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The use of foreign seasonal workers is exploding


Also facing a labor shortage, the hotel and catering sector recently turned to Tunis to forge an agreement to organize the arrival of around 2,000 foreign workers in 2023. 417273875/DAVID – stock.adobe.com

Employers are turning in particular to the Maghreb countries to fill their vacant jobs.

Faced with very great difficulties in recruiting seasonal workers, French companies are increasingly forced to resort to foreign labour. According to statistics from the Ministry of the Interior and the Directorate General for Foreigners in France (DGEF), nearly 26,000 applications for work permits for seasonal jobs have been submitted since 1er January 2022 and 22,000 received a positive response.

If these figures may seem marginal compared to the million seasonal jobs estimated in France, they hide on the other hand a dynamic in full explosion. There were thus barely more than 1,000 residence permits granted to foreign seasonal workers around 2010 and no more than 5,500 in 2019 before the Covid crisis. The paradigm shift is therefore total.

This surge is explained in a combined way by the increase in recruitment tensions on the labor market which pushes employers to find alternative solutions to hire, but also by the recent reform of professional immigration.

Simplified procedure

Since 2021, the entire work permit application procedure has been simplified thanks to its dematerialization. Enough to improve processing times “increasing them from several months to about ten days at the national level», Details Place Beauvau. The various agreements that France has concluded with several Maghreb countries to bring in arms have also been much more applied this year. As proof, of the 22,000 authorizations issued in 2022, 75% concerned Moroccan workers, making them the first beneficiaries of the system.

In certain sectors of activity such as agriculture, this labor force has now become almost essential. “Production is highly dependent on foreign labor and this is going very well. They are valuable workers, who generally already have know-howagrees Daniel Sauvaitre, general secretary of Interfel, the fresh fruit and vegetable sector in France. This apple producer in Charente would welcome the intensification of these recruitments because the lack of arms and the flight of local seasonal workers are sorely felt. From year to year, due in particular to the lack of attractiveness of agricultural professions and the lack of renewal of generations, the difficulties have indeed been exacerbated.

Agreement with Tunis

This booming model, which can still raise questions in view of the approximately 6 million job seekers registered with Pôle Emploi, arouses the curiosity of other sectors such as the hotel and catering industry.

Also facing a labor shortage, the main employers’ organization in the sector, Umih, recently turned to Tunis to forge an agreement to organize the arrival of around 2,000 foreign workers in 2023. A solution which will not make it possible to resolve the structural tensions of recruitment in the sector and which could harm job seekers already present on French soil.



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