France – New Immigration Law Published March 2016

What has changed

On March 7, 2016 a new law came into force, affecting both foreigners going to France and those already living in France. The new law provides for multiannual residence permits to additional categories of foreigners, a new residence permit category called “passport talent,” work permit exemptions for some categories, and limitations on intra-company training.

Some provisions took immediate effect (March 9, 2016). The rest will be rolled out in four stages, taking effect on July 1, 2016, November 1, 2016, January 1, 2017, and March 9, 2018.

Who is affected?

  • All foreigners currently living in or going to France

What to expect

Multiannual residence permits, including passport talent

The multiannual residence permit (i.e. residence permits valid for more than one year) already existed for some categories of foreigners, including intra-company transferees or European Union (EU) Blue Card holders. The new law extends access to multiannual residence permits to additional categories of foreigners.

There are two (2) types of multiannual residence permits (RP):

  1. A general multiannual residence permit: obtained after one (1) year of presence in France under a valid French residence permit or long stay visa. This residence permit is valid for four (4) years, with some exceptions where the residence permit is valid for a shorter period.
  2. Specific multiannual residence permits: obtained immediately after the first entry in France, and valid for three (3) to four (4) years depending on the subcategory the foreigner falls into.

There are three (3) sub categories of specific multiannual RP:

  1. The passport talent residence permit

This residence permit is valid for four (4) years and is issued to ten (10) categories of foreigners, including the following:

  • Highly qualified workers (previously named “EU Blue Card”)
  • Intra company transferees locally hired in France (previously named intracompany transfer (ICT) local contract or salarié en mission en contrat local)
  • Researchers
  • Legal representatives of a company established in France
  • Foreigners employed in France who hold a French Master degree or foreigners hired by a young and innovative company to work on a research and development project for the company
  • Foreigners who want to create a company in France
  • Foreign investors, etc.
  1. The intra-company transfer (ICT) residence permit for seconded employees (salarié détaché ICT)

This residence permit concerns employees working abroad for a company and seconded to a company belonging to the same group in France for a temporary assignment.

This residence permit is valid for up to three (3) years and is not renewable.

A foreigner residing in a European Union country with an ICT permit can come to France with a company of the same group for a similar assignment under the cover of this document. No work permit for France would be needed. If the assignment in France is shorter than or equal to ninety (90) days, a French residence permit is not required. If the assignment exceeds ninety (90) days, the employee will require a salarié détaché mobile ICT residence permit in order to work and reside in France.

  1. The  seasonal worker residence permit (travailleur saisonnier)

This residence permit concerns foreigners coming to France for employment of seasonal nature. It is issued for three (3) years and allows stays of maximum six (6) months per year. It is renewable.

These multiannual residence permits should start to be issued by November 1, 2016 at the latest.

End of work permit requirement for some categories of foreigners:

Foreigners falling into the passport talent and salarié détaché ICT residence permit categories: a work permit granted by the French labour authorities will no longer be needed. The application will be examined by the relevant French consulate in the country of residence. If the foreigner is already residing in France, the application will be examined by the local police authority. This provision should be implemented by November 1, 2016 at the latest.

Foreigners coming to France for short stays to work in specific professional sectors: foreigners coming to France for an assignment of up to three (3) months in specific professional sectors will no longer need a work permit. This provision of the law has immediate effect. However, the professional sectors will be determined by a decree of the “Conseil d’État” which has not yet been published. According to a previous report from the National Assembly, the following sectors of activities should be concerned: fashion, culture, research, audit, legal advice, expertise, etc.

Intracompany trainees:

Training will be limited to one (1) year. If the training is for more than three (3) months, trainees will be issued a residence permit named stagiaire ICT or stagiaire mobile ICT if they already reside in another EU country for the same reasons.

Criteria to obtain such permit:

  • Three (3) months of employment history in the group
  • A higher education degree
  • Sufficient means
  • A training agreement validated by the relevant French authority

This provision of the law will take effect by November 1, 2016 at the latest.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Emigra can assist assignees and companies with obtaining the appropriate immigration documents
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how this may impact you or your clients

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.