Self-employed workers: why international umbrella services may be an opportunity for you?

If you are self-employed, have clients abroad or wish to carry out assignments abroad on behalf of French customers, find out how international umbrella services can open up professional opportunities for you.


Globalisation is prompting more and more companies established abroad to call on skills from all over the world and on French consultants and managers to carry out short or long assignments abroad. For these self-employed people, an international umbrella company is therefore a solution that is too often misunderstood and yet ideal for carrying out an assignment abroad, while retaining the autonomy of entrepreneurship and quality, “à la carte” social security cover.
For consultants on secondment or expatriates, the umbrella company offers many advantages, particularly social benefits.

How does an international umbrella company work?

In France, skilled specialist executives can use the umbrella company to work freelance and retain salaried status. This process is also valid for international assignments on secondment or abroad. The benefits are not only financial, but also social and administrative.


The principle is simple. When the executive consultant uses an international umbrella company, they trigger a three-way relationship between themselves, their client company, and the umbrella company.


The umbrella company draws up a commercial contract with the company the consultant is carrying out the assignment for, and an employment contract with the consultant. They handle all the administrative procedures and pay the consultant a monthly salary of an amount previously negotiated according to the turnover generated by the assignment, plus professional expenses and possible health expenses. The consultant determines the social coverage they require depending on their needs (retirement, unemployment, etc.).

What are the advantages of the international umbrella company for a consultant on an assignment?

There are many advantages. For a typical self-employed person the main benefit of their status is entrepreneurial freedom, autonomy and the possibility of working simultaneously for several companies. In return, they have to manage their micro-enterprise (accounting, administrative and financial aspects, legal aspects, invoicing, etc.), and they do not benefit from quality social security coverage: minimum pension, no unemployment benefits, etc., even though their compulsory deductions may in some cases be very low and their take home pay relatively high in return. Many self-employed people only discover too late that they have been accumulating an extremely low pension contribution for several years.

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By choosing the umbrella company, the consultant is free from administrative constraints, regaining salaried status (with the associated benefits) but retains the autonomy of a contractor. Their take home pay may be lower, but their social security coverage is much better. When working under an international umbrella company, the employee is free to make their own decisions in these areas and, for example, can choose whether or not to make unemployment contributions and even determine the level of pension contributions to be made.

Umbrella company professionals provide them with their expertise on these issues, as well as on fiscal, legal and, depending on the country where the mission is carried out, administrative aspects. An ideal way for the consultant to lighten their administrative obligations and devote 100% of their time and energy to the assignment entrusted them by their client company.

Who is the umbrella company solution for?

It is intended for several types of professional profiles and has a fairly wide range of potential applications.

  • Independent consultants who wish to carry out an assignment from their country of origin for a client company located abroad with frequent international travel.
  • Self-employed consultants who wish to work abroad, on a long-term or one-off basis, but who would like to benefit from administrative and legal support and retain the social benefits they enjoy in their country of origin.
  • Consultants who are going to carry out an assignment in a country where they know that it is difficult to set up (Africa, Asia, Middle East), and who wish to benefit from personalised support to secure their assignment.

What business development opportunities can the international umbrella company offer the consultant?

There are many opportunities for assignments abroad. Often very well paid, they also provide valuable work experience that is recognised by companies.

By turning to an international umbrella company, the consultant not only secures their territory for professional actions, but also consolidates their social, administrative and legal protection in the long term. They strengthens their future and coverage for public or private retirement or in the event of unforeseen events such as health or loss of work.


Companies seeking recruits with an international profile also appreciate the umbrella company because it simplifies administrative and legal relations with their freelancers, and allows them to better manage this new type of human resource, particularly when a single umbrella company centralises all the “self-employed” profiles.

Les avantages du portage salarial international pour les experts

A consultant who uses an international umbrella company therefore enjoys an advantage and should not hesitate to offer it to client companies, most of which will find it an opportunity to develop international markets or assignments by freeing themselves from the legal and administrative complexities of expatriation or secondment.


To all intents and purposes, the opportunities afforded by this as yet little-known status are very real.

SAGE SA is a specialised subsidiary of the Freelance Group, and its team of international experts are at your disposal to answer your questions and provide you with a simulation of their services according to your estimated turnover and desired social security cover. Each individual case differs. This will show you an actual situation and allow you to judge for yourself the value of this special status.
Do not hesitate to contact us here.

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