Recruitment procedures of foreign workers in France. The point of view of French companies Etude de l'Ifri, June 2015
Study on migration policies’ impact on recruitment procedures of foreign workers in France.
In the beginning of the 2000s, demographic challenges, lack of labor force in certain economic sectors and the rise of irregular migrants’ social movements brought to the reevaluation of professional migration policies. The notion of selective immigration (“immigration choisie”) was coined to describe a policy geared towards attracting migrants as a way of responding to labour market needs. This expression fell into disuse after the presidential election of 2012, but the objective of an immigration policy concerned with the “attractiveness of our country”, along with the “fight against illegal immigration” was retained. While this policy aims to respond to the need of economic actors in the context of a globalised and competitive economy, French firms have been only marginally involved and consulted in its definition and implementation.
In some sectors of the economy and for some companies, needs in term of recruitment might concern a specific nationality, being for linguistic reasons or because specific skills are required. Sometimes the most competent candidate is a foreigner. In practice, this type of recruitment is more complex than the recruitment of a French candidate or of a foreign candidate holding a work permit.
Administrative procedures are complex for individuals who are not familiar with immigration law and information on these procedures is difficult to access. Moreover, these procedures are time consuming for they might require extra actions from those employees in charge of the recruitment process and because the processing time of candidate file by administrative authorities takes month. Last, the outcome of a recruitment procedure, when it concerns a foreign worker, cannot be anticipated. The administrative situation of a foreign worker can create problems in the company even after he or she has been recruited. Foreign workers are required to renew their residence permit regularly (once a year in most cases.) This forces them to frequently take days off work to go to the prefecture. In some cases, when the renewal of a residence permit is postponed or refused by the French administration, the company has to interrupt the employee’s work contract. All these difficulties are aggravated by the fact that they cannot be anticipated and streamlined in the companies’ internal procedures, which would reduce their negative impacts. The rules framing the entry and stay of foreign workers change frequently and a number of parameters cannot be foreseen, such as processing time and outcome of the procedure.
In this context, the recruitment objectives of companies cannot be attained or, when they are, only suboptimally, when foreign workers are concerned. Teams are not always in a position to recruit the needed skills within an adequate time frame. The “recruiters” that were interviewed all underline the negative impact of an inefficient recruitment process on the economic performance of a company. These procedural difficulties therefore affect the development potential of companies.