France – New Immigration Law Takes Effect

What has changed

As of November 1, 2016, a majority of the provisions of the immigration law published on March 7, 2016 have gone into effect. This includes provisions related to multiannual residence permits, more specifically the Talent Passport and the ICT permits for seconded employees. It also concerns work permit exemptions for foreigners coming to France for short stays to work in specific professional sectors.

Who is affected?

  • All foreigners currently living in or going to France

What to expect

Changes went into effect November 1, 2016, but delays can be expected in the processing of applications while the authorities fully implement the new procedures and become operational.

Conditions of issuance of Talent Passport and ICT secondment permits:

As of November 1, 2016, all applications falling under the Talent Passport or ICT secondment permit categories will have to be submitted to the French consulate in the applicant’s country of legal residence or to the French police authorities of the employee’s place of residence if he/she already resides in France.

The Labour office in France (DIRECCTE) no longer issues prior work permits for these categories.

The application file submitted to a French consulate should include new application forms (CERFA form) and documents related to the performance of a professional salaried activity, if applicable.

The French consulate should issue a long stay visa bearing the name of the residence permit to be issued in France. The residence permit will be granted by the local police authority of the applicant’s place of residence in France.

As a reminder, the Talent Passport residence permit is valid for four (4) years and is issued to ten (10) categories of foreigners:

  • Foreigners holding a master’s degree or equivalent diploma obtained in France
  • 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
  • Foreigners holding a master’s degree who want to create a company in France
  • Foreigners who present an innovative project recognized by a public body
  • Foreign investors
  • Legal representatives of a company established in France
  • Artists
  • Foreigners nationally or internationally recognized for performing an activity in a scientific, literature, artistic, intellectual, educational or sports domain

The ICT secondment permit includes the following categories:

  • Employees working abroad for a company and seconded to a company belonging to the same group in France for a temporary assignment (three (3) years maximum) to hold a senior management position or to bring a specific expertise to the host company
  • Employees working abroad for a company who are going to France to undertake training for greater than ninety (90) days with a company of the same group (a training agreement validated by the relevant French authority must be in place)
  • Employees holding an ICT permit in an EU country who go to France for more than ninety (90) days for work or training purposes with a company belonging to the same group

End of work permit requirement for short stays in France:

Foreigners coming to France for an assignment of up to ninety (90) days in the following professional sectors will no longer need a work permit:

  • Sports, cultural, artistic and scientific events
  • Conferences, seminars and professional trade fairs
  • Production and distribution of motion pictures, audio-visual broadcasting, and shows and music publishing when the employee is an artist or a technician directly involved in the production
  • Modelling
  • Personal services and domestic workers during the assignment in France of their private employers
  • Teaching activities provided exceptionally by visiting professors
  • Audit and expertise assignments in the IT, management, finance, insurance, architecture and engineering fields when the employee is seconded to France

A short-stay Schengen visa will still be required for nationals who do not benefit from a visa waiver program, unless they hold a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen country.

Minimum wage requirement:

The minimum wage required to obtain a Talent Passport for an Intra company transferee locally hired in France was increased to 1.8 times the French minimum wage.

Government fees for residence permits:

As of November 1, 2016, a uniform rate of 250€ will apply for multiannual residence permits (first application and renewal). A reduced fee will apply for students and trainees’ residence permits.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Delays can be expected in the processing of applications while the authorities fully implement the new procedure and become operational.
  • Emigra Worldwide will closely monitor the implementation of the new procedures by the authorities and can provide advice/guidance through the process as well as possible during this transition period.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

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.