business visa

France to introduce new business and student visas

by Ray Clancy on February 18, 2014

France is to introduce new visas in a bid to attract more startup businesses and business people from outside of the European Union.

In what some regard as a desperate bid to shore up the ailing French economy, French President Francois Hollande met with 34 of the bosses of some of the biggest international firms such as Volvo, Bosch, Siemens, Samsung, General Electric, Intel and Nestle, to tell them that the country is open to international business and investment.

france eiffel tower

Non-EU entrepreneurs who come to France regularly for their work will be able to get a long duration visa of five years

‘Everything must be done to quickly and efficiently welcome foreign investments. We do not have a narrow conception of our national interests. We even consider the mobility of investment from France to foreign countries and vice versa as a factor in the success of the country,’ Hollande told the meeting which was called the Strategic Council on Attractiveness.

He also announced a series of measures aimed at persuading foreign investors to return to France. He addressed the tax issue first and said that there will be guaranteed tax rates that won’t change over time, adding that French and foreign companies should be able to ask the government to confirm the standards and tax structures that will apply to their investments. There will also be help for startup businesses with the creation of a one stop shop for paperwork and help finding funding.

A new start up visa will be introduced and non EU entrepreneurs who come to France regularly for their work will be able to get a long duration visa of five years. The waiting times for visas would also be cut, Hollande said.

There will also be a talent visa, viable for four years, for recently qualified graduates, researchers, investors, corporate officers and highly skilled workers. Students and foreign researchers would also be eligible for a visa equivalent to the length of their studies.

Hollande also announces that the agency to promote France, The French Agency for International Investment, and Ubifrance, which assists French companies wishing to export goods, will merge into a single agency that will sell France abroad under the name France International.

In recent years, many foreign companies have been put off doing business with France because of high taxes and red tape. Business leaders of major global companies such as Coca-Cola, General Electric and Hewlett Packard have already pointed out that it has become more and more difficult to convince their head offices to invest in France.

Hollande has acknowledged that the French state is too heavy, too slow and too expensive and vowed to do something about it, including making €50 billion in savings by 2017. But his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy tried to trim back costs and failed.

Also French businesses may not like an open doors policy for international businesses. Just this week the bosses of the main French television stations have asked for ‘protection’ from the likes of Netflix and YouTube which they claim could threaten their business.

 

 

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