News Digest: British Second-Home Visas Scrapped, More Farmer Protests & Pancake Day



News Digest: British Second-Home Visas Scrapped, More Farmer Protests & Pancake Day

French farmers have been blockading the motorways for more than a week now, it’s pancake day in France, and we’ve got all the updates on France’s new immigration bill. Plus, we’re launching our exciting new FrenchEntrée Membership – find out more below! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. French farmers protests

We reported on the French farmers’ protests in last week’s News Digest, which have seen motorways blockaded around France and severe delays around the country. Despite French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announcing a 10-point plan to address the farmers’ concerns on Friday, unions have dismissed it, saying it doesn’t go far enough.

The protests continue today (Tuesday), with the unions threatening a “siege of Paris” from yesterday (Monday) and vowing to continue until at least Thursday when an EU meeting on agriculture is taking place. Currently, eight of the major A roads surrounding Paris are being blockaded, along with motorways around Lyon, Toulouse, and many other cities around the country.

Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau is due to announce further measures today, but for the moment, we recommend keeping a close eye on the local news and traffic updates if you need to travel.

2. Automatic visas for Brits removed from French immigration bill

We announced on Friday morning the breaking news that the proposed “automatic visas for Brits with second homes in France” had been removed from France’s new immigration bill by the Conseil Constitutionnel. The amendment was deemed not to relate to the original aims of the bill, which was “to control immigration and improve integration” of foreign residents in France. You can read our full report here.

After the Conseil Constitutionnel delivered its verdict last Thursday (25th January), President Macron published thefinal version of the immigration bill in the Journal Officiel on Saturday (27th January), making the law official. The new version of the bill has had some 35 of its original 86 amendments removed by the Conseil Constitutionnel, among them the introduction of immigration quotas and the requirement of a minimum of five years of residency in France to access social benefits.

So, what will change with this new law? The biggest changes that are likely to affect FrenchEntrée readers concern the Carte de Sejour, France’s residency card. The language requirements for a carte de séjour pluriannuelle or a Carte de résident (read more about these in our road to residency guide) have now been raised to an A2 level (previously A1) and B1 level (previously A2), respectively. The level for applying for French Nationality has been raised from B1 to B2.

There will also be limits placed on 1-year residency card renewals to prevent those who try to avoid the language requirements by continuing to renew their carte de séjour annually instead.

Note that these changes do not affect those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. those who moved to France prior to Brexit) or those with EU citizenship. There may also be exceptions for certain types of residency cards, for example, family integration visas.

You can read the government’s full statement on the immigration law here.

3. It’s crêpe time!

This Friday (2nd February) is pancake day, or La Chandeleur in France, when delicious crêpes will be the star of the show. This is the time to show off your pancake-flipping skills, get creative with tasty toppings, and join friends, family, and colleagues to (over)indulge in one of France’s most beloved sweet treats.

There are also a host of quirky traditions and superstitions surrounding La Chandeleur – check out our article 7 Need-to-Know Facts About La Chandeleur (France’s Pancake Day) for more.

4. We’re launching FrenchEntrée Members

Finally, I’ve got some exciting news for anyone looking to buy a French property or move to France. The FrenchEntrée and France Media Group team hosted the 2024 French Property Exhibition in London this past weekend, and not only was the event a huge success, but it also marked the official launch of our FrenchEntrée Member Zone.

FrenchEntrée Membership is designed for anyone who needs a helping hand on their journey to buying property or moving to France. Our property & relocation advisors will be on hand to discuss your unique situation and devise a personalised RoadMap that covers every step. Not only that, but you’ll have access to exclusive Members Masterclasses, small-group Q&A sessions with our wide pool of experts, and assistance with everything from specialist advice to document-filling and official translations.

Head here to find out more, or click the button below.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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