Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 08/04/22


Forum Réfugiés – Cosi Visit Website

Beneficiaries are allowed to access the labour market from the moment they are granted asylum, whether they are refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. They have the same access as French nationals except for positions specifically restricted to nationals.

However, they encounter the same difficulties regarding the access to this market as those they face in terms of Housing. The same legal framework regulates the mechanisms of integration of beneficiaries regarding employment. The organisations running the CPH are funded to support beneficiaries in determining their professional path and facilitating their integration in the labour market.[1] To do so, these organisations implement partnerships with stakeholders in charge of access to the labour market and the struggle against unemployment. Then, they work in close collaboration with the French national employment agency (Pôle emploi) or with local charities and NGOs to facilitate the professional integration of beneficiaries.

In practice, it is more difficult for them to find a job. The first obstacle is obviously linked to the language. Even if the law provides that the French State provides French classes,[2] is the current number of 240 hours of classes is rarely sufficient for beneficiaries to adequately command the language in order to get a job.[3] Therefore, they often turn to their native community to be supported in their professional path, which might complicate their integration. The number of hours of French classes has been increased to to 400 in 2019.

In the countryside, they also have difficulties regarding remoteness of location. Outside big French cities, it is compulsory to have a car in order to have a chance to find a job. However, these difficulties are not typical to beneficiaries even if they affect them more directly. They indeed cannot afford to buy a vehicle and do not benefit from any family support.

Moreover, refugees and beneficiaries of international protection suffer from a lack of recognition of their national diplomas. This implies therefore that highly skilled beneficiaries face the main obstacles to enter to the labour market. They have to accept unqualified jobs, mostly without any link with their previous job in their country of origin. Social workers refer to protection beneficiaries as a “sacrificed generation”. They have renounced practicing their original trade so that their children can graduate in France and be able to aim for highly skilled positions.

In February 2018, a report from Member of Parliament Aurélien Taché put forward 72 proposals aiming at reinforcing integration policy for migrants in France, among them beneficiaries of international protection.[4] A National Strategy for Integration based on this report was announced in June 2018,[5] while several provisions of the 2018 reform reflect some of the recommendations such as
increased French classes, development of integration programs like Accelair, mobilisation of housing for refugees etc.

During COVID-19 in 2020, unemployment increased in France, affecting also the access to the labour market for beneficiaries of international protection. In January 2021, the Ministry of Interior launched a nationalcall for projects for the year 2021 on the integration of newcomers, including beneficiaries of international protection: a total of 49 projects have been selected and provided funding amounting to a total of 4 million euros[6] Another call for project has been launched for the year 2022.



[1]  Article 8 Standard Agreement relating to the functioning of CPH, attached to the Decree of 2 March 2016 relating to temporary accommodation centres for refuges and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, available in French at:

[2]  Article L.311-9 Ceseda.

[3] Libération, ‘Intégration des réfugiés: «sur la langue on perd un temps fou», selon un rapport’, 13 January 2018, available in French at:

[4]  Aurélien Taché, 72 propositions pour une politique ambitieuse d’intégration des étrangers arrivant en France, February 2018, available in French at:

[5]  Ministry of Interior, Stratégie nationale pour l’accueil et l’intégration des personnes réfugiées, 5 June 2018, available in French at:

[6]  Ministry of Interior, Appel à projets national 2021 relatif à l’intégration des étrangers primo-arrivants, dont les bénéficiaires de la protection internationale, 29 July 2021, available at :

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation