30 Oct 2021

Hiring a foreign employee : reminder of the formalities to be complied with and the penalties incurred

You want to recruit a foreign worker in your company? Before taking the plunge, it is essential to find out about the main obligations to be met in order to comply with the current legislation.
Any failure to comply may result in severe penalties for the employer.

Employer duties

  • Verify that the foreigner is authorised to work in the country

While EU nationals are free to work on French territory. Third-country nationals must hold a work permit to work in France. Before any employment, it is essential to ask the employee for an identity document to check his or her nationality and to ensure that he or she holds a valid residence permit allowing him or her to work in France. You must keep a copy of the valid work permit and residence permit in the staff register.

  • Check the validity of the work permit

If the employee from a third country has a residence permit authorizing him/her to work, you must send a copy of this permit to the prefecture of the place of employment at least two working days before the date of employment by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by e-mail in order to certify the permit. If there is no response within two days of receiving the e-mail or letter, you are considered to have complied with your obligation to verify.

Penalties incurred

If you have not verified the existence of the work permit, you are liable to a 5th class penalty, i.e. €7500.

Hiring a foreign employee is prohibited if you do not have a residence permit valid to work. You are liable to heavy penalties for illegal employment, in particular 5 years of prison and a penalty of 15000€ per employee concerned, as well as additional penalties such as a ban on carrying out the professional activity, closure of the establishment, exclusion from public markets, etc..

Finally, if you hire an employee who does not have a residence permit authorizing him or her to work as an employee in France or whose work permit has expired and is not renewed, you are forced to terminate the employment contract. However, the employee will be entitled to a lump-sum payment of 3 months’ salary if it is more favorable than the legal indemnity.

The hiring of a foreign employee is subject to tight rules. It is necessary to comply with these rules in order to avoid any breach and the corresponding risks.

Our social rights lawyers are available to assist you in your project to hire a foreign employee and help you with all steps to perform in order to comply with the existing regulations and to secure your recruitment.