opinion | Europe, a land of opportunities for French freelancers

Posted on Jan 28, 2022, 10:14 AMUpdated on Jan 28, 2022 at 10:17 am

Since 2009, the number of freelancers has jumped by 40% in Spain and 92% in France (source: Eurostat). This attractive status is particularly favored by Tech talents, who see it as an opportunity to choose the most interesting missions and change them regularly.

Teleworking is the promise of a better work/private life balance, but also the possibility to live where you want. A form of exercise that has become widespread since the health crisis, yesterday by compulsion, today by choice. The fear of resources that are far from the offices and therefore less involved is greatly reduced. Companies have adopted this new organization of which freelancers are taking full advantage. This is especially true in the Tech sector, where the war for talent is raging. More and more French freelancers are moving towards expatriation, to discover other environments while continuing to work with French companies. This mobility is also part of the criteria that drives Tech talents to choose this status and represents a boon for companies that can expand their research fields.

A “freelance matching” space in Europe

This spread of freelancers in the four corners of Europe, however, requires each stakeholder to have knowledge of the national law in force. Their luck is that within the Schengen area, everything is being done to facilitate installation abroad and the use of skills based outside of France. In fact, the service contract is valid everywhere in Europe and benefits from tax harmonization in terms of VAT, as well as in terms of personal data protection, including the GDPR. In the event of a legal conflict, European regulations are here again, allowing each party to effectively defend its rights. However, for a French company to commission a jurisdiction elsewhere than in Europe, it is better to indicate in the contract, the spread of the French jurisdiction which will simplify the procedures in case of a dispute.

A choice of destination linked to personal criteria

French freelancers do not need specific permission to live or work in Europe. While some choose Ireland, known for its favorable taxation, the choice of their future residence is largely based on personal considerations: interest in the country, language skills, living environment…

Depending on the chosen destination, the freelancer will however have to think about aligning his prices with those of his host country. In Spain, for example, a similar service can be charged up to 50% less than in France!

In addition, it is useful to know that a freelancer, who is registered in France and decides to provide a service within the European Union, has the possibility to keep his national rights for 24 months, under the fulfillment in certain conditions. On top of that, he is obliged to register in his new country of residence and pay his taxes there.

Moderate risks, but should be controlled

Upon their arrival in the country of destination, freelancers must go to their embassy or the local chamber of commerce to determine the steps to be taken in the context of regularizing their situation.

For companies that choose to work with these talents remotely, they must bear in mind their duty of care regarding the service providers they hire, especially if the freelancer whose company is registered in Germany lives in France: a regulated practice in our country. The best thing is for them to go through freelancing platforms, which will manage the administrative checks for them, avoiding taking this risk.

Finally, they will need to adapt their onboarding to the beginning of the mission: integrating the freelancer into the on-site teams can cause more difficulties at a distance. Small time differences, the connection is not always optimal depending on the country of residence, increased risk of strategic data loss… Certain constraints should be considered when you choose. Either way, opportunities abroad are growing, both for freelancers and for the companies that employ them. Good news at a time when finding Tech resources close to home is always more complicated.

Caroline Gerbelot is director of Club Freelance & Mindquest Iberica.

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