France has added the proposal of a second-home owners visa to its immigration bill, but does this really mean it will come into action? Plus, the tax error that’s affecting French homeowners and the last chance to sign up for our free visas and residency webinar. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Second-home owners visa added to immigration bill
France’s controversial new immigration bill has been debated by French Senators over the past two weeks, and it’s been ruffling the feathers of both left-wing and right-wing senators. While left-wingers have been critical of the bill’s tougher immigration policies, which include the right to expel immigrants committed of certain crimes, right-wingers are disapproving of the move to regularise more asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, stating that it stands at odds with the overall “tougher” stance on immigration.
For second-home owners in France, there was also one proposed amendment to the bill in particular that is of interest. We talked in a recent News Digest about Senator Corinne Imbert’s proposal for a 5-year visa for non-EU citizens who own property in France. This particular amendment was voted down; however, a second amendment, proposed by Les Républicains Senator Martine Berthet, was accepted and has now been added to the bill.
The amendment concerns British second-home owners only and states that British nationals who own a second residence in France would be “exempt from subscribing to a long-stay visa application”. However, there are no further explanations as to how this would work in practice or what documentation would be required.
You can read the full text of the bill (in French) here.
So, what happens now? Debates in the Senate will end today, after which the bill will pass to the Assemblée Nationale to be debated in December. Whether or not the bill will be passed into law or further amended remains to be seen, but we’ll keep you up to date as we learn more.
2. Check your tax bill!
We announced last week that Taxe d’habitation bills were on their way for second-home owners in France, but make sure that you double-check your bill before paying it! The day after the bills were released, France’s Direction Générale des Finances Publiques released a statement admitting that thousands of tax bills had been sent out in error.
ℹ️ #Information | Vous avez déménagé récemment ?
Il est possible que vous ayez reçu à tort un avis de taxe d’habitation, nos services ayant deux adresses connues vous concernant.
Si l’erreur est confirmée, vous serez bien entendu exonérés.
Contactez-nous pour nous le signaler ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/T0XFQ69NRY
— Direction générale des Finances publiques (@dgfip_officiel) November 8, 2023
The mistake concerns homeowners who have recently moved or purchased a new property, leading to the tax authorities having two listed addresses registered to one person. If this mistake affects you, then you should contact the authorities to report the mistake as soon as possible, either by calling the number above or by using the message function in your personal space at impots.gouv.fr.
Note that all second-home owners in France will still be liable to pay the Taxe d’habitation, but it is no longer applicable to any property serving as a primary residence.
3. France marches against antisemitism
This Sunday (November 12th) saw more than 182,000 people take to the streets in Paris, as well as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, and other cities around France to march against antisemitism. It’s the biggest march of its kind in more than three decades and served to denounce the growing number of antisemitic acts reported across France since the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7th.
The biggest turnout, of more than 100,000 people, was in Paris and saw several political figures in attendance, including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, president of the Senate Gérard Larcher, president of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet, Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, and Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti. They were joined by representatives from many different religions.
French President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, part of his policy to never attend demonstrations, but he has also been vocal about condemning the rise of antisemitism in France during recent media interviews.
4. Christmas is coming!
If you live in France, you’ve likely noticed the shops filling up with advent calendars and festive decorations over the past couple of weeks, and this week sees the start of two of the country’s biggest Christmas events.
The hugely popular Paris Christmas Market, held in the Jardin des Tuileries, opens this Saturday, November 18th, followed by the grand switch-on of Paris’ Christmas Lights along the Champs-Elysées on Sunday (November 19th). However, France’s most famous Christmas Market, held in the Alsace city of Strasbourg, doesn’t kick off until the following week, opening on November 24th.
5. Last chance to put your visa & healthcare questions to our experts!
Don’t forget to sign up for this week’s visas and residency webinar! I’ll be joined by Richard Hammond, founder ofFrench Connections HCB, and Fabien Pelissier, founder of Fab French Insurance, on Thursday, 16th November, at 2pm (London time) or 3pm (French time) to answer all your questions on French long-stay visas, health insurance, and the path to residency in France.
See you all there!
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