- France is introducing a new French Tech Visa for foreign start-up founders, tech talent and tech investors.
- The new visa would be valid for four years, on a renewable basis. Individuals from the European Economic Area and Switzerland do not require a visa.
- Axelle Lemaire, France’s Minister of State for Digital Affairs, said earlier this month that the new program goes further than an earlier program known as the French Tech Ticket. "If you’re a foreigner coming from the rest of the world, you can apply and you might get fast-track processing. Your family is also eligible, and there’s no quota as far as I know," he said, TechCrunch reports.
As the U.S. looks to revamp and possibly curb the H-1B program that invites foreign tech talent to work in America, France is taking an opposite tact, opening up its visa program in hopes it might attract some top tech workers to that country. And France is not alone. Last month, tech companies based in China said they are hoping President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed crackdown on immigration and hiring of non-American tech workers will mean they can attract and retain more tech talent for themselves.
Though it’s not clear yet if or how the president-elect will revise the H-1B program, it’s clear there will need to be a delicate balance between preventing Americans from being replaced by foreign workers and shutting the doors to foreign talent that could help America stay competitive when it comes to tech innovation.
The H-1B visa program brings 85,000 foreign skilled workers into the U.S. each year. A large portion of those employees work in the tech industry.