The French Parliament has signed a wide-ranging immigration bill into law. Portions of the law that focus on asylum dominated much of the debate this spring and summer, but the law also contains a number of provisions to enhance France’s attractiveness for high-skilled migrants—especially researchers, students, recent graduates and world-renowned experts. The Council of State is expected to complete a legal review of the law in the coming weeks, setting the stage for it to be enacted in mid-September. The law:

  • Expands the Talent Passport program. A new Talent Passport category will be created for non-EU nationals who are working in research or higher education in another EU member state. Permit holders in this category will be allowed to carry out some of their work activities in France. The law will also expand the Talent Passport category for young or innovative companies and will allow the category for foreign nationals who are internationally renowned in their field to include people who could significantly participate in the French economy or in the promotion of France. Finally, the law broadens the definition of “family member” to allow the children of a Talent Passport holder’s partner to come to France, whereas currently only the children of Talent Passport holders themselves are permitted.
  • Transposes Directive (EU) 2016/801 on students and researchers into French law. A new residence permit will be created to 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. It will replace the current “APS” (“autorisation provisoire de séjour”). A new “student mobility” category will also be created for students who are studying in France and another EU member state.
  • Amends France’s rules for intra-corporate transfers. France will require applicants for seconded employee ICT cards to have to have at least six months of experience (as opposed to three) before coming to France. A cooling-off period of six months will also be established, requiring foreign nationals to leave France for at least six months upon the expiration of their ICT card. The law broadens the definition of “family member” to allow the children of an ICT permit holder’s partner to come to France, whereas currently only the children of ICT permit holders themselves are permitted.
  • Introduces a pre-authorization system for work permits. Qualifying companies will be able to obtain work permits for non-EU/EEA employees with fewer documentation requirements and faster processing times.
  • Changes the process for issuing travel documents to minor children. The “TIR” (Republican Identity Title) and “DCEM” (Circulation Document for Minor Child) will be merged into one document. The law also calls on officials to simplify the process for obtaining the document.

BAL Analysis: BAL continues to review the legislation, which Parliament signed into law last week. On the whole, the law is favorable to researchers, students, recent graduates and world-renowned experts. It is more restrictive to seconded employees, however, and more will become clear about the impact on high-skilled immigration once implementing decrees are issued and authorities begin enforcing the law. BAL will provide updates about the law’s implementation as additional information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and Karl Waheed Avocats in France. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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