Procedures for French immigration vary depending on the nationality of your employees, the length of their stay and their assignment in France. Companies will be expected to complete several formalities to support their employees application for working rights in France.
France is a member of the Schengen group of European countries but a Schengen visa allows only for free movement within its member countries for non EU citizens only, not working rights. It is more a tourism visa as border controls between the member states have been reduced for the free movement of people.
French Immigration: European Union Citizens
As citizens of the EU your employees automatically have the right to live and work in France. Their individual status may affect the procedure but in general the following points apply:
· Since Nov 2003 EU members may enter France to look for employment, start a business or just visit, with out the requirement for a carte de séjour.
· The carte de séjour is the French resident permit. Your employees may still apply for a carte de séjour as it acts as their French ID and it is still required for various procedures while certain institutions adapt to the new legislation. It will vary in its length of validity depending on the nature of their stay.
· It can take 2-3 months for the carte de séjour to be processed and issued by the préfecture of the department in which the employee lives.
· Normally they will be required to apply in person at the local préfecture or Mairie. The préfecture for central Paris allows employees to apply by post, however they will need to collect your application dossier and the approved permit in person.
· Applications are made individually for each family member.
· If they do not receive a regular salary they may need to provide proof of sufficient funds to support them for the duration of their stay.
French Immigration: Non EU Citizens
The employer plays an integral part of the application as they provide specific documentation to support the application for their initial work visa and then their residents permit.
· Long Stay Visas / Work permits
The employee will need to contact the French Embassy or consulate in their current country of domicile before they arrive. Procedures vary for different nationalities and activities, therefore it is important to clearly outline the reasons for the application.
· Carte de Séjour
Carte de séjour applications are similar to those cited for EU citizens although employees will also be required to undergo a medical examination with the OMI (Office des Migrations Internationales) before their carte de séjour application is fully accepted.
The entire process may take several months so patience is needed. Once the carte de séjour is issued they will be entitled to French social benefits such as national health care.