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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Non-EU expats could get longer visas for France

Officials in France are contemplating changing the visa system for expatriates in the country who have come from outside the European Union.

At present, the maximum long-stay visa available in France is for three years, but most expats from the US, Canada, Australia and India have to get their one-year visas renewed annually.

Now in a bid to cut down on bureaucracy and to make life easier for expats it is being suggested that four-year visas should be issued to non-EU residents.

If the idea, which is being championed by Socialist deputy Matthias Fekl, is adopted then it could become law by the summer.

He told AFP: "Today, only two per cent of temporary visas given to non-European foreigners are for more than one year. Everyone else has to keep going back to local authorities to get their visas renewed."

With only 400,000 requests for an annual renewal being refused he described the system as a waste of time and money.

Mr Fekl also highlighted the day-to-day problems that expats on a one-year visa experience, including tensions with employers and uncertainty about accommodation.

It is thought that skilled expats may be more inclined to move to France in the first place if they know that the visa system is not unnecessarily complicated.

The proposed changes to visa law are part of a wider report on immigration that has been sent to the French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

His office confirmed that all of the items within the bill will come under scrutiny when they are discussed at a forthcoming cabinet meeting.

Visas and bureaucracy are a necessary part of moving abroad and it is important that potential expats look into these issues well ahead of the start of their new life.

This will help to create a smooth process and allow the expat to begin work and make themselves at home straight away.

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