Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Dear Expats, I hope you can help me: there have been a few similar questions on this forum to mine but none quite the same (and the relevant laws and policies may have changed in recent times).

I am Irish-UK citizen living in the UK but planning to spend approximately a year in France, so we can improve our understanding of the language and experience French life. During this time I would continue to work at my job in the UK (a combination of working remotely and travelling back for a few days at a time).

My understanding --please correct me if I am wrong -- is that I do not need to apply for a visa or Carte de Séjour. Similarly, I can bring my small children (who are also Irish and UK citizens) without applying for any form of status on their behalf.

The question concerns my non-EU spouse (US citizen). She does not plan to work in France. From previous helpful posts on the forum I learn that she should enter France, get a 90-day stamp on her passport, and apply promptly for a Carte de Séjour at the local préfecture, with lots of supporting documentation.

But will my spouse be entitled to a CdS? The most obvious basis would be that I am an EU citizen exercising my Treaty rights and that hence I can bring my spouse with me. But am I exercising Treaty rights? The relevant portion of the French government website seems to suggest that we will need to provide a reason for me to move to France. I will not be working or studying in France; nor will I be "inactif" (which is also mentioned as a valid reason i.e. retiring to France). Is it enough that we will be self-sufficient (based on my UK salary) and just want to live in France for a while?

Finally, am I right to assume that we'd better do this before Brexit takes effect? I am Irish citizen but we would be moving from the UK.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,121 Posts
OK, the critical factor here will be your "statut" in France (which is a fancy way of determining if you are indeed "exercising your EU rights" or not).

If you will be continuing to work at your job back in the UK, it will be necessary for you to prove that you are indeed "working in France" - which means that you are registered for the appropriate "cotisations" (i.e. social insurances) and that you have health insurance to cover all members of your family. Self-sufficient doesn't seem to count as "exercising your EU rights" unless you are set up in France as doing business or employed here.

There are a couple of ways to do that - including having your employer in the UK register with a special agency that will collect cotisations on your behalf (both your part and the employer's part). The only problem with that is that French cotisations tend to run quite a bit higher than UK social insurances for the employer, and many employers are not keen to register as having a French based/resident employee.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much!

Bev, Thanks so much for your immensely helpful response! I will check with my employer: I would certainly not be the only Euro-commuter so perhaps this might work.

If not, is there an alternative route? Given that she's not planning to work in France, could my spouse apply instead for a visa de long séjour as a visitor?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,121 Posts
Oops - the system ate my response. Try, try again....

You can try the visitor visa route, but some consulates have been known to refuse to accept a visa application if the candidate has an "easier" route - like being the spouse of an EU national. A visitor visa also requires a "reason" for being in France, which would require disclosure of your plans and any issues you may have in meeting the requirements of residing in France while working in the UK.

If you are resident in France, you will be subject to French taxes and cotisations under French law. There is also the issue of your health cover while in France. An EHIC isn't adequate to meet that requirement, and the UK isn't wild about folks not actually resident in the UK hopping back to use NHS services.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
I'm no expert on this but I wouldn't foresee any problem in France provided you do as Bev says. However I assume the long term plan is for you and your OH to go to the UK (à la Surinder Singh) and depending on your circumstances, this might be tricker the UK side. Check the UK residency rules and especially the "leaver" criteria. In order to be find out if you'll qualify as a leaver, you have to count up your ties with the UK on one hand, and the days you spend in the UK on the other hand. The more ties you have, the fewer days you can spend there without being classed as resident. If you have lots of ties (can't remember the exact scale) then spending literally a couple of days in the UK makes you resident in HMRC's eyes, you virtually have to go a full calendar year without setting foot on UK soil. So if you've been a UK tax payer in the immediately preceding years, and you still work for a UK company, and you still have a permanent place to live in the UK (do you/will you own property in either country?), and your work obliges you to return on a regular basis, you might struggle to meet the leaver criteria. I'm not sure how the "cross-border" worker status would be regarded in this context, especially if you continue paying tax in the UK as seems likely if you spend significant working time there, the UK might take the view that you never ceased being UK resident and you were a "visitor" in France.

I don't remember the rules in detail but I do remember that they're very sticky, HMRC don't let go easily, so you may need to plan things carefully to make sure you don't get caught in the residency trap and the UK refuse to accept that you have in fact been resident abroad for a year. Google UK Statutory Residence Test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
Just to add - if you intend to live in France and work for your UK employer, then you would need an official arrangement, either as a seconded worker or a cross border worker. In order to claim to be exercising treaty rights, you do have to stick to EU rules. Going under the radar won't work in your case. So asking your employer seems to be the first step.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,121 Posts
Amadeo will have to jump in here to tell us if they have any Surinder Singh ambitions, but I would think that remaining with a UK employer (on any terms) would rule that option out. Last I knew, you really had to "transfer your centers of interest" to the other country, and you had to be living outside the UK for two or three years, not just one year.

But with Irish nationality as well, the whole UK thing (Brexit, Surinder Singh, etc.) really doesn't come into play, I don't think. It really doesn't matter what country you're coming from - just that you have the proper passport to prove your EU credentials (at least for the spouse of an EU national approach).
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
But with Irish nationality as well, the whole UK thing (Brexit, Surinder Singh, etc.) really doesn't come into play, I don't think. It really doesn't matter what country you're coming from - just that you have the proper passport to prove your EU credentials (at least for the spouse of an EU national approach).
Doh, yes I saw 2 and 2 and thought 5, I automatically assumed SS because that was the reason why Brexit could be an issue. But having re-read the OP's post, as you say there is no mention of this. In fact I guess Brexit could be an issue with the seconded/cross border worker status because the last I read on Brexit suggested that workers who have this status at the time of exit will carry on as they are but no new arrangements will be entered into. But it could have changed since then, I've stopped following the negotiations - it was like trying to follow a snail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
EuroTrash, thanks so much for your intervention! More food for thought.

I don't think we have "Surinder Singh ambitions" though I confess I'm not quite sure what that means! We have been living in the UK for the last three years and my wife has a UK visa as the spouse of a UK national. Certainly, another thing to look into is whether spending a year outside the UK could jeopardize her ability to renew her UK visa, or whether it might slow her path to indefinite leave to remain or UK nationality (which she would probably like to acquire).

I had not really thought about the possibility of having to pay taxes and social security contributions in both the UK and France. I will have lots of ties to the UK (we do own an apartment in the UK which we would rent out for the duration of the French trip) and this would be very much a temporary, time-limited stay in France. I think the cross-border taxation issues are something I can follow up with my employer's HR department. I will keep an eye on the Brexit negotiations: the current plan would be to go to France before the moment of Brexit and be there when it actually happens. But it looks like there is a double taxation agreement between France and the UK which might survive Brexit anyway?

Bev, thank you for clarifying that Brexit won't affect my ability to bring my spouse to France. I was under the impression that one had to be moving from one EU country to another to be exercising one's treaty rights but I see that's not the case.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
49,121 Posts
There IS a tax treaty between the UK and France that will survive Brexit (unless, of course, they change it in the process somehow), but I think the best option in that regard is to have your employer "transfer" you on a temporary basis, and that takes some serious paperwork on the part of your employer, which they may or may not be willing to do.

I would, however, look very seriously into your wife's visa status, as I believe being outside the UK for a full year could very well put you back to square one on the visa and the countdown to indefinite leave to remain. You may want to ask about that over in the British section on the forum. I know it's an issue that comes up rather frequently. And I have seen them recommend that people hold off moves or "temporary transfers" like that until they have obtained their UK citizenship so that there is no question about the foreign partner's right to return and resume residency.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
I don't think the tax treaty between the UK and France is dependant on the UK being a member of the EU - rather, it's and individual agreement between the 2 countries, as are tax agreements with non-EU countries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
The France-UK tax treaty is indeed a stand alone treaty, nothing to do with the EU so I don't see why Brexit would change that.
But EU security arrangements for cross border and seconded workers, involving A1 portable health documents and workers S1s and suchlike, are governed by EU treaties, I believe. A temporary move under one of these arrangements would be less hassle all round if accepted by HMRC, and more cost effective for your employer, than if you have to actually come out of the UK system and go into the French system when you move here, and vice versa when you move back.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top