Expat Magazine

Mailbag: Bringing a Gay Partner to a Foreign Country

By Ovid @OvidPerl
Today's mailbag post is from a reader in France. She's recently moved back home to France after living in the US and she wants to bring her American partner over. As usual, I've anonymized the information and posted with her permission.
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Salut Ovid!

I've been reading your blog, which I find very interesting! Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.

I am going to give you some info about me, my name is [redacted], I am [X years old] and I recently came back home to France after spending several years in [a large US city]. I graduated college with a BA and got an internship right after. Unfortunately I couldn't obtain a work visa so I had to pack my stuff and go! 

Long story short, during these years living in [a large US city], I was in a relationship with my partner and since I am back home we are trying to find a solution so she can spend some time in France. She is American, with a degree in Education. She has under her belt X years of teaching in [a different large American city].

I am recently the owner of a small company, do you have any idea if I can hire her? Even if  my services aren't related AT ALL to education?

I tried to look online, but it can get misleading.

Any advices would be gladly appreciated!!

Thank you!

What a frustrating situation. I know of Americans who've tried to move back home to the US only to find that their newly married partner isn't going to get a visa without a lot of paperwork and money. A gay relationship isn't going to make it any easier and what my reader is proposing is generally illegal under the immigration laws of most countries.

Hi [redacted],

I hope you're doing well. I'm sorry to hear about the situation with you and your partner :(

I don't think what you describe will work, but their may be another option for you. I'll explain.

I am certainly not an expert on French law in these matters, but I know that for the UK and other countries, to hire someone from outside the country (or EEA, in this case), you have to pass a "labor test". This test generally has several conditions:

  • You could not find a local candidate to do the job
  • You have advertised suitably for that job
  • The candidate you want to offer the job to has the required skills to do the job
Those are the basics for the labor test. However, included in the labor test are often two interesting conditions:
  • The company must demonstrate that the job actually needs to be filled
  • The job must not be created for the sole purpose of employing someone from overseas
Violating any of these terms could be considered immigration fraud and could result in criminal penalties for you and your partner being barred from France. In this case, I would recommend that you contact an immigration lawyer.

Since you've been together for a long time, have you considered a PACS visa?. The Pacte Civil de Solidarité (PACS) is designed to confer some of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. I thought about that when reading a bit about French immigration law where it's written (emphasis mine):

A long stay visa is required in particular by aliens who wish to obtain a stay card as a "visitor", « employee », « student », or « family » visa, especially for spouses or PACS partners (allowing same sex couplings)
So it's possible that you may be able to bring her over, but you'd have to make a serious commitment to doing so. There may be other routes for this, but that's all I can think of right now.

Good luck and let me know how things work out!

More and more countries are realizing that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and they also realize that they're unfairly turning away potential immigrants as a result. Check the immigration laws of your target country. Even if they don't yet allow gay marriage, they often allow a "partner visa" of some sort as a way of allowing gay couples to remain together.

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