General framework

Legislation

What primary and secondary legislation governs immigration in your jurisdiction?

The legislation is comprised of laws passed by the joint houses of parliament, which are then implemented into the Immigration Code. Laws are often supplemented by implementing decrees and administrative circulars. The administration also circulates internal notes and instructions on general orientation and practices, but the latter are rarely made available to the public.

International agreements

Has your jurisdiction concluded any international agreements affecting immigration (eg, free trade agreements or free movement accords)?

Aside from the agreements on the free movement of persons among the members of the EU, and an agreement between France and Algeria that slightly modifies common law, France has not entered into any specific immigration agreements based on nationality or region. France does maintain a list of countries whose nationals are not required to obtain visas for short stays (up to 90 days out of 180 days), but this visa exemption is not a work authorisation exemption.

Regulatory authorities

Which government authorities regulate immigration and what is the extent of their enforcement powers? Can the decisions of these authorities be appealed?

The consulates are under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the borders (including the police) are under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior. Decisions may be appealed, but France disposes of wide discretion based on national security interests.

Government policy

In broad terms what is your government’s policy towards business immigration?

The landscape of current French business immigration regulations reflects, to a large extent, the political and economic history of France: pressure on employment in the unskilled and skilled industrial labour market, increasing in the early 1970s, resulted in successive measures to balance the need to facilitate business growth while protecting the domestic population from excessive non-European competition on the job market. There has, therefore, been a simplification of work authorisation procedures for nationals of non-European Economic Area (EEA) member states, with procedures intended to be ‘business-friendly’ to facilitate certain types of intra-group transfers from countries outside the EU so as to keep France in the race to attract foreign investment from emerging countries.

In parallel, there has been the obligatory alignment with EU directives on the free circulation of nationals of EEA member states.

A major immigration reform was promulgated in 2016, resulting in significantly simplified and expedited procedures for several major categories of business migration. In essence, intra-group assignments and highly skilled local-hire categories of work authorisation are filed directly with the consulate in the assignee’s country of residence or nationality, and no longer with the local labour authorities in France. One of the government’s stated objectives in by-passing the local authorities in the procedure is to free up the latter to conduct more inspections in the field so as to police compliance by employers of immigration, social security and labour laws, which has led to a noticeable increase in inspection activity.

Although no significant new categories of work authorisations have been created, a short-term work authorisation exemption has been created for certain types of activities.

Short-term transfers

Visas

In what circumstances is a visa necessary for short-term travellers? How are short-term visas obtained?

Nationals of EEA member states are not required to have a visa to enter France regardless of the type of business activity they will perform. For nationals of other states, short-term travel may be divided into two categories: business trips and short-term work assignments.

Business trips

Nationals of many countries need visas to enter France for business trips, unless they have already been admitted to a Schengen area country. The need for a visa should be verified on a case-by-case basis early enough in the planning stage so that the person has the time to obtain a visa as necessary. The process can vary depending on the French consulate having jurisdiction over the person’s residence or country of nationality, but there is generally a need for justification of the need for the visa, such as a business meeting invitation letter.

Short-term work assignments

To perform ‘work’ for less than three months, the need for a visa will depend upon the person’s nationality (certain nationalities are exempt). For work assignments of three months or more in France, persons of all nationalities (excluding, of course, nationals of EEA member states) require a visa. Applications for both types of visa are made at the French consulate having jurisdiction over the residence of the assignee or his or her country of origin.

Restrictions

What are the main restrictions on a business visitor?

Whether the person needs a visa or not, there is an absolute limit of three months of presence, consecutive or otherwise, in a six-month period, for nationals of non-EEA member states for a business trip.

A business trip is best defined by what it is not. Indeed, a business trip is by implicit definition not ‘work’ in France (ie, neither work for a French-based entity nor a foreign one) and, therefore, is not subject to ‘work authorisation’. The notion of ‘work’ implies a certain regularity and stability of activity in France. Therefore, attending a single business meeting that involves the gathering of information that is preparatory for later work, prospecting for new business on behalf of the foreign employer or even negotiating a business deal for a foreign employer in a way that is peripheral to the business traveller’s daily work abroad, would in all likelihood be seen as not consisting of work in France. If attending such meetings constitutes the person’s entire work assignment, however, and the person comes back to France one day a week, every two weeks as part of a regular pattern, for example, the risk that the person’s activity be seen by the French labour authorities as work increases (subject notably to criminal sanctions and impediments to obtaining future work authorisations and liability for social security). Even one day of activity in France, if the activity can be seen as the person’s work (unless subject to an exemption under the new immigration laws such as artistic performers or audit work), could be subject to work authorisation. Payment by the French entity of a salary (anything other than incidental expenses) would also be evidence of work. Therefore, the person’s activity in France and his or her work patterns should be analysed together to determine whether the person’s intended activity should be considered as work, subject to one of the work authorisations discussed in question 10.

The immigration reforms of 7 March 2016 and 2 November 2016 instituted a short-term exemption, valid for stays of up to 90 days, consecutive or not, over a period of 180 days, from work authorisations for persons performing audit work or providing expertise in one of a number of areas including architecture, computer sciences, engineering and finance. This exemption is valid for both intra-group secondments and service-provider activity, and therefore does not apply to work that would be considered as salaried activity for the host entity. If the assignee qualifies for such a short-term work authorisation exemption and also happens to be a national of a country for which no short-term visa to France is required, then the assignee may enter France on his or her passport only. A declaration of secondment must nonetheless be filed by the foreign employer prior to the person starting work. We also recommend that the assignee carry all documents to demonstrate eligibility for this exemption as well as his or her compliance with French social security.

Short-term training

Is work authorisation or immigration permission needed to give or receive short-term training?

To receive ‘academic training’ (ie, not involving production work), a short-term business visitor visa - if the person’s nationality requires that he or she obtain such a visa to enter France - is sufficient. No work authorisation is required. To obtain the visa, the training agreement should normally be shown at the consulate to receive (training for less than three months). For training for more than three months, the training agreement should normally be approved by the French labour authorities prior to requesting the visa at the French consulate.

If the training combines applying the skills learned with trying them out in the workplace, the work authorisation that would be more appropriate is the intra-group temporary assignment (intra-company transfer (ICT) intra-group posted worker; see question 10). For the person who provides intra-group training, many companies treat the activity under a short-term business visitor status. If the person’s permanent function for his or her employer is to provide training, then the person should arguably be treated as an ICT intra-group posted worker or as an employee seconded within the context of a commercial agreement (see question 24).

Transit

Are transit visas required to travel through your country? How are these obtained? Are they only required for certain nationals?

Yes, transit visas may be needed, depending on the nationality of the traveller. Transit visas must be requested at the French consulate having jurisdiction over the person’s residence or country of origin.

Visa waivers and fast-track entry

Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?

The need for a short-term visa will depend upon the person’s nationality. There are no fast-track entry programmes.

Long-term transfers

Categories

What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?

In 2007, the French legislature created a new category of work authorisation designed to facilitate temporary intra-group transfers of assignees, called intra-group transfer authorisations. There are two subcategories of intra-group transfer authorisation: one where the assignee has only an employment contract with the home employer and one where the assignee has an employment contract with the home employer and the host entity simultaneously.

The reforms of 7 March 2016 and 2 November 2016 modified the nomenclature, but not the basic aspects of these two intra-group work authorisations. The intra-group transfer seconded worker (home employment contract only) category is now called the ICT intra-group posted worker category and the intra-group transfer (simultaneous home and host contract) category is now called the talent passport intra-group salaried worker category.

To qualify for this type of work authorisation, the assignee must:

  • receive sufficient resources or the salary amount indicated in the collective bargaining agreement for ICT intra-group posted workers, or €2,700 for intra-group salaried workers;
  • have at least three months (or six months for ICT intra-group workers) of seniority with an entity of the assigning group (consequently, this category is therefore not suitable for new hires);
  • be performing a function for his or her home employer within a French entity of the same group for a period of no less than three months and no longer than three years for ICT intra-group posted workers; and
  • have either a certificate of coverage for social security purposes or an attestation that French social security affiliation will be requested, in the visa application file.

It is also possible for a French employer to hire an individual who has no pre-existing employment relationship with another company of the same group in a salaried employee capacity. This latter category of work authorisation results in the assignee having salaried employment status under an employment contract with the French host entity. A request of this type of authorisation may be refused by the French labour authorities as the future employer should check the employment market to ascertain whether a local person could occupy the job that he or she proposes to his or her candidate. There are several other types of authorisations, notably those for corporate officers (see question 16 for investors) and highly skilled individuals (now called the salaried worker - European Blue Card) (see question 18), and several smaller categories for specific professions.

‘Work’ in France will trigger French social security liability, unless a treaty exemption applies, and the application of French labour law to a degree that will depend on the structure of the work.

Procedures

What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?

For the intra-group types of work authorisation, which are the most frequently used categories of business work authorisation, and the salaried worker - European Blue Card category, there has been a significant simplification of procedure aimed at reducing the waiting time and the number of civil servants involved in the process (therefore freeing up a certain number of civil servants to carry out file inspections). Instead of filing the application with the French Immigration Office or the Regional Directorates for Enterprise, Competition, Labour and Employment in France (DIRECCTE) (depending upon the jurisdiction where the work will be carried out), the application is filed directly via the visa centre in the assignee’s home country, which sends the application to the French consulate. A process that previously took between six and eight weeks at best has been reduced to approximately two to three weeks. The availability of a booking date will vary depending on the visa centre and the time of year. The visa centres and French consulates may keep a passport for visa processing for anywhere from one to 10 days, depending upon the consulate, which can lead to considerable travel inconvenience unless the person has a second passport.

Upon arrival in France, the assignee will have to request a French residence permit from the competent French police authorities. The assignee may begin work upon his or her arrival in France.

Period of stay

What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?

The residence card for the ICT type of work authorisation is capped at three years. The residence card for the salaried worker type of work authorisation is valid for four years, but is renewable for as long as necessary. A request for change of immigration category to a category with a local employment contract is now possible under the new regulations.

Processing time

How long does it typically take to process the main categories?

For ICT and salaried worker categories, which are processed directly by the consulate without first filing the application with the local labour authorities in France, the procedure has been reduced from around six to eight weeks to approximately two weeks. For most other main types of work authorisation, the process generally takes between eight and 12 weeks.

Staff benefits

Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?

Proof of social security coverage in France is now a prerequisite for obtaining work authorisation in the ICT and salaried worker categories. Proof of such coverage (French or that of another country, depending upon whether the assignee has a certificate of coverage under a multilateral or bilateral social security agreement (ie, a treaty exemption) and the scope of risks that are covered by that agreement) will be required upon renewal of work and residence authorisations.

Assessment criteria

Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?

The immigration authorities do apply objective criteria, notably concerning minimum salary and seniority. More subjective criteria, such as the level of ‘assimilation’ to French culture and French language ability, only come into play in requests for naturalisation or 10-year card requests.

High net worth individuals and investors

Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?

Persons who can demonstrate the ability to offer a direct economic contribution for an amount of €300,000 may be eligible for a talent passport - business investor.

A foreign investor who will also be a corporate officer of the business he or she creates or invests in may solicit a talent passport - new business or talent passport - corporate officer. Indeed, when an assignee is to hold a corporate officer position (chairperson or general manager of a corporation, or representative manager of a branch) in France, the person is not subject to a ‘work authorisation’ as such (this activity is not analysed as salaried ‘work’ by the immigration authorities - although it may be considered as salaried work by the social security or labour authorities, depending on the type of post, the type of entity and whether the person will also be on the board of directors, if relevant). If the corporate officer will not reside in France, there is no immigration formality to undertake with the competent authorities in France (the declaration of the activity has been eliminated). If the assignee is to reside in France, the procedure begins with a filing with the French consulate having jurisdiction over his or her country of residence or nationality, although the file is examined and decided upon by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once approved, the assignee obtains a visa in his or her passport and may enter France to obtain a residence card for corporate officers. The card is valid for four years, and is renewable indefinitely for as long as the person holds the corporate position. Certain consulates grant a ‘high talent and competence’ status for such applicants, as opposed to the classic corporate officer status.

The spouse of the assignee obtains a residence card and is therefore entitled to work as an accompanying spouse. In practice, this type of application takes between two weeks and three months to be approved, or less if the company has already been set up.

Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?

No.

Highly skilled individuals

Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?

The talent passport EU Blue Card category applies to highly qualified employees (three-year level university diploma or five years of professional experience in the area of the post to be filled) being offered an employment contract with the French host entity, valid for at least one year (a fixed-term contract of at least one year, assuming all other requirements for use of fixed-term contracts are met, or a standard ‘indefinite-term contract’) with a gross minimum annual salary of €53,836.50 (as at July 2018).

This category of admission does not require establishing proof that no qualified candidate is available locally (similar to the former ‘high-level salaried executive’ category). It can apply regardless of the candidate’s seniority in the group or the expected duration of the assignment. This new category also grants the candidate’s spouse the right to work in France. The immigration process is similar to that discussed in question 11.

Another type of work authorisation for highly skilled individuals is that known as the talent passport for foreigners with a national or international reputation, designed for persons who have a project involving either economic development or the intellectual, cultural or scientific profile of France and the applicant’s home country. No investment is required. The high talent and competence work authorisation may be granted for many types of individuals who might also otherwise qualify for another existing category. The authorisation is valid for up to four years and the accompanying spouse is entitled to work. It is not possible to alter the nature of the project in mid-course.

Ancestry and descent

Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?

There is a special route that is only applicable when requesting French nationality.

Minimum salary

Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?

Each category of work authorisation has a minimum salary condition. There are often minimum salary conditions additionally imposed by an applicable collective bargaining agreement by job grade and the national minimum wage.

Resident labour market test

Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?

The French visa system is not based on quotas. Moreover, there is no need to prove that there are no other candidates available on the local market for applicants under the intra-group transfer or highly skilled individuals categories, even though the person has an employment contract with the French entity.

For standard salaried employee applications, the existing requirement to verify that there are no available candidates on the local market except for students who can justify holding a provisional permit to stay thanks to a master’s degree, has been essentially maintained. Assignees whose professions are identified as being ‘difficult to staff’ are looked upon more favourably. The list of professions considered difficult to staff identifies approximately 30 professions by region.

Shortage occupations

Is there a special route for shortage occupations?

The labour administration maintains a list of ‘understaffed professions’, updated periodically. An employer who wishes to hire a candidate for a profession on the list is exempt from first going through the several-week process of posting an advertisement for locally available candidates.

Other eligibility requirements

Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?

The intra-group types of work authorisation require a position of seniority of from three to six months within the group (see question 10).

Third-party contractors

What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?

A specific type of work authorisation is appropriate for employees of a foreign entity who are assigned to France in order to perform a service agreement with a client of that employer. This work authorisation is not appropriate for either self-employed persons or persons whose work in France at the host entity would imply either having an employment relationship (subordination and control) with an affiliated entity of the foreign employer in France or with the client host entity. This determination is a matter of analysis of the facts on a case-by-case basis.

To obtain this work authorisation, documents defining the parties involved and the nature of the activity are filed in France with DIRECCTE and the immigration service. Once the request is approved, the file is sent to the consulate having jurisdiction over the person’s residence or country of origin. The consulate then issues a visa to the assignee, and family under certain conditions enabling them to enter France. Once in France, the assignee and the spouse will have to undertake a medical examination with the immigration services and register their stay (no residence permit is issued during the first year as the visa is valid for one year).

The assignee receives a temporary worker residence card in the second year and the spouse receives a visitor residence card and therefore does not have a right to work. Both the assignee and the spouse obtain a one-year residence card, which is renewable. Since this type of assignment is temporary by definition, it is difficult to obtain a renewal beyond three years, regardless of the length of the assignee’s social security certificate of coverage, if any.

As the assignee is considered as being seconded from an employment law perspective (home employment contract only, no host employment contract), the core body of French employment law provisions would apply, notably those relating to health, safety and working time (but not dismissal).

The assignee must also be paid at least the amount that would be due to the employee holding the same position under the applicable French collective bargaining agreement (to avoid social dumping) in order to qualify for this type of work authorisation. A secondment status, which implies work in France, may also result in French social security liability, depending upon whether the assignee benefits from a social security exemption under an applicable social security agreement.

One of the most frequent difficulties encountered by businesses in this case is the complexity of group service contracts. Indeed, where the service agreement is concluded between the parent company of the service provider and the parent company of the beneficiary, the service agreement (one of the key elements of the application file) is often not concluded between the company employing the assignee nor the French beneficiary company. In many cases, there are annexes mentioning the subsidiaries that may be called upon in the context of the execution of the contract, but it is sometimes necessary to draft a specific annex or assignment letter to make clear to the French authorities the commercial service link between the foreign employer and the French beneficiary.

Recognition of foreign qualifications

Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?

All work authorisations have either minimum salary or minimum employment seniority requirements, or both. In a sense, therefore, skills and qualifications are proven by these factors. For salaried worker applications, diplomas can also be used to demonstrate the interest of a particular applicant. Moreover, certain professions, such as doctors, nurses and lawyers, are subject to additional professional guild or bar rules.

Extensions and variations

Short-term to long-term status

Can a short-term visa be converted in-country into longer-term authorisations? If so, what is the process?

A person who has entered France as a business traveller or a tourist cannot regularise his or her status while remaining in France. Moreover, although a legitimate change of status application to change from one type of work authorisation to another is possible, there is a high risk of refusal, except when changing towards a high-level executive category.

Long-term extension

Can long-term immigration permission be extended?

Each category of work authorisation has its own terms and renewal limits.

The residence card for the ICT type of work authorisation cannot be extended once the maximum period of three years has been reached. A waiting period of six months outside the European Union must be reached before a new visa and residence card for the ICT type of work authorisation can be requested.

Exit and re-entry

What are the rules on and implications of exit and re-entry for work permits?

There are no exit permits as such required to leave France for a person who is under a valid work and residence permit, and re-entry is permitted for as long as the person’s passport and work and residence permit are valid.

Persons under the ICT or intra-group salaried worker status are only allowed to take short, personal trips outside France, failing which their assignment may be deemed ‘interrupted’, requiring the filing of a request for a new work authorisation.

Permanent residency and citizenship

How can immigrants qualify for permanent residency or citizenship?

A permanent residence card may be requested after five years of temporary residence depending on the immigration status of the candidate (salaried, corporate officer, EU Blue Card, etc) and his or her nationality. Persons in student, trainee and intra-group transfer categories cannot use this time towards this five-year minimum.

Requests for citizenship by naturalisation (as opposed to acquisition of French nationality by reason of family relationships) may also be filed after five years of residence (this qualification period may be shortened significantly if the applicant holds a French university degree). Applicants for naturalisation must demonstrate sufficient and durable ties with France and a significant level of French (at least level A2) and ‘temporary’ status, such as being a student or being on secondment status, does not support this. It is expected that a certificate of aptitude will be created for this purpose.

End of employment

Must immigration permission be cancelled at the end of employment in your jurisdiction?

There is no obligation to cancel or return the residence card at the end of an assignment. However, in practice, it is preferable to notify the administration so as to preserve goodwill with the authorities in case of future transfer of the assignee.

Employee restrictions

Are there any specific restrictions on a holder of employment permission?

A person with work authorisation can simultaneously be a student in France. A person with an ICT intra-group posted worker authorisation (secondment and salaried work) cannot engage in activity for an entity other than the one cited in the original application.

A person with a salaried employee authorisation can in principle leave the initial employer and work in the same capacity for another French entity (with exceptions), provided the assignee meets the same salary conditions upon which the initial authorisation was granted after the second renewal of his or her residence permit as an employee.

Dependants

Eligibility

Who qualifies as a dependant?

Technically, only legally married spouses and children who are under 18 years old qualify for accompanying admission. This status is extended to the applicant’s or his or her spouse’s children from previous relationships or marriage. Persons related to an applicant or to a French person by a civil partnership may be admitted as long-term visitors, but for the time being, such admission is highly discretionary.

Conditions and restrictions

Are dependants automatically allowed to work or attend school?

Spouses (through marriage) of intra-group transfer categories, the highly skilled individual category (talent passport EU Blue Card) or talent passports for foreigners with a national or international reputation authorisation holders are automatically entitled to work. In practice, spouses (whatever their immigration status) can study.

Access to social benefits

What social benefits are dependants entitled to?

Social benefits are determined not on immigration status, but on social security status, which in turn is determined by whether the person is covered only by his or her home country system, pursuant to an exemption under an applicable social security agreement, and the terms of that agreement. The dependant of an assignee covered by French social security (by virtue of working in France, and assuming no such exemption) would be entitled to full French social security benefits regardless of his or her nationality, assuming the person were duly admitted to France as an accompanying dependant.

Other requirements, restrictions and penalties

Criminal convictions

Are prior criminal convictions a barrier to obtaining immigration permission?

Criminal clearance records for the applicant’s home country are for corporate officer work authorisations only (ie, not for secondment or salaried work authorisation).

Penalties for non-compliance

What are the penalties for companies and individuals for non-compliance with immigration law? How are these applied in practice?

The objective of the French administration is to reinforce the sanctions against the use of unauthorised foreign labour. French law provides penalties for the assignee, the employing entity and any person facilitating an immigration violation as follows:

  • foreign nationals entering or residing in France without complying with the relevant regulations are subject to imprisonment and fines;
  • persons helping or attempting to help foreign nationals circumvent relevant residence regulations are subject to imprisonment and fines;
  • the corporate representatives of companies employing foreign nationals who do not have the necessary work authorisation are subject to a potential penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a fine, the fine being multiplied by the number of illegally employed individuals. Damages may also be ordered in favour of the employees concerned. The corporation itself would also be subject to additional penalties, including fines, an exclusion from government contract and a suspension of the right to conduct business;
  • the employer may be subject to imprisonment and fines for providing false information to obtain work authorisation;
  • any person providing false information in order to obtain a government document may be sanctioned by imprisonment and fines;
  • in addition to the criminal sanctions above, the employer illegally employing foreign labour may be subject to administrative fines; and
  • employers of unauthorised workers may also be liable for unpaid wages and related social charges. Persons using a subcontractor involving labour for a commercial agreement of €5,000 or more are required to carry out periodic verifications of the subcontractor’s workers, subject to shared liability for wages, social charges and severance. Moreover, the person who works with an employer whose workers do not have the necessary work authorisation can be sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a fine.

If the employer is found liable through use of undeclared labour, in addition to fines and imprisonment for the corporate offices, it could lose entitlement to public aid or be ordered to reimburse aid already received, be ordered to close its establishment for a term of not more than three months and be excluded from public contracts.

Language requirements

Are there any minimum language requirements for migrants?

No, there are no language requirements for business-related immigrants. There are assimilation requirements, including French language capacity, for non-EU nationals married to a French national, permanent resident card applicants and naturalisation applicants.

Medical screening

Is medical screening required to obtain immigration permission?

Depending on the immigration status, a medical examination for assignees entering France for working purposes can be held upon arrival in France with a doctor authorised for this purpose by the Ministry of Labour. The examination involves X-rays and a general check-up, but no blood test.

Secondment

Is there a specific procedure for employees on secondment to a client site in your jurisdiction?

See question 24.

Update and trends

Key developments of the past year

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in corporate immigration regulation in your jurisdiction?

Key developments of the past year40 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in corporate immigration regulation in your jurisdiction?

The Brexit-related discussions in Brussels between UK and EU negotiators culminated in a multi-party agreement to delay the UK’s withdrawal until 31 October 2019.

In view of the possibility of a withdrawal without a transitional agreement, an ordinance was published by the French government on 7 February 2019, concerning the rights of UK nationals with respect to French immigration, social security rights and the exercise of regulated professions. This ordinance will enter into effect on the date of withdrawal provided no withdrawal agreement is concluded between the UK and the EU before then.

The ordinance creates a specific regime for UK nationals who are present in France, either as workers, retired persons or students, no later than the date of withdrawal of the UK from the EU, whereby such persons retain a right to reside and work during a grace period of between three and 12 months (to be determined by an upcoming decree). Persons concerned must file a request for a residence card before the expiry of this period, but shall be exempt from the need for a long-term visa and work authorisation.

UK nationals who arrived in France less than five years before the date of withdrawal shall receive a temporary or multi-year residence card under a regime more favourable than the standard regulatory provisions, subject to certain work and resource conditions, but aimed at facilitating the pursuit of salaried work and stay for such UK nationals and members of their families (regardless of the latter’s nationality).

UK nationals residing in France for more than five years shall receive a 10-year residence card, renewable automatically, as will members of their family, regardless of the latter’s nationality.

It may be deduced from the above that these provisions only concern long stays (ie, that UK nationals who come to France for longer than 90 days out of 180 days after the withdrawal must obtain a long-stay visa and will be subject to standard immigration regulations applicable to nationals of non-EU member states). If the French government observes that, within two months of the date of withdrawal, the United Kingdom does not extend to French nationals on UK territory procedures as favourable as those set forth in the ordinance, a decree may suspend the application of these special conditions.