Duringthe past quarter century, technology has created a global civilization of work, where many forms of employment can be performed regardless of an individual's physical location. This technology, coupled with a corporate global clientele, has created a multigenerational workforce able to work solely for their home company while resident in another country.
Digital nomads are individuals that leverage technology in order to work remotely. For this post, Luminary Global and Home Conseil (France) would like to provide points for companies and their digital nomads when relocating talent to France for a brief or prolonged period of time.
As fluidity is key for movement of global talent, or for some companies to compete for talent, allowing remote work can seemingly offer quick solutions for business needs and accommodate an employee’s desire to experience life in another country.
In general, any country that allows a digital nomad to enter in visitor status means that country could forgo collecting potential tax and immigration revenue otherwise received from a foreign national securing work authorization, regardless of whether that host country’s labor market is directly impacted or not.
In addition, depending on the circumstances of remote work, such activity could create permanent establishment tax liabilities for the employer, increased exposure for corporate and individual liability, and immigration fines and penalties.
Recently, a Luminary Global client (U.S. national) inquired about his ability to reside for one year in France and exclusively perform full-time, remote work for his U.S. employer. Our question to the French Government was: Is it permissible for an employee to submit a long-stay visitor visa application to reside in France while continuing to work remotely, and only for his U.S. employer?
Luminary worked with Home Conseil to inquire with the Ministry of Labor & Employment (MOLE) for a formal opinion about this arrangement. The MOLE advised that an employee’s home country employer must submit a work permit application for an “employee seconded to France by a foreign employer and for its own account” to the Labor Authority of the future place of residence in France and must receive the corresponding visa prior to the employee residing in France.
Bottom Line: For digital nomads in France, according to the French Ministry of Labor & Employment, no employment under any circumstance is permitted in France without the proper work authorization.
As there are varying sources of immigration guidance and support documentation requirements, along with regular legislation changes, digital nomads can be a very grey area of enforcement under France’s immigration and labor laws, particularly if the employee is resident in France for more than 90 consecutive days.
Practice Recommendation: The time to realize your company has a digital nomad issue is not at the country’s border or a surprise audit by immigration, labor or tax authorities.
Luminary recommends that in instances where employees desire the opportunity to work remotely while abroad, it is in the employee’s and the company’s best interest to take a conservative approach and check with that country’s highest labor and migration authority for the answers.
For better talent management compliance, companies with multiple employees traveling and residing in other countries should take inventory of visa and immigration documents. Even though we live in a global civilization of work, the control for seconded employees in Europe has toughened over this past year, and the current immigration crisis faced by Europe reinforces this. Also, technology has increased data sharing amongst national and international regulatory authorities, which will make for stronger border enforcement measures and the potential for host country inspections more of a reality.
Luminary Global thanks Home Conseil Relocation in France for collaborating on this matter.
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