The Post-Brexit Ski Season

This time of year would normally see thousands of young Brits jetting off to the Alps, with 5 months of parties, pêche and powder awaiting them. But, the ski season as we know it, has been butchered by BREXIT. Whilst it is all very messy, there is hope for future seasons and aspiring seasonnaires.   

There are many questions on the tip of every ski-fanatics' tongues; Is the ski season going ahead? Can I do a ski season in Europe with a UK passport? Can I apply for a working visa? Can we enter a parallel universe where Brexit does not exist and start afresh? 

We are here to get the facts straight. 

“How long can I stay in the EU without a visa?” 

Thanks to the 90 Day Schengen Rule, Brits can stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. During those 90 days, they are welcome to eat, sleep, shred and repeat. They are not permitted to work.

“I want to work; can I apply for a working holiday visa?”

Ah, so you fancy washing dishes 7 days a week for a croissant and the dregs of the chalet wine? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it was before. This is due to the loss of freedom of movement of labour and the fact that there is currently no agreement between the UK and EU countries for working holiday visas. However, this could be arranged in the future and would probably be similar to the working holiday visas that we have with Australia and Canada.   

“Are there other ways of obtaining a visa to work the season?”

Yes, there are success stories. Various companies have managed to hire staff with a UK passport. However, the current process is tough and tiresome. 

If you are a UK passport holder looking to be employed for the Ski Season, here is how it works: 

  1. You need to receive sponsorship from a French company

For a company to sponsor a UK passport holder, they must prove that there is no EU candidate that is suitable for the job. To prove this, they must advertise the job with the French Jobseeker platform ‘Pole Emploi’ for at least 3 weeks. If they receive any applications, they must present a compelling case on why they did not employ the EU candidates. 

If they manage to present the higher power with a convincing enough case, the application is sent to the Ministry of the Interior. The processing of the Work Permit can take between a week and a month to process. 

The good news is, at present, most work permits are being granted. This is due to the mounting pressure to simply get resorts running. This is a highly contentious political decision and it is predicted to become tougher in the future. 

  1. Apply for your visa 

Once you have secured a work permit, you can apply for your visa. This requires you to contact the consul in your own country. France has subcontracted a private company to deal with this. Employers are helping UK passport holders through this process. 

The current process is gruelling and can take up to 6 months to process. 

“That sounds tough, is this the new normal?”

It shouldn’t be. This season is the first of its kind, with BREXIT and COVID colliding to create utter chaos. There is hope that a Working Holiday Visa will be introduced for future seasons. This would make it a whole lot easier for Brits to get out to the Alps and find work. 

“Most importantly, can I still shred this season?” 

Yes. Absolutely. The ski season is still going ahead, resorts are opening. You have the option to spend up to 90 consecutive days to shred until your heart’s content. Bring on the good times, powder lines and stein’s (of beer pêche ). 

A big thank you to Mika from SBiT (Seasonal Businesses in Travel), for providing clarity on the situation. SBiT’s aim is to ensure that the (future) relationship between the EU nations and the UK fosters and aims to grow the contribution British outbound travel companies make to the economies of both the UK and the EU nations by protecting the ability of British workers to temporarily work across the EU nations supporting the seasonal travel industry. 

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