Provence & Côte d'Azur: Students are welcoming the annulment of the Gueant circular
Foreign students can stay, says Hollande
The controversial and infamous "Guéant Circular" of 31st May 2011 limited the number of work visas submitted to non- European students and graduates and restricted residence as well as employment rights for foreign students and graduates.
The circular had a dramatic impact as numerous graduates of France's high-ranking buisness and engineering schools were being informed that they no longer had the right to stay in the country after graduation, consequently forcing hundreds of highly-qualified individuals to leave.
For a country which boasts a history of freedom, equality and tolerance, these rigorous restrictions were viewed by many as unacceptable, resulting in a blast of opposition from students, academics, buisinesses and politicians. Additionally, the new regulations hindered France's international appeal and performance in higher education.
But the new socialist government announced on Wednesday that the circular would be revoked from 31st May – a year to the day after it came into force. It informed local officials to deal with working papers to non-EU students "more favourably".
Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced yesterday on French television that supporting foreign graduates was "an opportunity for them and an opportunity for France."
The annulment of the circular signifies a key step in higher education from Nicolas Sarkozy's policy of "competitiveness" to "cooperation". Throughout his election campaign, Hollande had persistently promised to make the youth a fundamental priority and tackle education problems including student failure, their living conditions aned more support for researchers.
Student Unions are delighted with the change but also say that the withdrawal of the circular does not necessarily signify an automatic right to work in France for foreigners.
More meetings between the government and higher education officials are scheduled to take place in the next following weeks.