BREXIT viewed from the French Alps

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BREXIT Article 50 Letter being delivered

BREXIT is now triggered. As a French resident and British expatriate I will be acutely watching developments.

The question of the status of British nationals resident in an EU country, France, is in limbo. I am in the process of applying for French nationality that, if successful, should remove this as a concern. Even prior to BREXIT it was “on my to-do list” as I have no thought of returning to the UK. BREXIT has pushed it to the top of my agenda.

Skiing Holidays

Living in the Tarentaise with many of the biggest ski resorts in the French Alps the effects could be profound. Huge numbers of Britains come here on skiing holidays and the majority with British ski holiday companies.

French v British Contracts of Employment

These companies are staffed, almost exclusively, by British seasonal staff employed under British contracts of employment. In order to do so these companies currently make use of the EU “Posted Workers” Directive. It would seem logical that UK companies will no longer by able to make use of this option as the UK leaves the EU.

The effect of this would be to oblige UK companies to employ staff on French employment contracts. French employment law is substantially more restrictive and costly; just ask any French company. The current French minimum wage, the “SMIC” is EURO 1 480,27 gross per month for a 35 hour week. It would also limit the amount of deductions companies can deduct for board and accommodation, etc. In France, unlike in the UK, the employer may only deduct a limited amount for board and accommodation. Payment in kind of items like ski passes cannot be deducted from salaries.

Work Visa or Permits?

Currently, as an EU member, UK nationals have the right to work in other member states. It is reasonably foreseeable that a working visa may be required in the future.

Recognition of Qualifications

Having briefly discussed BREXIT with an official from the French Sports Ministry his, unofficial, view was that British qualifications will still be recognised. Those who already have had official recognition would be covered by the French legal principle of “les acquis” meaning that a right already obtained cannot subsequently be taken away. However it leaves aside the right to work in France.


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