The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and Olivier Dussopt, the French Minister of Labour, presented yesterday, Wednesday February 1st, the draft law on immigration to the Council of Ministers. The text, which includes 27 measures, will be debated in the coming months at the Senate and at the National Assembly. Before being able to give you concrete information on the measures, their modalities and their practical aspects, here is a summary of the main lines of the project.
1 . “ Skills Shortage” work permit
This temporary residence permit is intended for foreign citizens who have been in an irregular situation in France for 3 years and have worked 8 months out of the last 24 months on a “tension job” (= in shortage of manpower). It would be valid for one year and could possibly lead to a longer permit if the position is made permanent. No action would be required from the employer.
The project also includes re-working this list of shortage skills, which determines sectors and jobs experimenting recruitment difficulties, by region.
2 . “Medical professions / pharmacy” work permit
Intended for specialists graduated outside the European Union, being recruited by health institutions or public/ private non-profit medico-social institutions, this multi-year residence permit, similar to a Talent Passport, would allow a stay of up to 4 years. It would aim to alleviate the desperate need for qualified staff in the health sector (doctors, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, ,….).
3 . Mastering French
Mastering a minimum level of French would be required to obtain a first multi-year residence permit, and a level test would have to be taken.
The bill, which aims to “control immigration and improve integration,” also includes:
- Measures to deport citizens showing a threat to the security of the country and/or those having sentenced to prison terms of 10 years or more;
- a hardening of the OQTF (Obligation to leave the French territory);
- the creation of territorial poles to accelerate asylum applications;
- the prohibition of the placement of children under the age of 16 in detention centres.
The Talent Passport could also be rethought, as well as family reunification, and the famous quotas often mentioned by right-wing parties could also be put back into the debate. These measures will be subject to potentially heated debates before being implemented concretely.
Apart from the political aspect of any decision related to immigration, it would be essential to consider the practical aspect of immigration management in France: the immigration authorities are already totally overwhelmed and understaffed, as evidenced by the incredible delays in responding and processing files – despite the digitalization of procedures recently put in place. If it is essential to adapt immigration to the challenges of society and the economic needs of the country, this cannot be done without giving concrete means to the administrations that manage it, unless we really want to create….tension.