Requirements for Foreign Employees to Work
The employer must ensure that the employee to be hired is authorised to work in France:
- where the employee is already in France, the employer will have to check that the employee has a valid residence permit allowing him to work in France, and keep a copy thereof;
- where the employee is not yet established in France, the employer should undergo a three-step process “of introducing a foreign worker in France” –
- obtain from the French unemployment agency (“Pôle Emploi”) a document certifying that there are no workers available to fill jobs in the country;
- file to the labour authorities (i.e. the Territorial Unit of Direccte) an application package;
- inform the French Immigration Office (the Ofii) of the entry in France of an immigrant and pay the Ofii a fee.
An employer must ensure the validity of the work permit of the foreign employee he wants to hire (the work permit must be authenticated), by submitting a declaration of employment (by email or by post) to the Prefecture of the place of employment, at least 2 working days before the hire. Nationals of most countries of the European Union have the right to work freely in France, without a specific work permit. The only document required for their job is an identity card or passport to prove their nationality.
Does a Foreign Employer need to Establish or Work through a Local Entity to Hire an Employee?
It is not necessary to establish a local French entity in order to hire an employee. However, the foreign entity and the employee will have to be registered with the French social security office of Strasbourg, which is uniquely competent for such matters.
Limitations on Background Checks
Background checks in France are limited to the strictly necessary verifications of a candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and references. Criminal background checks are limited to certain professions that entail security responsibilities or that involve working with children or sensitive information or materials. Credit background checks do not exist in France.
Restrictions on Application/Interview Questions
The employer can only collect information about candidates, which facilitates the assessment of their professional skills with regard to the position that is offered. These professional skills must be directly required for the position. This right to collect information should be balanced with the respect of the candidate’s privacy. Employers should run candidate selection tools (i.e. “recruitment methods or techniques of job applicants”) before the Works Council, for information. The employer may not ask questions pertaining to a candidate’s private life, such as sexual orientation, religion, trade union activities, health issues, financial issues, etc. Social security enquiries about the applicant are generally prohibited, except if the applicant is not yet registered.