Stay Back in France after Masters – Options Available

Many international students wish to pursue higher studies in French universities for quality, exposure, and experience. The long-term goal of studying in France is to work there and potentially settle, thereby getting a residence permit or eventually citizenship. Many students strive to stay back since the job security, opportunities, and quality of life are unparalleled. However, some of the major hurdles to this are immigration policies and cut-throat competition. What are some ways to stay back in France after master’s?

France offers three types of visas for students, let’s understand what these are:

1. Short Visa

This visa is for those students who come to France to attend short courses offered by universities for 3 months, either in the spring or summer months. This visa cannot be renewed and expires at the end of the three months.

2. 6 Months Visa

As the name suggests, this is for 6 months. This cannot be renewed either.

3. Student Visa

This visa is what students usually target. It enables students to work in France for those enrolled in the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees. This visa can be renewed, subject to certain terms and conditions.

What are the options available to stay back?

As mentioned earlier, students who are enrolled in short courses for a period of either 6 months or 3 months do not have the option to stay back. They have to leave, but they can apply again for a regular student visa. There is no restriction on the number of times a student applies for a student visa.

Another option that can be considered is applying for a French residence permit, provided the student has paid employment. This option is available to students enrolled in both master’s and bachelor’s degrees, and they will have to apply for a work permit. 

For master’s students, on completion of their course, a temporary residence permit can be availed, and this will be for two years. If you get a job over these two years, you can request your company to sponsor your permanent residence permit or work permit. 

Why France?

France is laden with opportunities for students with advanced degrees. France, and Paris especially, is the hub for start-up companies; opportunities to grow and expand are plenty. If you are on a student visa, you are eligible to work for up to 20 hours a week. 

Students who have obtained a master’s or higher degree from a French university can work part-time in the country for up to two years after their studies. Students can work part-time (for up to 20 hours a week) on a student visa in France, giving them time to look for better employment relevant to their degrees and skills. Resultantly, your route to stay back in France will become much smoother. In 2013, the French Embassy in India facilitated travel for Indians holding French degrees. All French universities Indian alumni were eligible for a tourist or business visa for five years, provided that they have a master’s or higher degree. 

Master’s Students

After completing their studies, any student must leave France by the immigration policies of the country. However, they can apply for a residence permit only if they have paid employment. There is an advantage for master’s students as they don’t require a work permit like bachelor’s students. Staying back in France after a master’s is easy since students can apply and get a temporary residence permit, known as APS.

It is important to note that this residence permit allows students to be employed part-time for up to 964 hours. In the course of part-time employment, if a student finds employment that is more than 1.5 times the minimum wage guarantee, then he/she is eligible for a work permit. 

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Post-Study Visa: The Benefits

If you end up securing a post-study visa, the benefits that you will get are numerous:

1. There won’t be any travel restrictions on traveling to Schengen countries as you won’t require a separate Schengen visa.

2. You can visit VISALE, the local visa office, free of cost for any visa and immigration-related difficulties.

3. You’ll be eligible to receive rental subsidies on housing.

4. Lastly and most importantly, you can renew your work permit, which is the ideal advantage as staying back in France after your master’s will be a tension-free process.

The Fees

Student visa (long-stay) costs EUR 50 (INR 4926 approximately). This is the base fee, you will have to further pay EUR 50 for the visa processing along with the VFS service fees (INR 1467). 

Changing the Visa Status

Until your APS or temporary permit is valid, there is no need to change your visa status even if you find full-time employment. After you get a job offer and your APS is about to expire, you can then change the visa status from APS to full-time.

Is Staying Back in France after Master’s Difficult?

It is not difficult if you plan and strategize smartly. From the time you start your degree, you must have a clear goal in mind and work towards it diligently. Prove your skills to employers and take advantage of the 20 hours part-time employment rule, and network with companies during your degree. If you start the process of networking and relationship building early, by the time you finish your studies, it will be much easier for you to find employment. Once you find employment, the road to staying back in France permanently and obtaining a permanent residence permit will become easier. 

Opportunities Available

There are a plethora of opportunities that can be explored after your master’s in France. From engineering, business to hospitality, tourism, and management- there is no shortage of the options available for you to pursue your career. Holding a degree from a French university will only bolster your resume and impress employers. Being from a foreign country, studying in France, and adapting to the culture and environment is not easy. Completing a degree and finding employment is even harder. All these skills will hold you in good stead.

If you are already pursuing a degree from a university in France, you must be well versed with the innumerable benefits that it provides. If you are still figuring out what to do, keep these valuable pointers in mind. Staying back in France after your master’s will not only put your degree to good use but also guarantee you a quality life, unforgettable experiences, and immense opportunities to grow.

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