France has changed work permit application procedures, aiming to make the process more efficient.

Key Points:

  • Under a change that took effect April 6, employers must submit work permit applications on this foreign workforce services (SMOE) online platform. Employers will no longer submit applications at local labor department (DIRECCTE) offices.
  • The SMOE platform will send work authorization directly to both the employer and employee once the application is processed. Prefectures will no longer take part in this process.
  • Applications will be decided based on three factors:
    • The nature of the job. For jobs on the shortage occupation lists, employers do not need to follow normal labor market testing rules. However, if the job is not on the shortage occupation list, the employers must advertise the position for at least three weeks before a work permit application can be filed. Employers will no longer be required to show a “match” between the non-EU national and the job advertisement. This determination will be entirely up to the employer.
    • Compliance with labor, health and safety rules. Officials will consider an employer’s past compliance with applicable regulations and obligations, particularly those related to work, health and safety.
    • Compliance with remuneration rules. Officials will consider an employer’s past compliance with applicable wage rules under French labor law, i.e., minimum wage rules or compliance with collective bargaining agreements.
  • Officials have established seven platforms to handle work permit applications in different regions in France. Each platform is competent for a different area.
    The platforms are:

    • Avignon (seasonal work).
    • Bobigny (Departments 91/93/94/77and Bourgogne Franche Comté).
    • Nanterre (Departments 75/78/92 and Centre Val de Loire).
    • Béthune (North).
    • Tulle (West).
    • Clermond-Ferrand for (Southast, Mayotte and Reunion).
    • Cayenne (French Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique).
  • Employers will soon be able to submit “Talent Passport” applications on the SMOE platform. This is expected to be implemented in May. Eventually, the platform will be open to applications from ICTs, posted workers and other residence permit applicants.

Analysis & Comments: The platform is designed to save applicants time by making it easier to submit certain information only once in the application process; however, applicants should expect the possibility of delays during the transition to the new process. Deloitte continues to monitor the introduction of the online portal and will provide more information as it becomes available.

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