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Around 150,000 British nationals live and work in France. 
The breakdown of political negotiations and consensus around the Brexit deal is a source of great concern for these expats who wonder what will happen to them after March 29, 2019.
In preparation of the possibility of a no-deal (“hard”) Brexit, the French government has published an order that sets out the rights of UK citizens who will stay in France after March 29, 2019.  
This order grants them preferential treatment over the citizens of most “Non-EU” states. 
Below are the key points of this government order.

Transitional period

British nationals may continue their professional activities in France beyond Brexit for a transition period of at least three months. 
The finalize end-date of the transition period has not yet been announced. A decree will set this date, which could hypothetically fall anywhere between June 29, 2019 and March 28, 2020. 
After the end-date of the transition period, British nationals will need to be in possession of one of the various permits allowing them to stay, reside, and/or work in France. 

A condition of reciprocity

After those first three months, the government order and its effects are conditional on the UK government taking similar measures for the French nationals residing and working in the UK. Failure to ensure reciprocity would possible result in the suspension of the preferential treatment detailed below:
  • - UK Nationals in France for 5 years or more
    British nationals who have been residing in France for five years or more (as of March 29, 2019) will be entitled to a Residency card that allows for them to stay and work in France for 10 years. 
  • - UK Nationals in France for less than 5 years
    The British nationals who have resided for less than 5 years as of March 29, 2019 will need to file applications for a permit, based on their personal situation.  Such permits include those for: students, employees, temporary workers, posted workers, independent professionals, unemployment beneficiaries, family-tie permits, long term stay/visitor, etc

Other aspects

The government order sets out specific rules for British nationals who practice law in France and who wish to stay in France after Brexit. Subject to meeting certain criteria, they could register with a local bar association during the transition period and continue to practice law after. 
The government order addresses many other labour-related questions that concern British nationals in France. These include health and welfare coverage, the recognition of professional qualifications and equivalencies, and the attribution of jobs reserved for French/EU nationals. 

Flichy Grangé Avocats can assist you and your company in handling the crucial 3-12 month transition period from a labour-law perspective. 

Update : Brexit extension

Once again, the implementation date of Brexit has been pushed back.
The United Kingdom is now supposed to leave the European Union on January 31 2020, after the Union
granted the country’s request for a three-month extension.
Members of Parliament have called for a general election on December 12, 2019.
What happens with Brexit will depend on the outcome of the general election.
Here are the possibilities, if the election goes through.
  • - Brexit on existing deal on January 31, 2020
  • - Renegotiation
  • - Referendum
  • - Cancel Brexit

Though no one knows with any certainty in what conditions or form Brexit will take place (or if it even
will take place), this new extension is important for employers, businesses, and employees.
It is crucial that individuals take stock of their situation vis-à-vis the local French administration.
Do they have the proper authorizations to continue residing in France?
Do they need to ask for a visa, or to obtain a work permit?
The situation differs on a case by case basis.

If Brexit Happens

The French government’s position remains that which it detailed last spring: UK nationals in France
will have a transition period following Brexit.

British citizens lawfully residing in France at the withdrawal date will have to apply for a residence
permit or visa.

After the transitional period, British citizens residing in France for less than 5 years and working under
an indefinite employment contract will be allowed to apply for a specific 4 years residence permit
(“carte de séjour pluriannuelle – salarié”), even though they did not have a long term residence permit

British citizens residing in France for more than 5 years can obtain, upon request, a long term residence
permit (“carte de resident”) even if they did not have a long term residence permit before.

Flichy Grangé Avocats can help you in handling the legal and administrative matters surrounding Brexit,
in order to ensure a smooth transition for your business, whatever the political context.

An L&E Global Webinar will be hosted soon on this very topic. Stay tuned on our website for details
to come.

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