France’s new immigration law has been ratified and published in the Official Journal. The bulk of the law addresses asylum seekers and illegal immigration, but it also contains some provisions related to high-skilled immigration, some of which may inhibit intragroup mobility. Key changes include:

  • Amendments to France’s rules for intracorporate transfers. France will require applicants for seconded employee ICT cards to have worked with the employer for at least six months before coming to the country—previously, three months of experience at the company were required. Additionally, a new cooling-off period will be established, requiring foreign nationals to leave France for at least six months upon the expiration of their ICT card before they are eligible to reapply.
  • The introduction of residency permits for students and researchers. The law incorporates the European Union’s Directive 2016/801 on students and researchers into French law. France will introduce a new residence permit that will allow researchers and recent graduates, including those who wish to return to France within four years of completing their studies, to look for employment or start a business in France. This permit will replace the current “APS” (“autorisation provisoire de séjour”) and will allow for changes in employment and part-time employment. The law also creates a “student mobility” category for students coming to study in France after being previously admitted to study in another EU member state.
  • Widened notion of family and reduced validity period for documents for minors. Minor children are currently issued circulation documents valid for up to five years. The validity period may now be limited to the date their parents’ residence card expires. The supportive family plan will now provide eligibility for children of either the principal applicant or their spouse/partner, rather than only the children of the principal applicant.

Background: French President Emmanuel Macron introduced the legislation in February. The French Parliament signed it into law in August and the Council of State subsequently completed a legal review. The law was published last week. Authorities have not yet issued implementing decrees, but they are expected before March 2019.

Analysis & Comments: On the whole, the law is favorable to researchers, students and recent graduates. It is more restrictive to seconded employees, however. More will become clear about the impact on high-skilled immigration once implementing decrees are issued and authorities begin enforcing the law.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.