Saturday, September 4, 2010

Immigration to France, French Work Permits


Introduction to Immigration to France
The French authorities have traditionally been very protective of their domestic labour force, and put many bureaucratic obstacles in the way of companies wishing to recruit foreign workers. Their attitude is changing due to an acute shortage of IT professionals which is affecting the performance of many French companies.
New procedures have recently been introduced to make the process faster and easier. However, despite these significant improvements, France remains one of the most heavily 'protected' labour markets in Europe.
All French work permit applications are dealt with by the local Direction Departmentale du Travail, de L'Emploi et de la Formation Professionale (DDTEFP) on a town by town basis. It is therefore impossible to give absolute processing times as it varies depending on the workload of the local office,

2 Types of permits – Temporary Secondment and Full Work Permit

There are two types of permit for France:

Temporary Secondment:

This is for a non French company which needs to place their employees on it's client's site in France. This can be applied for by the foreign company but needs the full co-operation of the French client. The seconded employee must remain in the employ, pay, and line management of the foreign service provider. The maximum duration of these permit is 18 months and may then be extended for a further 9 months.

Full Work Permit

This is applied for by an established French company who wish to directly employ a non-EEA national. The candidate must be a full time employee and paid in France in Francs or Euros. There is no time limit on this permit.

Temporary Secondment (Detache)

Can My Company Obtain Temporary Secondment (Detache) Permits for our Staff?

The supplier must not be based in France and is providing services to a French company.

Does the Candidate Qualify for a Temporary Secondment (Detache) Permit?

There is no longer a nine-month rule for detache work permits according to the French Embassy. This means that new hires can work on a French client site as long as a valid employment contract and client service contract exists between the two companies involved. The candidate must still earn in excess of 3,835 EUROS/ month.

How Long will it Take to Get The Candidate on Site?

The approval of a detache application takes between 4-6 weeks, depending on the work load of the local office. The candidate can then make their visa application to travel to France; this application will take about a week depending on the work load of the consulate through which they apply.
All documents submitted must be in French and degree certificates etc. may need to be legalised. These factors should be taken into account when assessing both time and financial budgets.

Application process

The application is lodged with the local DDTEFP and incomplete applications are returned. The processing takes generally 4-6 weeks. When a decision is reached, the approval will be sent by post to the French client.
The candidate then applies for a visa du long sejour (long term visa) at the French consulate in their usual country of residence, they may then travel to France to start work. Shortly after their arrival in France the candidate will be invited by the Office des Migrations Internationales (OMI) to take a medical. The French company will be charged the 160 EURO fee, and the candidate will be issued with a carte de sejour (residence card).

How long will it take to get an employee on-site with a French work permit?

The whole process from lodging the application to the candidate starting work should take about 1-2 months.
All documentation must be submitted in French – so your time budget (as well as your financial budget) should allow for translation where required.

Can my company obtain a full French work permit?

A French work permit application must be made by an established French company
The French company is required to sign a direct employment contract with the candidate and to take on responsibility for all tax and social security matters.

Does the candidate qualify for a full French work permit?

The accepted requirements regarding experience and qualifications require that the candidate must be a "professional" ("cadre"), so high-level work experience and a degree are essential. Knowledge of the French language is also taken into consideration and will only be of benefit to the application.
The candidate's salary should exceed that of an equivalent French worker and must be more than 3,835 Euros (current as of 1 July 2002) and must be paid directly from the French employer in Euros.
Holders of a "carte de sejour salarié" authorizing a candidate to work in "toutes professions salariés" in "France metropolitaine" means that one can occupy ANY salaried post in ANY profession provided that it is not a temporary job.
In practice, the law of issuing a "full French work permit" is applied with a large degree of discretion by the DDTEFP, who has a significant amount of decision-making power when determining whether or not one is granted a work permit, as well as what type of work permit.
There are three main things that are considered, in order of importance, that determine whether or not one is attributed a work permit:
  1. Salary level
  2. Education
  3. The statute of "cadre" and a CDI contract (i.e, full-time employment)
The salary should be as high as possible, as this means that the employer and employee pays a singificant amount of tax and social charges. There is no obligation for the employer to advertise the position if the candidate earns more than 3600 EUROS per month. A salary level less than this requires a notice to be posted with the ANPE for three weeks before the application can be made.
Education is very important as the French authorities consider highly-educated candidates more able to integrate into French society, which is a consideration in the work permit application, as well as the ability to speak French.
The status of "cadre" is also important. The closest translation of the term means that one is a effectively in a managerial position, or a high-level professional. This is a prerequisite for the application to be considered.
The higher the DDTEFP considers these above three three elements to be, the more general the work permit they would issue.

  1. The whole application and supporting documents must be lodged at the regional DDTEFP* office.
  2. The DDTEFP* office approves the application, and returns it to the employer
  3. The approved application is taken to the French consulate in the Candidate's country of residence.
  4. The French consulate issues the long stay visa.
  5. The candidate travels to France and is invited by the OMI to take a medical to be granted a residence permit from the police headquarters.


Can I employ a contractor?

To obtain a French work permit the candidate must be directly employed and paid by the French company.

What is the difference between a work permit and a visa?

A work permit is permission for a company to employ a foreign worker, whereas a visa is a leave for the candidate to stay in the country.

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