Virginia, US

Mar 08 2018

Immigration Reforms Introduced


At a Glance

The French Government has introduced an immigration bill which would include reforms to the following features of the French immigration system, if it is passed by the National Assembly in April:

  • Intracompany transferees;
  • Graduates, au pairs and researchers;
  • The Talent Passport program;
  • Recognized sponsorship for employers; and
  • Travel documents for minors.

The situation

A proposed immigration bill would significantly affect France’s immigration laws.

A closer look

  • Intra-corporate transferees. The law proposes the below changes to the Intra-Corporate Transferee (ICT) category:
    • Cooling-off period. Non-EU nationals who hold EU ICT permits would be required to leave France upon the expiration of their status for a period of at least six months.
      • Impact. The cooling-off period would be codified and would clarify the ICT stay rules. Employers should be aware of the limitations of ICT permits and that extensions beyond the three-year period could result in a disruption of stay.
    • Longer home country employment period. Foreign nationals would have to be employed by their home country employer for six months (the requirement in some other EU Member States) prior to obtaining an EU ICT permit for France, as opposed to the current three-month requirement.
      • Impact. This would restrict the number of foreign nationals eligible for EU ICT permits.
    • Definition of dependent expanded. Children of spouses would become eligible for dependent status, whereas currently only children of the primary applicant are eligible.
      • Impact.  Additional dependents would be able to accompany the main applicant to France.

  • New permits. The law would further implement the EU Directive on research, studies and training by amending the graduate permit and introducing a new au pair permit.
    • Graduates. The current temporary residence authorization for eligible non-EU graduates from French education institutions (Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS)) would be amended from a limited national permit to a full residence permit with Schengen travel rights.
      • Impact. Graduates would benefit from increased intra-EU mobility and streamlined processing.
    • Au pairs. A new residence permit would be created for au pairs between the ages of 18 and 30.
      • Impact. More foreign nationals would be eligible to work and stay in France.

  • Expansion of the Talent Passport program. The Talent Passport program – a four-year residence permit for highly-skilled foreign workers – would cover new companies and projects.
    • More companies eligible. The criteria for companies to qualify as innovative sponsors under the Talent Passport program would be relaxed. Under the new law, companies could qualify as innovative sponsor even if they do not have the tax status of ‘young innovative company’. 
      • Impact. Additional companies would be eligible to sponsor foreign workers under the Talent Passport program.
    • More projects eligible. Projects aimed at economic development of a French company, and transfers under the ‘French Tech Visa’ program, would both qualify under the Talent Passport program. More detailed requirements have yet to be developed.
      • Impact. More foreign nationals would be eligible under the Talent Passport program.

  • Pre-approval process for employers. The law proposes to introduce a pre-approval process for sponsoring companies, which would allow access to a streamlined work authorization process with fewer document requirements and reduced processing times. The process would be similar to the Dutch ‘Recognised Sponsorship’ program. Further details on the pre-approval framework, sponsorship criteria and compliance monitoring have yet to be developed.
    • Impact. The pre-approval process would streamline the work authorization application process and reduce processing times and administrative burdens on employers.

  • Travel permits simplified for minor children. There are currently two processes for travel permits for minor children (Document de Circulation pour Étranger Mineur (DCEM) and Titre d'Identité Republicain (TIR)), depending on where they are born and their parents’ nationality. The new law would combine these processes and remove obsolete requirements.
    • Impact. The process of obtaining travel permits for minor children would be streamlined.



The proposed changes to the immigration system are meant to clarify laws that were passed in November 2016 and to further transpose the EU ICT Directive and the EU Directive on research, studies and training.

Additionally, the measures aim to facilitate attracting and retaining talented foreign workers.

The draft law also modifies French asylum law.

Looking ahead

The bill will be debated in the National Assembly in April and is expected to pass in largely the same format as the draft law.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to