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I am a British citizen who is waiting for a French visa (long stay, talent passport). Am I able to work remotely (from the UK) for my French employer while I wait for the visa to come through?

(I think the answer is yes because I have the right to work in the UK)

If yes, can you provide anything online that confirms this so that I can show to my French employer?

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    It may not only be your right to work, it may be that they don't have the right to employ.
    – littleadv
    Feb 20, 2023 at 9:38
  • So for many professions, the company needs to prove that they have tried to hire locally (job advert online for 3 weeks or something like that) but I don't think this applies to me (fixed term research contract)
    – Jack
    Feb 20, 2023 at 9:54
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    I think that the French employer is not even able to establish a legal work contract if you don't have a valid French work permit, that is why they want to wait that your talent passport is issued. Trying to convince them they are wrong might be challenging.
    – audionuma
    Feb 20, 2023 at 10:03
  • @audionuma - interesting! I'm mostly just interested in finding out the answer. I thought it was possible because the first person I asked said it was possible. The fact there is different opinion on here suggests its not an obvious answer :(
    – Jack
    Feb 20, 2023 at 10:08
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    @Jack Unfortunatly, the rules/laws for remote working is very underdeveloped. Feb 20, 2023 at 10:10

3 Answers 3

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In a cross-border employment relationship, beyond visa/work permit issues, there are also issues with social security/national insurance and with taxation.

If you live and work in the UK, to be employed legally, you need to:

  • Have the right to live in the UK - no problem, you’re a British citizen
  • Have the right to work in the UK - ditto
  • Have your employer be registered with HMRC
  • Have your employer declare your employment to HMRC
  • Have your employer file PAYE returns, deduct NI and taxes from your wages, and pay them (and their own share of NI) to HMRC.

Unless your employer already has a subsidiary/branch in the UK, I doubt they would be willing to go through the hassle just for you.

What usually happens in such situations is that you are not employed, but under a freelance contract: you register as a sole trader, file and pay NI and taxes. Instead of receiving a salary, you send invoices to your customer (not employer). Note that depending on the amounts you may also need to register for VAT, collect VAT, file VAT returns, and pay VAT to HMRC. Depending on the situation it could also make sense to register a company rather than as a sole trader.

The UK have however rules (IR35) to prevent people who are in practice employees (they have a single “customer” who is really their employer) to act as sole traders, not sure how that works in cross-border situations.

There are also alternatives with companies that act as intermediaries (so you have a short term contract with that company, and they in turn invoice the “customer”). See “portage salarial” in French or “umbrella company” in the UK.

In any case, someone will have quite a bit of paperwork and admin to do, so it’s probably not worth the effort unless you expect it to last months.

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  • Thank you! This is useful for future reference :) For the moment, I will just wait for the visa (should only take 2 weeks) and delay the start date of the contract. (Apart from actually needing the visa in the first place) Would this situation have been much easier before brexit?
    – Jack
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:00
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    @Jack Before Brexit you would not have needed a visa at all, so you could have started right away: just provide your ID to your employer, they file a DUE, and you can work the same day. There is no difference between an EU (EEA and a few more, actually) employee an a french one. If you had been in a situation of working remotely, though, no, it would probably be about the same (though there may be additional red tape now in the process).
    – jcaron
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:09
  • Thanks again :) I had a couple more questions expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/25053/… expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/25052/… mainly about what my partner (not married, if that matters?) would be allowed to do if she was to get a tourist visa to travel to France with me
    – Jack
    Feb 26, 2023 at 11:56
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One additional consideration is that working remotely may undermine your case for getting a visa in the first place. The officer evaluating your application may well reason: "he's already working remotely, so there is no need for him to actually be present in France".

This is the kind of tricky question that would be best asked of a legal expert experienced with this type of case.

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Am I able to work remotely (from the UK) for my French employer while I wait for the visa to come through?

Yes, French laws would not apply to you while working from inside the United Kingdom.

If yes, can you provide anything online that confirms this so that I can show to my French employer?

The European Commission text ('Which rules apply to you?'), shown below, should be sufficient.


Which rules apply to you?
You work in one country
As a basic rule, you are subject to the legislation of the country where you actually work as an employed or a self-employed person. It doesn't matter where you live or where your employer is based.


Sources:

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  • Thank you! On this page, it also says "EU rules on social security coordination no longer apply to and in the United Kingdom as of 1 January 2021". I think i need to read the document that is referred to here: "For persons not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, social security coordination between the EU and the United Kingdom is regulated by the relevant Protocol to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. While similar to EU rules and comprehensive in scope, the Protocol does not provide for an identical level of protection as the EU Regulations."
    – Jack
    Feb 20, 2023 at 10:01
  • @Jack And for any payments, UK laws would apply. Feb 20, 2023 at 10:03
  • Sorry, but this is plainly wrong since Brexit.
    – henning
    Feb 21, 2023 at 8:32
  • @henning 'you are subject to the legislation of the country where you actually work ...' are you saying, while working only in the UK that UK legislation applies is not true since Brexit? I would say that is still true, before and after, where taxes on income are concerned. Feb 21, 2023 at 9:55
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    @henning That is not true (from first comment). The text I quoted in contained in my answer (and does not contain your text). What I quoted is still true because nothing has changed in this regard. Feb 21, 2023 at 10:42

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