It’s been a right of passage for decades, bridging the gap between education and career for so many Brits. ‘Doing a ski season’ is a unique experience, forging friendships (and frequently marriages) that last a lifetime, garnering skills, discovering new cultures and creating opportunities for generations of young people. Nothing compares to the life of a seasonaire, even if it lasts for just five short months.
But is it all over? Absolutely not.
Despite what the Daily Mail might have you believe, it’s still absolutely possible to enjoy the full, thrilling seasonaire experience in France as a Brit. There are still a huge number of exciting jobs on offer to British season workers by French employers. You just have to be organised, and going through the process once yields a work visa lasting three winter seasons.
When the UK left the EU your automatic right to work in Europe expired. You’ll now need a work permit and a work visa to gain employment in France but don’t let these scary-sounding regulations put you off. Despite an overwhelming amount of confusion and bureaucracy immediately after Brexit, the French government have since clarified and simplified the visa and work permit process for everyone involved. Employers seeking to hire Brits have also got to grips with the requirements, making recruitment much easier than it once was.
Here we round-up the process of applying for a ski season job in France this summer and you’ll find a number of live job vacancies on the Morzine Source Magazine Jobs Board.
1. Find a job
Nannies, chefs, chalet hosts, bar staff, housekeepers, your services are needed more than ever! Vacancies for winter positions will be advertised in various places from June or July with roles usually commencing in November or December each year. Be proactive, research companies that you’d like to work for and send them your CV.
2. The Work Permit
Once you’ve landed your dream season job with the perfect employer, they’ll apply for your work permit using a dedicated digital platform. The French government advise that this can take between 8 and 16 weeks to complete, but during the Winter 22 season employers reported that this part of the process took, on average, just two weeks. Your employer will need to provide various elements of paperwork including your Passport details, CV and any formal qualifications that are required for your job.
3. The Work Visa
And now it’s over to you, but you’ll find most employers can guide you through this stage. France has a dedicated and easy to use English language website for work visa applications, which you’ll make in advance of your meeting at a French Embassy contact centre in either London, Manchester or Edinburgh. The average waiting time for this meeting was three weeks, although it could be as little as one week and as many as five weeks depending on the time of year. During this process you’ll need the work permit issued to your employer, proof that you’ve secured accommodation (often this will come as part of your employment package) and payment for the €99 visa fee. You’ll also be required to leave your passport at the contact centre for processing. You’ll be invited back two weeks later to collect your passport, alongside your saisonnier work visa, which is valid for three months and should be extended mid-season.
4. Your Arrival
Upon your arrival in resort you’ll attend a compulsory 10-minute occupational health appointment with a doctor and this usually takes place at the medical centre in your resort, followed by a chest x-ray and a second 10-minute medical check with the immigration department in Annecy within two months of your arrival, which doubles as a very nice day out indeed.
5. The Extension
Before your initial three month work visa expires, you’ll need to attend a meeting it Annecy to arrange its extension. You’ll need various bits of paperwork for this meeting, but your employer will guide you. With this comes a Titre de Sejour, also known as the freedom to stay and work in France for six months each year, as long as your permanent residence
is in another country. This permit is valid for three years, which means you have another couple of seasons in the bag, should the seasonaire bug bite.
YOUR OTHER OPTIONS…
– If you’re an EU passport holder, you can discard all of the above! Your right to roam across Europe, travelling and working, remains unchanged, regardless of where you currently live and you’ve every right to feel smug about that.
– If your work contract is set to last less than 90 days, your employer can simply apply for a temporary work permit and you don’t need a visa, as long as you haven’t already spent 90 days in the previous 180 in France.
– If you’re already convinced that life is best spent in France, you can apply to become a permanent resident. This process has been simplified considerably post-Brexit and you’ll use your 90 day short- stay entitlement to initiate the process, getting yourself established on the French system and making your application for a Carte de Sejour.
Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz are packed with employers who now have experience of the process, which simplifies things for you significantly. Working a ski season remains one of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences, inspiring memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t let the admin put you off, we promise it’s worth it!