France has been implementing for a few years the Talent Passport procedure aimed at facilitating the migration to France of skilled workers. The Interior Ministry is planning to simplify the procedures to encourage their move to France. Skilled professional immigration remains low in volume nonetheless, representing less than 276,000 first residence permits issued in 2019.
In 2019, almost 32,300 “talent passport” residence permits were issued (nearly 12,400 first titles and 19,900 titles under renewal (source: Ministry for Immigration).
The procedure is about to be overhauled to make it quicker, less bureaucratic and simplified.
THE “TALENT PASSPORT”: A LEGIBLE AND COMPETITIVE PROCEDURE
Since, 2016 the immigration law which notably introduced the “talent passport”, significant progress has been made to facilitate the administrative process of highly skilled foreign workers.
By grouping under a single name the various titles intended for highly qualified workers who coexisted before, the “talent passport” makes it possible to offer a more readable device while addressing a variety of audiences (employees qualified, researchers, entrepreneurs…).
The system is generally attractive. The filing process is simpler and faster: in the absence of a labor market test, the files do not go more through the procedure in SMOE (foreign labor service), but directly in the consulates (for introductions) or the prefectures (for changes of status) with the establishment of “skip-the-line”. The “talent passport” also offers competitive advantages in European comparison for a long-term installation: it is a multi-year permit, issued from the first admission to the stay for a maximum of 4 years, and which offers members of the family, full access to a multi-year card giving access to the labor market.
It is accessible to various audiences, notably foreigners who previously obtained a master’s degree in France who have the possibility of returning to France for a job paid twice the minimum wage or foreign entrepreneurs or very qualified or innovative investors with lower investment thresholds. Since March 1, 2019, the system has been extended to graduates of foreign universities and to businesses recognized as innovative through the French Tech Visa system.
|The French Tech Visa system: a dedicated and accelerated procedure for start-ups deemed to be innovative The “French Tech Visa” program, set up in June 2017, aims to attract to France and facilitate the reception of three types of profiles: entrepreneurs, employees and international investors of companies recognized as innovative by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. It provides for a simplified procedure on a dedicated and accelerated platform for obtaining a residence permit and, in priority, a “talent passport” for those who are eligible.|
THE “TALENT PASSPORT”: A PROCÉDURE WHOSE VISIBILITY MUST BE INCREASED
Before the implementation of the “talent passport”, in 2014, the Home Office estimated at 6,767 permits, the number of residence permits issued falling within the same scope; The OECD estimates that at least 5,500 qualified titles issued in 2015 could have benefited from a “talent passport”. Since the implementation of the “talent passport” on November 1, 2016, the actual deliveries figures are slightly higher than these estimates and tend to increase: 6,894 first “talent passports” were issued in 2017; 8,375 in 2018 and 8,807 in 2019. If the trend is positive, the system has not introduced any decisive changes in the magnitude of mobility flows and the type of beneficiaries.
The Interdepartmental Committee on Immigration and Integration of November 6, 2019 suggested the possibility of setting multi-year quantified objectives for the issuance of “talent passports”, sector by sector, based on the conclusions of a prospective audit on the needs in skills and qualifications by 2025 as part of the “2025 Productive Pact”
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The dematerialization of the request for “talent passport” is also planned for early 2021.
The “talent passport” system could be promoted through information campaigns towards targeted employers and the main countries of origin. Currently, the system notably benefits very little to SMEs which suffer from a lack of information and means to recruit skilled workers abroad.
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