Nurse refused French nationality for working too much

Lawyer said unnamed woman who works at three hospitals should set herself up as an 'independent' worker to sidestep working hours rules for employees

19 July 2019
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By Jane Hanks

A nurse whose application for French nationality has been refused because she works three jobs should become an independent worker to circumvent working hours rules, a lawyer has said.

The Préfecture for Val-de-Marne confirmed that it had put the unidentified woman’s application for French nationality on hold because she broke employment regulations by working 271 hours a month during 2018 in three different hospitals.

She has been given two years to change her situation, after which she can submit a new application. She could also appeal against the decision.

It is illegal for salaried employees in France to work more than 48 hours in any one week, and to average more than 44 hours a week over a 12-month period. Independent workers are not bound by these rules.

The letter came to light when one of the nurse’s friends, who said the refusal was scandalous, posted it on Twitter. Her case was then taken up by current affairs TV programme 20 Minutes.

Maître Sanjay Navy, a lawyer who specialises in law for foreigners in France, said the Prefecture’s decision was unjust for three reasons.

“Firstly, if you are an independent worker, such as a doctor or shopkeeper, you can work as many hours as you like and no-one will penalise you.

“Secondly, the law was introduced to protect employees, but you should be able to work more hours if it is your choice.

“Thirdly, France has a severe shortage of nurses, so she was contributing to society and not taking away anybody else’s job.

“I have seen similar cases like this in the past. My advice to her would be to become an independent nurse.”

He said the three hospitals that had employed the nurse would not have not known she was working elsewhere and she might not have known this rule existed.

The Interior Ministry has told Connexion that most refusals are based on too little work, which means an absence of financial independence, rather than too much.

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