France: Procedures under new immigration law clarified; delays expected

What is the change? France has clarified procedures under an immigration overhaul that took effect Nov. 1

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What does the change mean? Employers should prepare for changes to procedures and expect delays during the transition, especially under the new Talent Passport resident permit category and intracompany transfer (ICT) local hires and ICT secondments, which will now be processed by French consulates. Employees on short-term detachés of less than 90 days will be exempt from work permits if bringing expertise in IT, engineering, management or other specified areas.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Talent Passport, ICTs, Detaché (short-term and long-term).
  • Who is affected: French companies sponsoring foreign employees.
  • Impact on processing times: Employers and foreign nationals should anticipate delays for all categories requiring a visa due to the increased workload on French consulates.
  • Business impact: Employers should factor in processing delays and may need to rearrange business schedules and start dates for affected foreign employees.

Background: The Law on Foreign Workers passed in May and an implementing decree was published last week. B·A·L has obtained the following additional details:

  • ICT (Secondment) applications will be submitted to the French embassy or consulate where the employee resides. Application forms and the list of required documents are expected to change. French consulates will announce these changes in forthcoming guidance; in the meantime, they are not accepting applications while they await guidance from the government.
  • EU ICT permits will be issued to individuals holding a work permit in another EEA country and transferring to France on a similar type of work permit. If they already hold a resident permit in another EEA country for more than 90 days, they may work in France short-term (up to 90 days) by submitting notification to the French prefecture before arrival. Individuals holding a resident permit in another EEA country for more than 90 days may transfer to France for longer than 90 days if they are managerial level and meet certain minimum tenure requirements, but they must apply for a Mobile ICT resident permit. (They may begin work upon arrival and for up to 90 days as long as they have the intention to apply for the Mobile ICT permit upon expiration of the 90 days.)
  • Passport Talent resident permits are for local hires only and encompass several categories, including EU Blue Cards and ICT local hires. Applications will be submitted directly to the appropriate French consulate, and the resident permit application will then be submitted in-country. EU Blue Card procedures will not change significantly. ICT local hires may work at a client site and procedures will be similar to EU Blue Card procedures.
  • Short-Term Detachés (less than 90 days) will be exempt from a work permit if the employee can demonstrate certain expertise (IT, management, engineering etc.). The government has not defined which activities fall under “expertise in IT.” Visa-required foreign nationals applying under the work permit exemption would need a Schengen C Visa; foreign nationals who are visa-exempt would not need to apply for an entry visa. Employers will still be required to submit a secondment declaration. The duration is restricted to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • Long-Term Detachés (Service Provider) application procedures will not change significantly. Applications will continue to be submitted in-country to the DIRECCTE and still require work permit authorization.

BAL Analysis: French consulates are not accepting applications under the Talent Passport category yet, as staff are awaiting guidance and training from the government. Foreign nationals who require a visa to France should plan for delays at French consulates. Additional guidance on consular processes is expected within the next two weeks. BAL will share these details with clients as soon as they are available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in France. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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