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Hiring UK staff for French chalet work ‘very complicated’ post-Brexit

It is easier and cheaper to recruit from Australia and New Zealand, says business owner in the Alps

French ski chalet employers need to pay a monthly €50 tax Pic: Jordi Prats / Shutterstock

A chalet business owner has spoken of how complicated it has become to recruit people from the UK to work in the Alps.

Jana, from Montagne & Tradition in Les Gets, Haute-Savoie, says she has managed it this year – her staff is around half British, as before Brexit – but it has been expensive.

She gave up completely in 2020-21 and has heard others locally saying they will now stick to recruiting EU citizens.

Jana said it is easier to recruit from Australia and New Zealand, which have deals in place on seasonal work.

“We try not to look at the passport, but at the person and their experience,” she said. 

Read more: Energy crisis: Will French ski resorts raise their prices this year?

Complicated process

She said the process ideally needs to begin in September for a Decem­ber start.

She has to advertise the job for three weeks at Pôle Emploi, though chalet host work is not sought-after and locals do not usually have fluent English. 

She must obtain a work permit with a letter saying no one qualified applied. Then, a Briton can apply (and pay) for a visa in the UK. 

In France, the employee must apply at the prefecture for a residency card within three months – and attend a medical – and the employer needs to pay a monthly €50 tax.

Read more: French farmers’ union welcomes plans for new residency permit

“Our nearest prefecture is at Annecy, an hour’s drive away, and we need to take each person down three times during the season for appointments.

“If someone leaves, then it’s almost impossible to re-hire during the season.” 

No seasonal work agreement with UK

She organises the paperwork and appointments in France as the employees are unfamiliar with it and may not speak French.

She said the Pôle Emploi ad­vert is valid for six months – you can rehire someone for the same position – but the rest of the process takes about two months.

“We go with the flow but it’s a pity, as it’s a big market in the UK to come and do a season, winter or summer, but due to Brexit and no agreement, it’s putting a lot of recruiters off.”

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