planned developments include a new program that is expected to double the number of foreign students in France by 2027; and a government audit in 2025 that is expected to identify the French economy’s skills needs and will focus on emerging technologies.

Fragomen expects French authorities to continue adjusting immigration policies in an effort to balance labor market needs, immigration officials’ time constraints, and concern over immigration flows.

Fragomen in France is Fragomen France AARPI., operating as an immigration consultancy/law firm in France. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to