Father & Son

July/August 2019

I would like to wish all of you a great summer
and a very nice vacation;
I will start mine in about three weeks

 

Father & Son
Cat Stevens

It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy
I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not
How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go
It’s not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them you know not me
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

The song “Father and Son” was recorded on Cat Stevens’s fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman, released in 1970.

The choice of this title is very unusual. I was discussing the previous title, “Hard-Headed Woman”, with a longtime friend of mine who did not know the artist or song. We were talking about what defines a “hard-headed woman”, how it can be a compliment for a woman today, and so on. As a person of conservative Asian origin, she felt uneasy about this term being applied to her as a compliment..

Looking at all the songs on the same album, Tea for the Tillerman, she picked “Father and Son”, saying she felt a lot closer to it and especially to the lyrics. She added, “This should be the title of your next issue.”

It has been a challenge as well as a difficult exercise to start drafting everything through this prism, instead of drafting first and finding a title that can unify the patchwork my column has always been.

I would like to thank you, my friend, for putting me to this test. After all, this is summertime and I am writing while on a road trip.

 

AN UPDATE ABOUT THE CHANGE OF RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE
I just received a message from a client about the outcome of an issue with the French consulate in Los Angeles.
Since our last correspondence, the Los Angeles office of the French Consulate has issued us a certificat de changement de résidence. They sent it with a note that this was an exception. However, we did notice they have changed the information on their website to state that you can apply for the certificat even if you are a foreigner. So, we will hope for the best for moving our Alfa Romeo, and will check into getting a tax certificate as indicated in your most recent newsletter. I love the newsletter. Your Hard-Headed Woman article is terrific.”

 

NEW LAW AFFECTING THE TENANT-LANDLORD RELATIONSHIP
The Loi Elan, passed in November 2018, changed a lot of things. I would like to focus on the rental side of the law. It has been said it seems to remedy some of the negative consequences of the crackdown on short-term Airbnb-type vacation rentals. I tend to disagree with this analysis, as it worsens the penalties and controls. On the other hand, it creates a specific lease that maintains the French approach to the tenant-landlord relationship while addressing the trend of people wanting to stay longer term.

Bail mobilité
The most interesting new provision is probably the,i> bail mobilité, a lease for between one and ten months that can be renewed once as long as the total stay is not be more than ten months. It only applies to furnished apartments.

The following provisions in particular that show this is not Airbnb competition:

  • 1 – There is no security deposit, and the rent can be freely set as long as it stays within the rent control of the city, where applicable. Also, the lease itself must state why this type of lease is needed.
  • 2 – If the rental goes past ten months, it becomes a normal furnished apartment lease lasting nine months for student tenants and one year for others.

 

Rent control
As mentioned above, rent control in Paris has been reinstated for a five-year test period. The administration sets a maximum that depends on location, size and a few other conditions.

 

Further crackdown on Airbnb-type rentals
As you will see the controls will be increased and the sanctions will be stiffened

Any private individual who does not declare such a rental to the city can be fined up to 5,000€, and failure to report the number of nights booked carries a fine of up to 10,000€.

If the booking website does not comply with its legal obligations – by, for instance, publishing properties without the city-issued registration number or neglecting to report the number of nights booked – it can be fined as much as 50,000€.

 

Definition of decent lodging now covers pests such as bedbugs
Infestation of apartments by vermin has become increasingly common. The normal regulation states that the tenant takes the apartment as is, and is responsible for what happens in it. Tenants often discover infestations quickly but until now, when they reported it, the owner could disclaim any responsibility.

 

Domestic abuse victims can leave without being liable for rent
It is difficult to find the right balance between the landlord’s right to be paid rent and a domestic abuse victim’s need to flee for her life and cut all ties with her previous life, including paying rent for a place where she no longer lives.

The law lays out guidelines for such cases. The woman is off the hook if she produces a restraining order from a judge or the record of the perpetrator’s conviction. At first sight this might seem to be of little help for the victim. But French court procedures are quite slow and can be stalled enough to get documentation. I am pretty sure that when the woman presses charges and the criminal justice system starts a procedure against the perpetrator, the landlord will go easy on collecting the money. The debt will be dissolved, legally speaking, when the above-mentioned documents are filed with the landlord.

I have no idea how the Loi Elan is going to affect landlords and agencies or how they will react. The bail mobilité will be easy to abuse, so I hope some provision for oversight is being made. I am sure that nonprofits dealing with domestic violence are preparing procedures and are training staff and volunteers to systematically make sure that this provision is properly followed. I hope the testing that landlords are supposed to carry out before renting will now include various types of infestation.

 

More generally, the Civil Code used to refer to normally expected behavior, exonerating a person from liability, as en bon père de famille, which literally meant “like a good father” but essentially translated as “reasonably”, the word now used (since 2014). When a law creates a new right, such as that implied by thebail mobilité, and there are no precedents, the lower courts often base their rulings on this concept.

 

BOOKING AN APPOINTMENT WITH MOST PREFECTURES
An article in Le Monde on June 1st carried the title Titres de séjour : le prospère business de la revente de rendez-vous en préfecture .

The article
Residence permits: the successful business of reselling appointments in the prefecture.

These days, the business of making appointments at the prefecture to apply for a residence permit is flourishing.

This formality, which has long fed endless lines of foreigners in front of the prefectures, is increasingly done online. At least half the departments in France have developed paperless procedures, which have led to physical waiting lines being immediately replaced by virtual ones. The gray-market appointment resale system had only to be brought up to date with digital technology.

“For the prefecture of Bobigny, count 15 euros for a request for renewal of a residence permit,” announces the young salesman of a shop, who in a few days and as many clicks can get an appointment for the start of the 2019 school year, while for the average person no available slots have appeared for more than six months.

For those who can’t go to a shop, there are plenty of solutions on the Internet. “Limited offer – first come, first served!” “Appointments available at very low prices!” “Only 35 euros!” On Facebook, pages are springing up and their purpose is unequivocal: “SOS prefecture appointment,” “Exceptional appointment for admission to stay,” “Getting an appointment for naturalization.” A business approach is taken for granted: “If you sponsor six people, you can have your appointment for free,” promises one site. “And we don’t forget those who ... want to help! You’ll get a really tempting commission!”

The administrator of one such page explains: “The prefecture opens weekly time slots, but there are so many requests that after five minutes everything is full.” He and other intermediaries take this congestion as an opportunity to exercise their computer skills. “We have a program that automatically checks free slots, and when they appear, we register you,” says another Facebook page administrator. “First, we register you, and then you pay.”

The service is generally priced between 15€ and 200€, depending on the prefecture, the papers requested and the reseller. The Ministry of the Interior is aware of the gray market and ensures that “the facts are reported to the courts.” In early 2019, the Bobigny and Nanterre prosecutors’ offices opened investigations – a drop in an ocean of informal-sector resourcefulness, which feeds on the scarcity of appointment offers.

“The problem is the lack of slots made available,” says Nicolas Klausser, who is responsible for residence issues at Cimade [a nonprofit that works with refugees and undocumented foreigners]. “The administration does not have sufficient resources and foreigners suffer as a result.” In 2018, Cimade accompanied foreigners several times in administrative courts to denounce the public service dysfunction and force prefectures to register title applications.

In France, 3 million people hold residence permits. They may have to apply for renewal of papers, naturalization or a travel document, or exchange a foreign driver’s license for a French one, and so on. In addition to these people there are those apply for regularization of their status. The Ministry of the Interior does not deny the administrative overload exists but admits it does not know how to “statistically estimate the number of people who fail to get access to the prefectures.”

In November 2015, Cimade began developing a bot that evaluates service congestion hourly. The results can be striking. On the Cergy prefecture website, since December 2018, no bot test has managed to identify a slot to request renewal of a residence permit. In Meaux, no bot test has succeeded since December 2017. The same applies throughout April in Nanterre for naturalization applications, in Bobigny for exceptional residence permit applications. “There is no free time slot for your appointment request. Please try again later,” says the prefecture. And so on, in Metz, Strasbourg, Toulouse, etc.

Mariam is a member of the invisible contingent frantically refreshing a prefecture web page on the lookout for a slot – in vain. In France since 2013, the Guinean mother has been trying to get an appointment in Seine-Saint-Denis to ask for regularization of her status. Two or three times a month, she goes to Bobigny to seek information from prefecture officials. “Once, in the queue, there was a man who said he was a lawyer and offered to help me, for 1,000 euros to be paid in several installments,” she says.

Tati, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been trying to make an appointment at the prefecture for six months to apply for an illness-related residence permit because her son has sickle-cell anemia. “The lines were long, but I knew in the morning if I was going to get in. With the new system, I’m constantly on my phone. I wake up every night too. I’m exhausted,” she sighs. She heard about the gray market schemes that are proliferating, but never wanted to take the plunge.

Klausser of Cimade points out that people who fail to renew their papers face “major problems of disruption of their right to work or social benefits.” Those trying to regularize their situation run a risk of expulsion.

Oksüz was one of the latter group. We met him during a visit to the Mesnil-Amelot (Seine-et-Marne) administrative detention centre in early May. A Turk who had been living in France for twenty years, he was arrested at a construction site and detained. “I work in the construction industry as a carpenter or mason,” he assured Le Monde. “I am on permanent contract and have had pay slips since 2015.” As he met the criteria for possible regularization, he had tried – but failed – to make an appointment.

The Ministry of the Interior recognizes that “we can do much better, even if there is no magic formula.” An upper level civil servant at the ministry said, “In the long term, solutions must be found to simplify procedures.”

As early as 2015, a report by the Inspection Générale de l’Administration [which oversees the ministry] called for rationalization and simplification of the administrative process for reception of foreigners. “In the short term, we are trying to give the prefectures some fresh air by allowing them to recruit agents,” but there is a risk of these new resources being co-opted to meet other needs. “Credential services are stripped of personnel to cope with an increasing workload,” the ministry acknowledges. In 2018, the prefectures had to deal with a 20% increase in asylum applications and a 30% increase in the number of expulsion orders.
End of article

The Napoleonic vision was that the state had an iron fist to protect the population from wrongdoing, and this was the basis for a criminal justice system favoring the prosecution. In the 20th century, the successful fight for individual rights in virtually all possible domains severely weakened the mighty power of the state over the people. Many rightly see this as unquestionable progress. But as the prefecture procedure shows, some problems in France stem from the fact that the system continues to be structured around the type of power it used to have, and efforts to find a quick fix seldom solve the problem but instead just hide it from view. The absolute power that fathers had over their wives and children is long gone and the current balance of parents’ authority over their children is a good thing. A more democratic system is a good thing. Ascertaining the authority that the state has over the people, so that the state offers fair and equal service and protection, should be the duty of the system. I believe the French government and administration currently fall short in many instances.
www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2019/06/01/titres-de-sejour-le-business-de-la-revente-de-rendez-vous-en-prefecture-prospere_5470146_3224.html

 

WHETHER TO HAVE A CONCIERGE THE DILEMMA FACING PARISIAN CONDOMINIUM OWNERS
Is it better to have a concierge (gardien/ne d’immeuble) or not? This question can lead to hours of discussion at the annual general meeting of the copropriété, the co-ownership group of most every condo apartment building.

The classic situation is that the concierge lives on the ground floor in a space called the loge and keeps an eye on everyone who enters and leaves the building (even though this has never been their official job), watching from behind the curtained door at the bottom of the stairs. They are in charge of cleaning and light maintenance in the common areas, and in buildings lacking mailboxes they distribute the post.

Over the past 40 years or so, I can identify three very different periods in the way the concierge was viewed. Initially no one thought of getting rid of them, as they were doing their job. Then, about 30 years ago, there was a trend of getting rid of them, for several reasons.

First, social charges had significantly increased, so employing them cost more than hiring a cleaner. Second, even though the loge was tiny, it was worth a lot of money if sold at market value. Finally, French labor law, combined with the legal protection of the domicile (which the loge certainly qualified as), made concierges virtually impossible to fire even when they did not do their job at all. So, as concierges retired, the loges were sold and a new industry developed: contractors specialized in cleaning Parisian buildings’ hallways, staircases and courtyards, and putting out the garbage bins.

Then about ten years ago I started to hear a completely different tune. Even companies that do an excellent job can never compare with the scope of the work a concierge does just by virtue of living at the bottom of the stairs. Many tenants leave a set of apartment keys with them so that meter reading can always be done and the person is never locked out of their home. Parcel delivery, which has grown enormously with Amazon and other online retailers, is a nightmare if it cannot be done during business hours. The concierge often also does cleaning and/or babysitting for a few tenants in the building and the proximity makes everything easier. Last but not least, buildings with a concierge suffer a significantly lower burglary rate than those without because the presence of a person scrutinizing everyone coming and going deters burglars.

Today, the real estate market puts a premium of about 10% on having a concierge. This is definitely something to think about when seeking to rent or buy an apartment in Paris or other major French cities. The court case detailed in this Le Monde blog illustrates the new trend very well. I hope this explanation makes it easier and more interesting to read.
http://sosconso.blog.lemonde.fr/2019/01/10/copropriete-comment-supprimer-ou-conserver-le-poste-de-concierge-3/#more-22830

 

SUMMER VACATION: THE OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED FROM JULY 19 TO AUGUST 19
The office will be closed for one month starting Friday, July 19, reopening on Monday, August 19. As always, I will be reachable by e-mail for emergencies and important matters. My service of receiving mail for clients will continue while the office is closed.

 

MY FEES WILL GO UP ON OCTOBER 1st 2019
I plan to change some aspects of my business when I reopen the office on Monday, August 19th. The main reason is to allow my assistant to do some tasks more systematically. One of them is to accompany the clients to the prefecture, URSSAF, CPAM and other public offices. She already handles most of the dealings with the offices where self-employed people are registered. She has also accompanied my clients to the prefecture several times. As her fees are lower than mine, this should compensate for the increase in my fees. On October 1st, I will raise my initial retainer from 270€ to 300€ and the hourly rate from 110€ to 130€.

Best regards,

THE LANDLORD’S RIGHT TO VISIT RENTED PREMISES

QUESTION

Less than two months into a one-year lease, my landlady in Australia notified me that due to changed family circumstances she wanted me to vacate the apartment right away. I balked. At about same time, the key in the apartment lockbox was removed. I consulted with a lawyer at ADIL in the 17th. They say the lease is valid, and the notice does not follow the proper notification process, so there is no reason to vacate, nor to take the walk-through meeting with the owner, who was passing through Paris. I also learned that taking the extra key was a criminal offense. I notified the owner of all of the above via e-mail, noting that using a key to enter without my permission is an additional criminal offense. I taped a note on the door in French and in English, reiterating all this. When I came back, the note had been removed and jammed under the door. I assume that someone entered the apartment again. Any idea about the best next steps? I am a poor French speaker, and over 65.

UP

ANSWER

There are so many wrongs here that I would like to focus on the few I believe really matter.

You have a valid one-year lease, which should contain a provision on your giving notice, but your landlord should not have this right. Therefore, an email telling you to vacate two months into the lease is invalid, carries no legal weight and could be completely ignored, except that might be counterproductive. It is better to respond that you have not been properly contacted, since, assuming she even has the right to make such a request, it must be done by registered letter. A two-line email should be enough: “You do not have the right to give me notice, and the only legal means of communication between us on this matter is by registered letter. Thank you for your understanding.”

I do not know what kind of lease you have, as there are many types. I will take the ADIL lawyer’s word as valid, as ADIL is a good source of information, even though they have an agenda that leads them to immediately take an antagonistic position against the landlord. Considering what is happening in France, most of the time this is the right attitude. A one-year lease gives you protection under French law concerning the domicile, which I discuss further below.

The so-called lockbox is increasingly common, especially for apartments that are rented out through Airbnb. They allow the tenant or guest to get into the apartment without help. As a result, there is no walk-through done to ascertain the condition of the place. This procedure, and the fact that the key is available in a box locked with a secret code, means the issues of violating the domicile and usage of the key are combined into one. The key question, for me, is: Did you authorize the landlady to enter the apartment? The answer is a Lot more complex than what you describe and what the ADIL lawyer said, even though I ultimately reached the same conclusion as them. But I want to make sure you see the difference.

  • 1 – Landlords should not have a key to the apartment unless you authorize them to keep one, or in this case have access to one.
  • 2 – Leaving the key in the box without changing the code means both the landlord and the renter have access to it. You would have a very weak case arguing that your landlord took the key against your will, since you left the key there of your own free will. It would be interesting to know if the lease specifies that the key must be left there at all times. That would determine how much freedom you had about the location of the key.
  • 3 – The critical issue is that while the landlady can hold the key, she does not have the right to enter the apartment without your prior consent. Thus I agree with your analysis: Access to the key cannot be interpreted as the right to enter the premises. This might feel like lawyers splitting hairs, but it’s a big deal.

It is one thing for the landlord to keep a key with the tenant’s approval or keep it safe in a third-party place, so you can have access to it in case of a problem. You go there and pick up the key and open the door. This is legal. But the landlord using the key to enter without your knowledge is trespassing.

I hope you agree that this makes a huge difference. If you ever press charges, make sure you get the critical issue right.

There is one other main option, though it could prove be expensive or difficult: Change the lock, and you will be the only one with the key. Or you could add a small lock costing around 20€, which she would have to break to get in. This would provide proof of illegal entry, plus private property damage. If it is technically possible and not too expensive, it would be ideal.

A final alternative opens a huge can of worms: Go to the police station and press criminal charges. However, at this stage you have little proof that what she did was criminal, since there is no evidence and you did not catch her red-handed.

In short, you should avoid pressing charges and hope that the email described above will stop her attempt to get you out of the apartment and her unauthorized visits inside the apartment.

Foreigners are often surprised by what may seem an abnormal emphasis on one’s address and being able to prove where one lives. The Napoleonic Code sought to settle a conflict between two of the most important rights people can have. One is the right of ownership, including the right of abusus – the right to dispose of one’s property as one chooses, to sell it, give it away or even destroy it. The other is protection of thedomicile, the idea being that a decent family has the right to have its home protected against everybody, including the landlord. In this case, domicile won out over property. One reason, I believe, is that daily wage workers in those days had no home. The Napoleonic Code meant they had no rights, as all rights were linked to a home. Here, once again, is the vision of the man being king in his home over the rest of the family.

 

UP

AUTO-ENTREPRENEUR AND CARTE DE SEJOUR

QUESTION

I have one simple question: Can Americans on student visas set up as auto-entrepreneurs? I ask because at our school in Toulouse we have a lot of Americans who would like to do our course to learn to be teachers, then work for language schools teaching English. They would do all this while studying French, so they arrive with the visa d’étudiant. I know they can work around 20 hours a week , but the problem is that language schools are no longer giving CDD contracts, they only take on auto-entrepreneurs.

UP

ANSWER

“No” is the only legal answer possible to address the issue you have raised. But the reality, both with URSSAF and the various French prefectures, is considerably muddier.

If the prefecture finds out that a foreigner with student immigration status is registered as an auto-entrepreneur, is making money and is not seeking a change of immigration status, chances are the foreigner will lose their immigration status and be ordered to leave France within 30 days. This must be understood as the starting point. Should an attempt at this be made the wrong way, the consequences can be distressing.

Let’s look at explain the legal background before discussing when it can safely be done and why.

Student immigration status comes with the right to work as an employee up to 60% of full time. This is the only right the student status grants. The legal conclusion is that it would be illegal to obtain the right to work as a self-employed independent.

To put it another way, even though the website accepts registration with almost any kind of valid ID, obtaining this status and being awarded a SIRET number while holding student immigration status is illegal. I know of American citizens who have been able to register for this status on the CFE URSSAF website using only a US passport. This means that URSSAF received no proof of French immigration rights. This shows how porous the site and the procedure behind it really are. Being able to register does not mean it has been done according to French law.

Note that it is impossible to register with an inappropriate titre de séjour if one goes to an URSSAF branch. That makes it very clear. The division of the French administration that is in charge of the registration refuses to do it improperly. That cannot be overlooked.

The fact remains, however, that ever since the creation of the auto-entrepreneur status, the CFE URSSAF website for auto-entrepreneurs has not blocked anyone who meets the guidelines of the status. As I have often pointed out, the status was created so that people who had an employee position could do a side job working for themselves. But as that was never enforced, everybody has forgotten about it.

Be aware that a lot of fake websites copy the URSSAF logo and offer to register people for a fee, whereas the real website http://www.cfe.urssaf.fr/autoentrepreneur/CFE_Declaration is completely free of charge. The paying sites should be avoided at all costs.

A recent change in the procedure helps even more: Applicants who choose the craft (artisan) or merchant (commerçant) status are now immediately registered with the related authority, which is not URSSAF but, respectively, the Maison de l’Artisanat or the Greffes du Tribunal de Commerce. This is because many applicants forget to register themselves, resulting in serious problems afterward.

The reality of the situation with the prefectures I know, especially the Paris prefecture, is that they have pretty much adopted a policy of complete leniency; they now welcome early registration – i.e. before the appointment at the prefecture asking for a change of immigration status – even when this is just plain illegal, as in the case described above.

A discussion I had with a couple of civil servants at the Paris prefecture may make it clearer what is at stake regarding the change of status from student to self-employed. They essentially said they saw many students who had auto-entrepreneur status, including some who had had it for a long time. The applicants come with all the proper documents, including the presentation of their business and proof of complete registration with the various divisions of the administration concern – URSSAF, Assurance Maladie, centre des impôts. “There is complete tolerance of them having done this”, one civil servant said.

I asked if there were consequences for jumping the gun. They replied: “Yes there is a risk, since we can refuse the request for the change because the file does not comply with the legal requirements. At that point, they lose the money they paid into the system and they must stop right away.”

Therefore, I can advise people to check with their prefecture and, when possible, do as these civil servants described. I have stopped advising clients to go through the procedure that complies with the law, i.e. asking the prefecture first for permission to register and receiving a récépissé, which allows the registration itself to be done on the URSSAF site, and then go to the second appointment at the prefecture to prove that one has done the complete registration and the business is up and running and even making money. Because of the period between the two appointments is so short, I always go for the classic status, micro BNC profession libérale. The prefecture approves this status much more easily once it gets a strong, well-prepared file.

To go back to the big picture, this immigration status should be granted if the applicant proves that the business being created is profitable and can sustain itself in the long run. To determine this, the prefecture look at:

  • 1 – The amount of money earned and annual profit generated, which must be at least 14,000€,
  • 2 – Whether the services, crafts or goods sold conform with proven expertise as shown by either education or experience, ideally both. Many professions in France require a diploma.

To get back to your question and the strategy for changing status, it is still illegal for your students to register as auto-entrepreneurs, but if someone holding student immigration status knows early on, before the end of the current carte de séjour, that they want to be self-employed, registering early may be to their benefit. Then they will have months of activity and the business will have the time to grow and maybe reach the minimum required. This is de facto a good strategy for such people.

For the others, who sign up just because they want to work while being a student and expect to find an employee position later on, it is an extremely risky situation, for several reasons.

  • 1 – The prefecture almost always asks for the income tax avis d’imposition. Self-employed income, being taxed differently, is on a different line and sticks out like a sore thumb. Once the prefecture knows the person has violated the law and has not submitted a request to obtain the self-employed immigration status, they can take away the immigration right and terminate the legal stay in France, making it impossible to ask for any immigration status, by issuing an obligation de quitter le territoire français. It is not 100% certain that this will happen, but it does so a lot more often than people think.
  • 2 – The file goes to DIRECCTE. The civil servants working for the Main d’Oeuvre Etrangère are more cops than paper pushers. It takes about a minute to Google the person’s name and see the SIRET number, which they are almost certain to do. Then it all depends what DIRECCTE does with the information they find. The usual thing is to pass the information to the prefecture. This takes us back to what the prefecture decides.
  • 3 – The last scenario I see may seem quite stupid, but so many people do not understand French health coverage that this error can occur even with the best of intentions. The prefecture almost always asks for proof of health coverage. Even though the current policy is to merge the Assurance Maladie into one system, it has not been done yet and will not be done for a long time, possibly years. So the applicant who is asked to show proof of coverage gives the statement for self-employed status, which is quite different from the employee one. The prefecture just got the information it needs.

 

One last thing that truly needs to be reviewed, which almost everyone forgets or does not know about. It makes newspaper headlines but people are not putting two and two together. The companies Deliveroo and Uber are fighting in court about this exact issue. The fact is that a teacher, whether in a classroom or on location, is an employee by law, and cannot be anything else regardless of what their contract states. Unfortunately, many jobs today are almost entirely done by independents, even when the law requires employee status. Keep that in mind when I describe the next level that must be reviewed.

Language schools can be prosecuted for hiring teachers with self-employed status. French labor law is crystal clear: A teacher sent by a school to teach students is an employee, without exception.

According to the information I get from URSSAF and lawyers specialized in labor disputes, this is what is happening:

URSSAF inspectors try to audit as many auto-entrepreneurs as they can. They are not really interested in their situation as such, but they assume that the vast majority of auto-entrepreneurs – delivery people, teachers, Uber drivers, cleaning ladies – should be employees. Auditing their accounts allows URSSAF to see who is paying them and build a case for prosecuting the corporations for which they work.

That is why, I strongly advise clients who are primarily teachers to register with the classic status and avoid becoming an auto-entrepreneur so as to minimize the risk of being audited. To take this a step further, choosing a real consulting activity in a specialized field brings the risk is about zero.

Now, someone who is a teacher, coach, etc. can choose auto-entrepreneur status provided they never work for a school or through a platform or website, but are truly self-employed. If they are audited, their records should be so clean that they risk nothing except a sizable nuisance.

But everybody who chooses to be an auto-entrepreneur and teaches for a school or an educational institution is taking what I think is an unreasonable risk, whether their carte de séjour is student or self-employed. The prefecture will know if there is an URSSAF investigation and ruling. If what I described above was bad, this is worse!

One obvious consequence for a foreigner holding a self-employed carte de séjour caught in the situation described above is that the state makes him an employee against his will, necessitating a different carte de séjour, that of an employee. This has major consequences: Not only is the prefecture informed of what they consider misrepresentation by the foreigner, but also it becomes virtually impossible to obtain an employeecarte de séjour teaching English for a school. This gives the prefecture two excellent reasons to deny all immigration rights.

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Please forward this message to all those who would be interested in its contents. The information contained in this newsletter is intended only as general information. I strongly urge readers to seek professional guidance concerning the legal and tax matters mentioned. This newsletter is intended as a general guide and is not to be taken as professional advice.

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