26th June 2010
30th Anniversary Dinner @ The Arts House
News Articles

Dear Members & Friends,

I am forwarding the message below from the French Ambassador in Singapore H.E. Pierre BUHLER.

The French government has created new immigration policies to facilitate 'foreign talents' to work and live in France. The new series of work permits and visas range from temporary work to permits to conduct research.

Attached are the details of the new immigration permits and articles on the interviews of H.E. Pierre BUHLER in our local press.

Best Regards,
Terrence SIM
The French Alumni


Monsieur le Président,
cher Terrence,

La France a décidé de se rendre plus attractive pour les "talents étrangers", afin de leur offrir la possibilité de venir se former ou exercer leur activité professionnelle en France. Le gouvernement a pris un ensemble de mesures destinées à faciliter la délivrance des visas, dont plusieurs pourront plus particulièrement intéresser les adhérents de votre association (ces dispositions sont détaillées dans les pièces jointes, parmi lesquelles figure également un dossier de presse).

En tant que président de l'association des anciens étudiants de Singapour en France, je sais que vous aurez à coeur de faire connaître ces nouvelles dispositions aux membres de votre association, mais aussi à vos contacts professionnels singapouriens qui ne connaîtraient pas encore la France.

Je serais heureux que, par nos efforts conjoints, nous puissions offrir à davantage de jeunes Singapouriens des opportunités de carrières et de réussite professionnelle en France, à l'instar de celles que vous et les adhérents de votre association avez connues.

Avec mes plus cordiales salutations.

Pierre Buhler
Ambassadeur de France à Singapour


Straits Times, Oct 15, 2008
France eases up on visas for some professionals

By Gabriel Chen

FRANCE has taken significant steps to make it easier for certain professionals to work there. French ambassador to Singapore, Mr Pierre Buhler, said yesterday that Paris is trying to attract the right kind of immigrants to address skills shortage in certain economic sectors. He said his government has decided to improve the organisation of professional immigration and make it easier for foreigners to enter selected professions. 'It's a big change for the French way of doing things,' he said at a media luncheon at his residence at Cluny Park Road.

He said the French government has taken stock of what other countries have done in their immigration programmes. 'We see what countries such as the United States and Canada do, and we realise this brings about added value. We realise our system wasn't hospitable

Under a scheme which came into effect last year, foreigners can apply for different sorts of permits that would let them live in France for a certain period. For instance, professionals employed by a Singapore firm can apply for an 'employee on assignment' permit. This applies when they are seconded to one of their employer's branches in France or to another company within the same group. Certain requirements apply. For instance, the applicant's gross salary must be at least 1.5 times the minimum wage.We realise our system wasn't hospitable enough to high-skilled workers, and we realise it was a minus for us,' he said.

Mr Buhler said that in the past, obtaining a business permit was a complicated and
time-consuming process. 'You had to go through a labyrinth of procedures and even go to France to get the permit. A lot of people resented that,' he said. 'It is now what you call a more pampered procedure.' This new approach would cut short the wait by several months.

France is also issuing a three-year, renewable 'skills and talents' permit. It allows people to carry out any professional activity of their choice in connection with a particular project. This lets them participate in the economic development of their country and that of France, said the ambassador. France is not alone in trying to attract foreign talent.

Germany offers immediate permanent residence to highly qualified individuals with job offers, while Britain recently adopted a points-based immigration scheme designed to attract skilled labour. And Japan, with a reputation for being closed to outsiders, announced earlier this year that it would extend visa periods for foreigners able to speak Japanese.

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Business Times, Oct 20, 2008
France says “oui” to skilled foreigners


EVEN as efforts are ramped up to clamp down on illegal immigrants, France is opening up its borders to encourage more highly skilled, qualified foreigners to work there.

The newly relaxed policy, which came into effect in June, is particularly attractive to foreign companies that want to send their employees to work in France, says the French ambassador to Singapore, Pierre Buhler.

It used to take as long as four months for a person to secure a work permit to go to France, but with the new rules in place, 'bureaucratic red tape has been removed' to cut the waiting time down to about a month, making it more attractive to foreigners looking to relocate to France, he told Singapore reporters at his Cluny Park Road residence last week. The new professional immigration policy, which is targeted at those outside the European Union, is a 'milestone' in many ways, said Mr Buhler.

What's new is that there are different categories of work permits and temporary work visas - most notably a new hire of a foreign person, the transfer of a foreign employee to France for a limited period, and special provisions for high-level employees of international groups. 'We want people to take up any job that can add value to the French economy. There is no quota for any country, the system is very fair. All you need to do is prove that you are qualified, and we assess accordingly. The process is much faster now,' he said.

A shortage of skilled talent such as engineers and technicians in France has been exacerbated by the fall in unemployment over the past three years. Singaporeans from all backgrounds - students, researchers, engineers, etc - are being encouraged to take up this opportunity.

The target for 2011 is to have 50 per cent of immigrants to France there for professional reasons - up sharply from just 7 per cent over a year ago. 'Most of the immigration that we have seen is for family reunions, and while we are highly supportive of this reason, we hope to see more talented workers consider a life in France, as opposed to going elsewhere like the US or Canada,' said Mr Buhler.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier this year that he wants to shift the bulk of France's immigration from being family members rejoining their relatives to qualified workers willing to fill gaps in the labour market.

Mr Sarkozy, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of the year, has made unifying EU rules on immigration a key priority.

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TODAY, Oct 15, 2008
France eases up on visas for some professionals

It just got easier to work in France Process to get work permits no longer a lengthy ‘ordeal’

Lin Yanqin - yanqin@mediacorp.com.sg"

APPLYING for a visa to work in France will no longer be an “ordeal”, as the country simplifies its immigration process to woo more talent and professionals its way.

Increasingly, France is realising the economic importance of attracting much-needed talent and professionals to the country, said the French Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Pierre Buhler. “France has been feeling the pinch in the labour market,” he said. “(The new immigration policy) will also make it easier for French companies based overseas to send their employees to France to work.” These new rules have been greeted with much enthusiasm by the French business community, he added.

The new series of work permits — ranging from temporary work to permits to conduct research — was introduced in June. Two new permits allow individuals wishing to work in France to submit their applications and credentials to the French Consulate in their country for approval.If verified and approved by the Ambassador, the visa is issued by the consulate. For other work permits, the employer in France will apply on behalf of the employee and, if approved, the permit will be sent to the consulate in the employee’s country of origin.

Under the previous system, applying to work in France was a lengthy process that involved making a trip to France to submit an application. “This gave the impression that France was not a very welcoming country,” said Mr Buhler. There is no quota on how many immigrants are allowed from one country.

The target is to increase the proportion of professional immigration to 50 per cent of total immigration by 2011, from the current 7 per cent, said Mr Buhler. “Most of our immigration comes from family (unification) immigration,” he added. For instance, while North Africans made up a significant portion of immigrants, professionals from that region were moving to countries like Canada and the United States, with their friendlier work immigration policies, he said.

At the same time, it is hoped that the new immigration process will help to ease the problem of illegal immigration to France and the rest of Europe, as the European Union prepares to approve an immigration pact this month.

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Lianhe Zaobao, 15 octobre 2008
La France souhaite accueillir massivement des immigrés professionnels dans les 2, 3 années à venir

Dans le but d’attirer des talents qualifiés étrangers, le gouvernement français a mis en oeuvre, depuis le début de l’année, une nouvelle politique d’immigration qui espère porter à 50% de l’ensemble des immigrés étrangers la proportion des travailleurs qualifiés, contre 7% actuellement.

Suivant cette politique, les nouvelles cartes dites « Compétences et Talents » et « Salariés en Mission » peuvent désormais être obtenues directement auprès des consulats sans même que l’employeur en France n’ait à effectuer de formalités auprès de l’ANAEM. Ainsi, il suffit de satisfaire aux conditions de ces deux cartes pour éviter les habituelles démarches administratives, souvent longues et fastidieuses. De plus, la carte est accordée avec un visa de trois ans renouvelable. Autre aspect attrayant de cette nouvelle politique : son affinité avec la famille. En effet, le titulaire d’une des deux cartes mentionnées pourra emmener sa famille pour aller vivre ensemble en France.

Selon M. Pierre Buhler, Ambassadeur de France à Singapour, la nouvelle politique ne cible pas des pays spécifiques et ne fixe pas non plus de quotas. « Nous ne ciblons aucun pays en particulier. Nous visons uniquement les talents. Sont bienvenus tous ceux qui pourront contribuer à l’économie française et aux intérêts économiques du pays d’origine », explique-t-il.

D’après M. Olivier Guyonvarch, premier conseiller à l’Ambassade de France, dans le passé, les étudiants étrangers étaient obligés de rentrer dans leur pays d’origine à la fin de leurs études. Avec cette nouvelle politique, ceux qui possèdent un diplôme supérieur à la licence sont désormais autorisés à rester 6 mois supplémentaires pour chercher un travail.

Selon nos informations, environ 530 Singapouriens résident actuellement en France dont environ 30 étudiants.

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The French Alumni

c/o French Embassy
101-103 Cluny Park Road
Singapore 259595

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