|February 11, 2014|
Previously published on February 7, 2014
The French Interior Minister recently instructed prefectural authorities to improve case processing efficiency and to generally enhance the customer service experience for foreign nationals. In particular, the Minister expressed a goal of encouraging foreign students and researchers to come to France. As a result, the prefectures will introduce several procedural and technological improvements though the coming months, though precise implementation dates are unknown and are likely to vary across prefectures.
The prefectures will launch partnership programs with entities that employ large numbers of foreign workers. Participating employers will be able to file residence permit renewal applications on their workers’ behalf, removing the need for the employees to file their renewal applications in person.
Filing receipts for both new and renewal residence permit applications will be sent to applicants’ homes. Currently, applicants must pick up filing receipts in person.
The validity of filing receipts for new residence permit applications will be increased to six months, from three months. A filing receipt serves as proof as status until the underlying residence permit is approved. Currently, applicants often have to renew these filing receipts because their residence permit applications take more than three months to process.
All prefectures will offer an online appointment system to schedule renewal application submissions, an option now available only in Grenoble, Paris and Toulouse. Applicants will have the option of being notified that their approved residence permits are available for pickup by SMS, as opposed to being notified by mail.
The prefectures will update their websites with detailed information on residence permit categories - a change that aims to cut down on the number of foreign residents visiting the prefectural authorities to obtain basic information.
What This Means for Employers
Once implemented, the changes should ease some of the administrative burdens of local immigration procedures for foreign nationals. Large employers should benefit from the new partnership program in particular, as it could greatly simplify residence permit renewals and encourage dialogue between prefectural authorities and employers.