FRENCH SENATE ADOPTED A MODIFIED VERSION OF A NEW IMMIGRATION BILL ON NOVEMBER 14, 2023.
The National Assembly will discuss and vote on it starting from December 11, 2023. Applications submitted before this date will not be impacted.
This bill, initially presented by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, and Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt on February 1, 2023, addresses various aspects of immigration including work, integration, removal, asylum, and foreigner litigation.
Key aspects include facilitating work visas for certain high-demand professions, such as a one-year “work in high-tension professions” residence permit. This permit, valid until the end of 2026, allows undocumented workers meeting specific conditions (such as a three-year stay in France and eight months of experience in the last 24 months in a high-tension job or area) to regularize their status.
A new multi-year “talent – medical and pharmacy professions” residence permit has been introduced for non-EU trained practitioners (doctors, midwives, dental surgeons, pharmacists). Asylum seekers from high-risk countries can start working immediately, and there’s a new administrative fine of €4,000 for employers exploiting illegal workers.
Other significant changes include requiring a minimum French language proficiency for certain residence permits, tightening family reunification rules, and enhancing the obligations of employers to provide French language training to their foreign employees. The bill also enforces respect for the principles of the Republic and toughens conditions for obtaining residency.
The Senate’s amendments include establishing immigration quotas, extending the duration of stay required for family reunification, limiting access to residency for spouses of French citizens and parents of French children, and creating a “return guarantee” for first-time student residence permits. The Senate also proposed stricter conditions for sick foreigners and turned the state medical aid for undocumented immigrants into a more restrictive emergency medical aid.
In terms of removals, the bill aims to facilitate the deportation of foreigners posing a serious threat to public order, even those with long-standing ties in France. The Senate also included amendments to facilitate deportation and denial of stay for specific categories of foreigners.
As for the asylum process, the bill introduces “France Asylum Spaces” and reforms the National Court of Asylum. The Senate proposed experimentation with these spaces in at least ten departments and immediate discontinuation of care for rejected asylum seekers.
Overall, the bill represents a significant shift in French immigration policy by introducing more stringent requirements and conditions for obtaining and renewing residency in France. The bill will move on 11 December 2023 to the National Assembly, which might amend it, for discussion and vote.