Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 10/07/24


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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 CPH or those running integration programmes such AGIR (see above about Housing) are funded to support beneficiaries in choosing 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.

Some organisations have been created in recent years to carry out actions specifically promoting refugees’ access to employment, such as Kodiko, Action Emploi Réfugiés, or Refugee Food.

In practice, it is more difficult for them to find a job. The first obstacle is obviously the language. Even if the law provides that the French State provides French classes,[2] the current 400 hours of classes is rarely sufficient for beneficiaries to obtain adequate command of 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.

In the countryside, they also have difficulties because of 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, beneficiaries 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 major obstacles to enter 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.[4]

A study published in 2022 revealed that one year after obtaining their status, 42% of refugees settled in France manage to find a job, but this often falls short of their real skills, acquired in their country of origin.[5] Another study published in January 2024, which follows people who were protected in 2018, indicates that 4 years after obtaining their status 63% were employed but also with a finding of professional downgrading.[6]







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

[4] Practice-informed observations by Forum Réfugiés and partners, January 2024.

[5] IFRI, L’emploi des personnes réfugiées : des trajectoires professionnelles aux politiques de recrutement des entreprises, February 2022, available in French at:

[6] Ministry of Interior, Le pacrous d’intégration des réfugiés, ELIPA 2, January 2024, available in French 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