Major modification of work authorisation process expected in the coming weeks - France

On November 2, 2016, a major modification to French immigration procedures enters into effect that will change the manner and the way that work authorisation requests are processed.

Under the previous regulations, work authorisation requests for intra-group transfers, European Blue Cards, and service providers, which are the most frequently used categories, were filed with the French labour authorities in the jurisdiction where the French host company is located.

The processing of the work authorisation file were thus done by the local administration, and any issues or clarification required were usually able to be resolved promptly.

Under the new implementing decrees for the law March 7, 2016, intra-group applications and European Blue Card applications are to be filed by the applicant at the French consulate in their home location along with the request for a visa.

This transfer of responsibility and workload from the French labour authorities to the local Consulates may result in delayed file processing as the staff get up to speed on these processes. We understand that consulates have not yet received written instructions on how to deal with these new responsibilities.  

For all assignees who will be seconded to France (no French employer), the application file must contain either a certificate of coverage showing that the assignee is exempt from French social security or an affidavit stating that enrolment in French social security has been requested. As process time to obtain a certificate of coverage varies from one case to another, the need to obtain this document in time for the consular filing will require cautious planning. 

The new decree does create a work authorisation exemption for short-term (less than 90 days) assignments involving a broad number of types of work, most notably in finance, engineering and high technology. 

What this means for you as an employer? 

The changes to French immigration law may lead to complications and disruptions in the processing of the intra-group transfer and European Blue Cards work authorisation requests. Therefore, clients should expect delays when submitting their applications. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as soon as we learn of them.  

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your usual PwC contact for further details. 

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