SHARE
COPY LINK
BREXIT

FRANCE - UK

You can have migrants, we’ll have bankers: France tells UK

The Calais migrant camp would be moved to the UK and France would entice bankers from London to Paris, if Britain decides to leave the EU, a French minister has warned.

You can have migrants, we'll have bankers: France tells UK
Photos: AFP

France would cease keeping migrants in Calais and tempt bankers to relocate from Britain if the country exits the European
Union, economy minister Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times.

The comments come before Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande are due to meet at an Anglo-French summit, with Britain's June referendum on whether to remain in the European Union high on the agenda.

Macron told the newspaper that a so-called Brexit could scupper an agreement between the two countries that allows Britain to conduct border controls on the French side of the border, and that Paris could seek to lure financial services to relocate from London.

“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well,” Macron told the newspaper, adding that Britain would no longer have full access to the single market once outside the EU.

“People deciding to leave the single market will not be able to secure the same terms,” he said.

And echoing Cameron's famous offer that the UK would roll out the red carpet to French businessmen wanting to quit France over high taxes Macron warned: “If I were to reason like those who roll out red carpets, I would say we might have some repatriations from the City of London.”

Cameron warned last month that Brexit could mean British border checks being removed from Calais and that “there would be nothing to stop thousands of people crossing the Channel overnight”.

But pro-Brexit campaigners accused Cameron of scaremongering and some experts said it's unlikely to happen given that France would not only miss out on British funds to help pay for the crisis, but they also fear many more migrants would come if they thought it was easier to get to the UK.

Last October France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: “Calling for the border with the English to be opened is not a responsible solution.

“It would a send a signal to people smugglers and would lead migrants to flow to Calais in far greater numbers. A humanitarian disaster would ensue. It's a foolhardy path and one the government will not pursue.”

“Despite the growing opposition and anger in France and the fears in Britain of Paris taking advantage of any Brexit it seems the British border police are in France for the foreseeable future.”

The French government and president Hollande has repeatedly said that they want the UK to remain in the EU while warning that a Brexit would be bad for both Britain and Europe.

However some have suggested a Brexit would present France with a “tremendous opportunity”.

“A Brexit would represent a historic windfall for the city of Paris,” said French essayist Edouard Tétreau.

“In a few months the City of London will lose the essence of its raison d’être – to be the financial hub of Europe.

“But when it's transformed into an offshore (literally) fiscal paradise the City of London would force away all the banks and asset management funds who want to continue to operate in the European market, without the barriers caused by regulations and taxes that would be applied to London-based institutions once they are outside the Union.

“Thousands of managers, lawyers, financiers, and also the heads of the European subsidiaries of multi-national companies would have to leave the UK to remain within the EU to continue their work.”

SEE ALSO: Why a Brexit would be a 'windfall' for France

Why a Brexit would be a 'windfall' for France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

VISAS

‘Be ready to wait’: Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Now that Britain is out of the EU, just how much harder is the process of moving to France from the UK after Brexit? British readers share their experiences of applying for visas as 'third country nationals’.

'Be ready to wait': Your tips for getting a French visa post-Brexit

Whether you’re moving to France to live, or you’re a second-home owner wanting to spend more than 90 days out of every 180 in France, if you’re British you will now need a visa.

You can find more on how to apply for a visa, and how to understand what type of visa you need, in our visa section HERE.

But how these systems work in practice is not always the same as the theory.

To learn more about the process of getting a visa as a UK national, The Local asked British readers for their experiences of going through the system.

The consensus among respondents was that the whole thing was bureaucratic, though there were notable differences in experiences that ranged from the “easy” to the “complicated” and “time-consuming”, while the advice for future applicants was, routinely, have all your paperwork ready – and be prepared for a lengthy wait at one of the UK’s TLS centres

Appointments

Like most visas, French visas for UK nationals must be applied for before you leave home. You can find a full explanation of the process here, but the basic outline is that you apply for the visa online, and then have an in-person appointment in the UK in order to present your paperwork. 

Sue Clarke told us: “As long as you get all your paperwork together correctly and in the right order, the time it takes to receive your passport back with the visa in it once TLS has sent it off is only a few days.

“TLS – the centre which works on behalf of the French Embassy to collate your application – is so very busy,” she added. “That part of the process took hours even when you have an appointment.”

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: What type of French visa do you need?

“The visa process itself was fairly well run, and a decision for the initial visa was quick,” wrote Ian Sheppard, who successfully applied for a visa in July 2022. 

“Although getting the follow up residence permit was a pain, [and] took longer than expected, and there was little to no communication with severely limited ways to get in touch about the application.”

Sheppard thought that, biometrics apart, the process could have taken place online, and wondered whether the follow-up residence permit application could be more closely linked to the initial visa application, “rather than effectively submitting the same application twice”.

Georgina Ann Jolliffe described the process as “stressful”. 

“A lot of the initial stage was unclear and I needed a lot of reassurance about the visa trumping the Schengen 90 days. (The Local helped on that one),” she wrote. 

“[The] lack of ready communication was very stressful. It could be slicker, however staff at Manchester TLS were excellent.”

Jacqueline Maudslay, meanwhile, described the process as “complicated”, saying: “The waiting times for the appointment with the handling agent (TLS in the UK) are long and difficult to book online. We applied for a long-stay visa and were given a short-stay visa, with no reasoning and no option of talking to anyone.  

“We had met every criteria for the long-stay visa. There needs to be a contact link with the French Consular website directly for discussing visa applications.”

Handling agent TLS’s website – the first port of call for applicants from the UK – was a target for criticism.

“The TLS system is probably the most user unfriendly system I have ever used,” wrote Susan Kirby. “It throws up errors for no legitimate reason and even changes data you have keyed in. Dates are in American format so you have to be very careful and it can be very difficult to edit.”

Bea Addison, who applied for a visa in September 2021 with a view to retiring in France, agreed that it was complicated and believes the French system is chaotic and badly organised compared to other countries. “Even staff in the French Embassy in London were not knowledgeable of the process and documentation,” she wrote.

“The renewal in France was applied for in July 2022 … we have received an attestation that we will be granted renewal visas, which expired in October 2022, but we have not yet received a date to attend the préfecture due to a backlog.

Second-home owners

Many of our survey respondents were not moving to France, but were instead second-home owners who did not want to be constrained by the 90-day rule.

They have the option of remaining residents of the UK and applying for a short-stay French visitor visa – which must be renewed every year.

Second-home owner Peter Green told us: “Our appointment with TLS was delayed by two and a half hours and the whole experience was chaotic.

“We now have to go through exactly the same process again to get a visa for 2023. With second-home owners there should be a fast track that just involves proving financial viability, nothing else has changed. The system needs to be fully computerised.”

Second-home owner Alan Cranston told us his application met with no problems, but came with “unwanted cost and effort”. 

“Our six-month visa was for our first stint at our house in France in the spring, and that then overlapped our second visit in the autumn which was under Schengen. How that is handled seems to be a muddle (we did not leave the country for a day at the end of the six months, as some advise),” he said. 

SHOW COMMENTS