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Thursday September 6, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

A French outdoor sports body is warning UK ski instructors to act now if they want their qualifications recognised in France after Brexit.




France Plein Air has been looking into what happens if there's a "hard Brexit" and Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

The withdrawal is fixed for 29th March 2019 and so far there is no deal.

France Plein Air helps outdoor instructors navigate their way around the legal and bureaucratic processes required to operate within the law.

It's warning that ski instructors who leave it until after the deadline date to get their qualifications recognised in France will not be able to work there, or risk being taken to court if they do.

It says:

  • UK qualifications recognised under the EU's Freedom of Establishment* BEFORE the withdrawal date will be 'grandfathered' . In other words, instructors will be entitled to continue to work under the rules in place before withdrawal.
  • Recognition of UK professional qualifications AFTER the withdrawal date will be governed by national policies; the EU Directive will no longer apply, creating serious legal uncertainties.
  • To be able to work in France after the withdrawal date, professionals holding UK qualifications should seek their recognition under the Freedom of Establishment procedure BEFORE 29th March 2019.
Tignes, FranceWant to instruct in France? Act now
















Instructors need to "declare" with the competent authority in the host state their qualifications and their intention to work.

In France, the competent authority is the local prefecture.

While anyone planning to work this coming winter season is likely to have their paperwork in order by then, the future is less certain.

The Chief Executive of France Plein Air, Jean-Yves Lapeyrère, says that as long as instructors have begun the declaration process to get their qualifications recognised before the withdrawal, they will be covered by the EU directive and cleared to work.

He says if there's no agreement between the UK and the remaining 27 EU nations, it will come down to whether individual agreements can be made at national level and there's no guarantee that will happen.

Jean-Yves Lapeyrère Jean-Yves Lapeyrère

















"There's going to be no gift," he told PlanetSKI.

"Now, if they are not declared, they can't go to work, for sure, or they take the risk and end up in court.

"If they wait for after the withdrawal date, the chances that they succeed is very small, so I would strongly recommend that outdoor instructors do declare before the withdrawal date in order to be either recognised or have the recognition at least in the pipes."

He says any attempt to introduce their paperwork after withdrawal is a "dead case" as it's highly unlikely there'll be a French-British bilateral agreeement.

"I would be extremely surprised if there was a favourable deal organised by France without the pressure of the EU," he said.

Jean-Yves Lapeyrère was part of the legal team that helped the British ski instructor Simon Butler win his case in the French courts, after he was wrongly arrested for working without sufficient qualifications.

However, the risk is not confined to France.

There are likely to be issues in other EU countries, such as Italy and Austria.

Austria has already been taken to task for discriminating against non-Austrian ski instructors in both the Tirol and Styria. The European Commission has referred the case to the European Court of Justice.

Soelden, AustriaTirol, Austria













France Plein Air is currently assisting around 80 British and other EU instructors with their paperwork in France, Austria and Italy.

"It's unbelievable to see the tricks that the Member States play," Jean-Yves Lapeyrère said.

And that's now, before Brexit, so it's probably as well to heed the warnings.

Contact France Plein Air for help with your Freedom of Establishment procedures on +33 674 596 087 or email

* Freedom of Establishment means the self-employed are entitled to work in an EU state under the same conditions as the state's own nationals.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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