Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association. If you’d like a personalized answer to one of your legal/immigration issues, contact Jean: Phone: (33) 01.40.38.16.11
The French government is working on creating a new type of immigration status, which many countries have already had in place for years, i.e. one which allows foreigners to finance major business investments that would create jobs locally. The USA has offered this possibility for years, even though the requirements are extremely rigid. The amount of money that must be invested is between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that has to create at least ten new jobs.
The information I have so far states that this new immigration status would last for ten years from its first issuance, and that the foreign investor must be either the senior manager or must hold a minimum of 30% of the shares. The company will also have to create or salvage a minimum of 50 employee positions. Another option would be to give immigration status to foreigners who invest a minimum of ten million euros in an existing French company.
We also have to consider the interpretation of this new status. Each préfecture will have the power to modify these requirements if they consider that their region is suffering from too much unemployment or too few businesses. In this case it is quite certain that there will be no minimums mentioned in the law to limit their power of interpretation. We therefore need to quickly ascertain what will actually be the minimum requirements.
Usually I do not bother to bring up new legislation until it is passed, and sometimes I even wait a little to see how it is interpreted and applied by the local level of the administration, but in this case, it is certain that this status will be created and the name “gold card” will be adopted by the civil servants at the préfecture and by other professionals in the field. For example, I am quite sure that a “modest size project,” such as buying a small business with ten full-time employees in the north or north-east part of France, will draw sufficient attention from the préfecture for the foreigner to be given the immigration status.
The media also mentioned that the government wants to make sure that legitimate money, not laundered money, is used for this investment. Therefore serious inquiries will be made to insure this point. Here, too, this statement should be taken with a grain of salt since in today’s world it is very difficult to prove the exact origin of funds at the beginning of a business transaction. If there are any concerns about this, the préfecture will certainly err in the direction of protecting the employees, and so will probably ask for substantial proof. Politically speaking, the gold card status will be difficult to withdraw once it is issued. Also keep in mind that no matter what is published afterwards about how strict the controls are going to be, the préfecture and the député will work together to downplay any charges of dubious funding. This said, the new status will have a marginal impact on our work considering the very small number of people who would qualify for the gold immigration card. Nevertheless I will keep you informed.