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Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Greg Should Stay in Paris

Patrick Weil once pointed out that the actors involved in any immigration policy are a multitude of interests.  At the government level there are the decision-makers on the side of the receiving state certainly but also the home country of the migrant who retains sovereignty over its citizen and has a limited right to intervene on his behalf.  On the migrant side, in addition to those foreign residents already on the receiving country's soil, are all those in other countries who might be attracted or dissuaded. And whether or not these migrants are "desirable" or "undesirable" depends greatly on who you talk to:  the man or woman in the street, the political parties, the churches, the military, higher education, the unions and, of course, industry.

A few days ago an American living and working in France, Greg Beuthin, was denied a renewal of his work permit and was handed an "injonction de quitter le territoire sous 30 jours" (a deportation notice).  This gentleman works for a company called Commerce Guys which is an e-commerce company with offices in both France and the U.S. which offers solutions based on Drupal Commerce, an open source e-commerce framework. Mr. Beuthin, who is bi-lingual French/English, was brought over as a Senior Expert in this technology and he seems to be very much appreciated by his colleagues and his company who are flabbergasted at the idea that Mr. Beuthin is not welcome here:
La présence et le dynamisme et l'expertise de Greg à Paris contribuent à la formation de techniciens et ingénieurs français qui peuvent ensuite plus facilement trouver un emploi en France. Son rôle d'encadrement en tant qu'expert senior est un élément structurant de la capacité de Commerce Guys à continuer son développement et à recruter en 2012.
Greg's presence, energy and expertise in Paris is contributing to the training of French technicians and engineers who can then more easily find a job in France.  His leadership as a Senior Expert is an important element in Commerce Guy's ability to continue to grow and to recruit in 2012.
If I may reformulate?  The message they are sending to French decision-makers is simply, "Are you completely insane?  His presence is good for us as a company, good for French IT workers and by extension good for the French economy overall."

Now I wasn't there and I don't know what the prefecture was thinking and I may be missing something here but Commerce Guys is pretty upset.  It's clear that they think that the deportation notice is entirely unjustified and driven by political reasons.  And they are not simply going to accept this decision without a fight:
Nous avons donc pris un avocat conseil et avons réuni toutes les pièces permettant de démontrer que Greg ne "prend pas la place qu'un chômeur français pourrait occuper". Nous attendons aujourd'hui le retour de la préfecture sur ce dossier, avec espoir. La décision de la préfecture est "discrétionnaire", elle a donc complète autorité pour juger si le cas de Greg mérite d'être reconsidéré. Nous nourrissons l'espoir que la raison économique l'emporte sur des considérations politiques.
We have taken on legal counsel and have prepared all the documentation necessary to prove that Greg is not "holding a position that could be performed by an unemployed French person." We are waiting for the response from the prefecture on this matter with hope.  The prefecture's decision is "discretionary" and they have complete authority to decide if Greg's case should be re-examined.  We are hoping that economic rationality will prevail over political considerations.
You can read their entire defense, POURQUOI GREG DOIT RESTER À PARIS!, of their employee on their website.

Whatever the outcome, I have to say that I am deeply impressed that Commerce Guys is willing to go to bat for Mr. Beuthin.  They look like a darn good company to work for and if I'm ever in a position to send business their way, I will.

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