The Circular of May 31, 2012, provides the most recent guidelines to be followed by officers processing changes of status sought by graduating foreign students who wish to work in France.
The period during which an employer must advertise to find a skilled worker in France has been reduced from 2 months to 3 weeks. Students graduating with a "Master 2" degree may apply for a provisional authorization to stay (APS) 4 months before their student status expires, to seek employment that would be their first professional experience in France. A student under an APS may start working as soon as the employment contract is signed, and may apply for a change of status within 15 days of signature.
Since publication of the Circular, the processing authorities have become less rigid than under the previous administration. The authorities continue to verify that the employment sought is appropriate for the degree and that the employer has a specific interest in hiring a foreign graduate.