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Row over jobs for foreigners

The higher education minister says he will ‘correct’ officials’ ‘misapplication’ of a controversial government circular

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THE higher education minister says he will “correct” “misapplications” of a government circular by prefects which are reportedly stopping non-European graduates from working in France.

The circular, by Interior Minister Claude Guéant, dated May 31, is said to require prefects to be stricter in assessing applications by non-Europeans who have studied in France and who want permission to stay in the country to work.

A collective of universities and grandes écoles expressed concern, so the ministers have met with their representatives.

Mr Wauquiez claims that there is no “policy of closing off entry to France” and that the problem is not the circular but the way it is being “applied”.

Following the meeting, he said he was going to “raise awareness of the prefects in cases where there have been problems”.

The president of the Conference of University Presidents, Louis Vogel, said he was confident “difficult cases will now be sorted out quickly”.

However a body representing foreign students, Le Collectif du 31 May, said they would “wait to see situations freed up before we believe in it”.

Mr Guéant told Le Point: “We are going to bring pragmatic solutions to concrete problems, case by case”.

However he added that as a general rule non-European students came to France to study, not to enter the job market. “Their main goal should be to return home so as to enable their country to benefit from their skills,” he said.

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