Foreign students: end of the Guéant circular
During her first appearance, the new Minister of Higher Education and Research, Geneviève Fioraso, promised to soon annul the Guéant circular. Laurence Parisot is delighted.
The first measure taken by the new Minister of Higher Education will to annul the Guéant circular on foreign students. The bill, published on 31 May 2011, restricted the possibility for foreign students who graduated in France to get a work permit. It was strongly criticised even within the Fillon government circles, notably by Laurent Wauquiez, Minister of Higher Education and Research.
The disputed circular advised France’s prefectures to rigorously investigate applications for work permits by foreign students and to exercise “tight control” over applications for a change in status by foreign students.
Opponents of the circular, including university presidents and employers, pointed to a decline in the attractiveness of France in a global and competitive economy where it's crucial to attract the most talented students. The circular was amended in January, relaxing the conditions for degree-holding foreigners who want to work in France, but it was still considered insufficient by all those for whom the circular’s annulment was symbolic more than anything else.
Withdrawal of the circular: “ urgent in human terms”
Geneviève Fioraso announced on Monday that her first act as minister would be this: “It’s urgent,” she said. “It’s urgent in human terms, but also in terms of reputation and the sharing of knowledge.”
Laurence Parisot, President of Medef, is delighted with a measure that she herself called for in order to make France French business organisations more attractive. Employers and students will now return to the former situation, where foreign students could extend their stay in France if they were given a CDI (open-ended) work contract.
The bill should thus be wiped off the law books within the coming days.
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