Doing business in France

1. Setting up business in France successfully

In principle, there are no administrative restrictions on foreign investment in France. Whatever your business development strategy, in France you will find an appropriate legal structure for the kind of business you wish to set up. Investors can set up a permanent or temporary structure and enjoy full legal peace of mind; they are then free to drive their project forward in an uncomplicated and inexpensive environment.

2. French employment law

French employment law has been undergone significant changes in recent years to streamline and modernize the labor market.

To fulfil this aim, social dialogue has been enhanced so as to:

  • Overhaul the legal framework: several conférences sociales (government round tables with trade unions and employer federations) have taken steps for the future, following agreement between the respective organizations. Extensive consultation now underpins developments in French employment law and is the preferred method for updating legislation.

For example: The Employment Act of June 14, 2013 (loi de sécurisation de l’emploi), negotiated with employee and employer representatives, introduced a number of new provisions: employee mobility; anticipating change; career security; revised rules for collective dismissals on economic grounds with better defined procedures and time limits; and a focus on developing the use of mediation to resolve disputes.

  • Give companies scope to adapt employment rules to their business: companies are the preferred venue for employment regulations to be defined with a view to achieving greater flexibility and boosting employment.

This shift towards greater labor market flexibility is being complemented by measures seeking to reduce labor costs, not only for low earners (no employer social security contributions payable to URSSAF) and middle-income earners (competitiveness and employment tax credit), but also for researchers (research tax credit and “innovative new company” status). The hiring of young and senior jobseekers is also being encouraged through initiatives such as apprenticeships and intergenerational contracts.

3. International mobility for foreing company directors and employees

A variety of international mobility schemes exist in France, with a view to attracting highly skilled employees and facilitating intra-group transfers.

Multi-year residence permits have also been introduced, providing foreign nationals and their families with a complete legal framework.

Companies in France can offer their employees optimal working conditions thanks to a comprehensive social security system and an array of extensive bilateral social security agreements, while the costs of sending employees to work in France can be offset through an attractive expatriate tax system.

As part of moves to continue simplifying procedures, medical examinations have been abolished for internationally transferred company directors and employees, while the introduction of talent passports scheduled for 2016 will ensure that recipients receive the smoothest possible reception.

The main consideration for companies posting or sending employees to work in France is to anticipate all the necessary administrative procedures and employment law implications. It is their responsibility to choose the most appropriate immigration status, the most efficient social security coverage, and the most advantageous tax system.

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Business France

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Regions & Countries
France
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Investment Promotion

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