Can I get seasonal work as a non-French person?

It is more difficult, but still possible, to work in certain sectors on a short-term basis

Working as a ski instructor is one of the roles where workers can qualify for a seasonal visa
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Reader Question: I am British and want to work this ski season in France with my French girlfriend. It seems I am unable to get work as places say I need a visa first, but I believe to get a visa I need a job offer/contract. How do I proceed?

Being a ski instructor is indeed one of the recognised seasonal job roles (travailleur saisonnier) in France for which a seasonal visa is appropriate.

These roles are mainly based in the tourism or agriculture sector, and allow French companies to temporarily employ foreign workers on a short-term basis, either to fill important but brief jobs in the workforce (such as harvesters on farms and vineyards), or for temporary skilled tourist workers (such as ski instructors).

However, you are right that to work in France on such a basis you will need a seasonal work visa.

The granting of this visa is based on receiving a suitable job offer of a certain length from an employer in a relevant sector.

In your situation, some employers may be hesitant to hire you for a position because of the extra paperwork (as compared to citizens they can hire from EU countries) but it is not impossible.

Work contracts are required first

The most important thing to note is that the seasonal work visa cannot be given unless you already have a contract offer from a relevant employer.

The contract must be for a period of at least three months, but no more than six (seasonal workers can only stay in France for six months maximum in any 12-month period).

Clearly it is important to highlight your specific skills to the employer, so they can see the benefit of recruiting you.

Once a job offer has been received, your employer has to apply for work authorisation to employ you.

You will need to apply for visa and card

Assuming this has been approved and your employer has sent you a work permit showing this, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa to remain in the country for more than three months.

This is processed by the French consular services in your country but the process starts by using the visa wizard on the French visas website for more information on what you need to do.

There is an application to be made via the same website, and supporting documents have to be taken to one of the offices of a firm called TLSContact.

Once you are in France, to stay more than three months you will have to apply for a seasonal worker’s residency card online at this site.

This will be a multi-year residence permit for a travailleur saisonnier, which you can find out more about here.

How does this work?

Although you are only allowed to work for six months of a 12-month period with your seasonal worker visa, the residency permit lasts for three years.

This means you can come back to France for the subsequent high seasons for your job role – however, you will need a contract offer from an employer each time to do so.

The employer will also need to subsequently ask for another work permit for you, however you will not need to apply for another visa, if you have this residency permit.

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