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Immigration - Work Permit in Réunion


For European people coming from an EU country, working in Réunion is allowed without a visa or work permit as Réunion is one of the overseas départements of France. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit. Check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget, though, that the unemployment rate is high. If you work in the health sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT). Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences.

Work Permit

EU/EEA countries

Citizens of EU/EEA countries (European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) don't need a work permit to hold a job, be self-employed or create a business in Réunion.

However, employment of nationals of some new EU members is controlled, as France will apply a 'transition period' limiting employment. The countries are: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia (citizens of the two remaining new members, i.e. Cyprus and Malta, have no such a restriction due to the small size of their countries). Consequently, the citizens of the eight countries above still need a work permit. The duration of this transition period is not yet fixed and can last up to seven years, although it is likely to be shorter. Nationals of these countries can be self-employed or create a business in Réunion.

Non-EEA countries

All non-EU/EAA nationals need both a work and a residency permit. These are applied for at the same time, as they are interdependent. The permit type required depends on the planned activity and whether you ask for a temporary or long-term work permit.

For Swiss nationals, there is a special agreement between France and Switzerland that makes the application for a work permit straightforward, but Swiss citizens still need to follow the regular visa application process.

How it works

In order to hire a non-EEA citizen, especially long-term, a company must demonstrate that there is not a suitably qualified EEA candidate interested in the position. It is not impossible to satisfy these conditions, but some smaller firms are simply not willing to make the effort as they are typically not short of candidates and the approval process itself can take 4-6 months.

The company wishing to employ you should first publish the position at ANPE (Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi), the national agency for employment. If no suitably qualified French residents apply, the application dossier (including your candidature and company's undertaking to employ you) will be submitted to the DDTEFP (Direction Départementale du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Formation Professionnelle), the Department Directorate of Work, Employment and Training.

To make a decision, the DDTEFP will examine the application, taking into account your qualification, your experience and the employment situation in France/Réunion. If the decision is positive, the DDTEFP will inform your company as well as the prefecture and OMI (Office des Migrations Internationals). At this point the process of your 'introduction' to France/Réunion will start. This includes a medical examination either in your country or France/Réunion, the issue of the relevant visa (if applicable) and the issue of a temporary residency permit. If the decision is negative, the DDTEFP will inform your company about the decision and its reasons.

If you have a temporary resident permit that does not give you the right to work (visitors, students), you can apply for a change of status. This is usually easier than starting from scratch. Apply directly at your local prefecture (services des étrangers). The prefecture will forward your application to the DDTEFP, which will examine the regularity and conditions of your stay in Réunion and your profile and employment situation in the sector you have qualifications for.

Types of Work Permits

Work permits (Autorisation de Travail) have various forms. They may be issued as residency permits, giving the right to work in France or issued as a specific work permit (in this case accompanied by your passport and/or visa).

If you hold a permanent resident permit (Carte de Résident, CR) in France, you have the right to work in Réunion.

If you hold a provisional stay permit (Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour, APS) or short-stay visa(visa court séjour), you have to apply for permission to work (Autorisation de Travail). If successful, you will receive one of the following:

• Temporary Residency Permit (Carte de Séjour Temporaire, CST): Specifying the type of work permitted, such as 'employee' (activité salariée), 'self-employed' (activité non salariée), 'scientific' (scientifique), 'cultural and artistic profession' (profession artistique et culturelle) or 'trader' (commerçant), as well as where you can do it (e.g. France métropole, Ile-de-France, etc.);

• Temporary Work Permit (Autorisation Provisoire de Travail, ATP): This applies to certain cases, e.g. where the employee remains on the payroll of an overseas company (i.e. Detaché status);

• Seasonal Work Contract (Contrat de Travail Saisonnier). This will define the type of work, its location and validity.

The temporary resident permits with the status 'private or family purposes' (vie privée et familiale) gives, in most cases, the right to work without limitations (there are some exceptions, such as for nationals of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco), while the status 'visitor' (visiteur) does not give the right to work and you have to make a separate application for a work permit.





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