In normal times such a headline wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow.
New French law aims to boost foreigners’ rights
Unidentified migrants get in “the Migration and Integration” office at the prefecture of the French northwestern city of Caen
A new law was put to the French parliament on Monday which aims to shrink the bureaucratic hurdles for foreigners wanting to stay in France.
The raft of measures, introduced on Monday, aims to make a dent in the mountains of paperwork that come with France’s immigration system that has dealt with around 200,000 legal immigrants each year for the past decade.
The majority of these immigrants come for family reasons, with 60,000 arriving to study, and 20,000 for humanitarian reasons, such as asylum or illness.
The moves are intended to both allow a kinder welcome to foreigners, but also as as way of attracting global talent to come and live and work in France.
And with around 2.5 million non-EU foreigners living in France (60 percent of whom come from Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, and Tunisia), it’s no doubt a priority to help them get through what Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has called “a real administrative obstacle course”.
Cazeneuve questioned: “How can foreigners be expected to integrate when hundreds of thousands are being sent to the Prefecture a dozen times each a year?”
The proposal, which has been dubbed in the French press as the ‘Rights for foreigners bill’, has drawn criticism from the opposition, which labelled the proposals as nothing but “laxism” on the subject of immigration.
“And they’re asking us to look at this in the middle of summer in an attempt to avoid any kind of debate,” Republicain MP Thierry Mariani told Le Figaro newspaper.