Things Australians Need to Know Before Starting a Business in France

Last updated: 03 July 2023 Views: 822
Things Australians Need to Know Before Starting a Business in France

Australia and France are two countries that enjoy a great relationship and shared history. There are over 110,000 people of French descent and nearly 25,000 French born-people living in Australia currently.

As a country with a welcoming attitude to skilled workers and where much of the population is descended from European immigrants, we are used to the idea of Europeans moving to Australia. However, a small but growing contingent of Australians is turning the tide, reversing this pattern of migration by choosing to live and work in France - and even start a business there.

The France/Australia Relationship

According to French national statistics agency Insee, as of 2018, there was a small but not insignificant community of nearly 4,000 Australians living in France and there are also substantial trade and investment links between the two countries:

● Australia's two-way goods and services trade with France was valued at A$9.9 billion.
● France was Australia's 17th largest trading partner, and fourth-largest in the EU (behind the UK, Germany, and Italy).
● France was the 9th ranked market for Australian investment abroad.

For entrepreneurial Australians tempted by the beautiful scenery, rich culture and the prospect of operating in one of the world’s largest economies, starting a business in France (or, indeed, expanding their business there) can be an inviting prospect. But what are the most important things Aussies need to know before taking the plunge?

Gaining French Residency for Australians

While some entrepreneurs may choose to simply visit (especially if they are expanding their existing business operations to France rather than starting a new venture), others may want to move to France long-term to launch their business.

Short term stays represent little challenge to Australians, with three-month tourist visas easily attainable for people confining their stay to a business trip. For Australians who wish to live in France for the foreseeable future, however, it is necessary to apply for a year-long visa, which requires potential residents to contact the French embassy or consulate in their home country and fill out extensive forms (which will be in French).

Related article: How to start a business in France in 8 steps

Approval can take up to six months and, once obtained, this visa will also need to be renewed after a year, after which point, all expats are obliged to start paying income taxes. Renewed visas are often valid for a longer period of time, however, and it usually takes anywhere between three to ten years to receive indefinite leave to remain.

Writing a Business Plan for French Audiences

As previously highlighted, France and Australia share many ties of history and cooperation, but the cultural differences between the two countries should still not be underestimated - many businesses have been scuppered by failing to fully research their intended audience.

Writing a French business plan (and of course, having it translated into French) is an important step to define your mission statement and vision for your business, which will need to be shown to your French business bank account manager. A great business plan can also attract investors, bolstering a startup’s chances of longevity and success.

Understanding the By-laws & Structure of Your French Company

It’s vital to take the time to understand French business structures as you will need one which fits both your company size and the amount of turnover it achieves. It is likely that your business will be applicable to one of the structures listed below:

● EURL - a limited liability single shareholder company that is operated by one person.
● SARL – This is similar to a Limited or LLC company.
● SAS – which is a Simplified Stock Company; this type of company is ideal for foreign investors who do not want to become residents of France.
● Branch – if you want to extend your existing business and register it as a branch in France.

You will also need the help of a company formation agent or lawyer in order to register your by-laws according to the industry you wish to operate in, which include commercial or industrial, trades/artisan and agricultural, among others.

Opening a Bank Account and Registering your Business in France

Anyone starting a business in France will need a French bank account, which will require bank account introductions with the bank manager, who will question you on your business plan and company. With strict laws surrounding money laundering, this questioning can become rather exacting, so it’s well worth spending the time creating a highly comprehensive business plan where all the facts and figures are clearly available.

Related article: Why Australians are choosing France to access EU markets

You will also need to incorporate and register your French business, which requires proof of identity and a variety of forms that will need to be sent to the correct government departments (including the tax office). Once complete, you will receive a certificate of incorporation known as an Extrait Kbis and a SIREN number - your company ID which is then included on all official documents.

As a lengthy process that includes many different factors, it can be extremely helpful to gain expert advice throughout, and many company formation agents can do all these things for you which can save on delays.

For entrepreneurial Australians setting up their business in France, this is the point where the work of getting your business off the ground or expanding to new markets can begin. With one of the largest economies in the world and excellent transport and trade links with the rest of Europe, the effort of establishing a business in France can pay dividends to the Australians brave enough to seize the opportunity.

For more information on how you can set up a business in France if you’re an Australian, you can download our free guide below with all the information you need including business registration, company formation, tax advice and business bank accounts, take a look at our French company formation page or get in touch via our contact page or call our friendly bilingual team at our French office on 0033 (0) 1 53 57 49 10.

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