People looking to work in France next year and need a work permit will need to provide extra documents with their application.

From 01 January 2015, the changes will apply to employees and employers, but pending applications will not be affected. However, the whole process from start to finish can take from one to two months.

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People from the European Union or Switzerland are free to work in France without a work permit, with the exception of Croatian nationals, who need a permit for their first year of work. Also, if a family member has a permit for certain types of highly skilled work, you also may be able to work without a permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France and they need this authorisation before a visa or residence permit can be granted. This is a procedure usually organised by a prospective employer.

According to the French Ministry of Labour, the changes should not affect the decision making process or the amount of time it takes to grant a permit, but those applying need to be allow extra time to assemble the documents before they make their application.

‘The changes impose significant documentation requirements on employers and employees alike. Employers and employees should begin assembling the documentation that will be required in work permit applications beginning 01 January 2015,’ a spokesman said.

The changes affect sending employers, host employers and employees. The sending (non-French) employer must provide their company registration number or employer ID, the date the company was formed and name of the registration authority, the name of a legal representative and the company’s primary business activity.

Depending on the home country, the sending employer may also be required to register with the French social security system. In addition to the above, companies sending intra-company transferees must provide a website address documenting the relationship between the foreign entity and the French host company.

For international provision of services, the sending employer must provide information about the total cost of the services and a copy of the service agreement.

The French host employer must provide information about entities handling the work permit application process and paying government fees on its behalf, as well as the monthly or gross annual salary for an equivalent position in the host company, excluding any in-kind payment.

In cases involving regulated activity, the host employer must provide the identity of the regulating body and proof of certification. For intra company transfers, the host employer must describe the role of the French entity in the corporate group and the date the French group was formed or came under control of the group.

Foreign employees will also have new document requirements. They must submit a copy of the initial employment contract or, if that is not available, a copy of the initial employment offer letter. With the exception of intra company transfers and secondments, foreign employees must also submit a copy of employment certificates from previous employers proving that they have adequate professional experience.