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‘EU citizens only’: Why Brits are at the back for the queue for ski season jobs in France

Working the ski season in France has long been popular with young Brits, but in the first full post-Brexit season, many job adverts are specifying that only candidates who have EU passports or residency will be considered.

'EU citizens only': Why Brits are at the back for the queue for ski season jobs in France
Seasonal work in French resorts like Meribel is harder to get for Britons after Brexit (Photo: Philippe Desmazes | AFP

Employers in the French ski industry have begun advertising for people work the 2021/22 season, but from ski instructors to chalet hosts dozens of adverts state that they will not consider applications from British people, unless they already have an EU passport or residency rights.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, Brits wishing to work in France may need both visas and work permits – and it seems that employers looking for temporary seasonal staff have decided that this is simply not worth the hassle.

READ ALSO What are the rules on short-term and seasonal work in France?

One job ad said: “Procedures for employing UK passport holders post-Brexit are still in the process of being finalised, and therefore we unfortunately cannot accept any applications from UK passport holders until this is resolved.”

Image: www.seasonworkers.com screengrab

Trade body Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBiT) has warned that up to 25,000 British seasonal worker jobs in the travel industry will be lost as a result, many of them contracted by UK-based companies.

Image: www.seasonworkers.com screengrab

It is easier for many businesses in France simply to find workers who have the right to work in the EU in the first place, rather than having first having to prove that no French worker wants to do the job by advertising the position at Pôle Emploi for eight weeks; then finding a UK worker, and arranging a work permit and visa – all for a few months of work. 

If you are coming to France to work you may need both a visa and a work permit depending on the type and duration of your work – full details HERE.

These rules refer to all short-term and seasonal work, including people who want to come and work during the grape-picking season or work over the summer in holiday or tourism related jobs.

Member comments

  1. Argy bargy about ski moniteurs/monitrice from the UK , USA , NZ etc has been going on for years. It was originally union motivated or at least by a wish to reserve the jobs for the Fr. (and Swiss) nationals trained in Fr. Because many visitors to Fr. ski resorts were anglophones the resistance did not survive the entry of the UK to the EU. Thomas Carr

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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. 

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