French immigration reform: what will change for foreigners in 2024?
Every year, the French government presents an overview of its immigration policy to the parliament, providing detailed information on the number of immigrants and asylum seekers. Starting in 2024, migrants will face significant changes. Find out more about what updates were approved by the new immigration law and how the French leadership reacted to the new migration law
Almost seven million people or 10% of the French population are migrants. The most common countries of origin for expats are Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia, Italy, Turkey and Spain. For many years, France has been one of the most hospitable countries in the world for foreigners, but the latest migration reform significantly limited the rights of foreigners in the republic.
The bill is already being called scandalous, because it reduced access to social benefits for foreigners, tightened rules for foreign students, introduced migration quotas, and complicated the procedure for obtaining citizenship. Some French leaders called the reform the toughest in the last 40 years.
What will change for expats in 2024? France's new immigration law is discussed in detail below.
Changing the social assistance payment procedure
First of all, the law divides foreigners into those who work and those who are not employed. This fact will affect what social benefits expats can receive and for what period.
For example, immigrants who are not working will have to wait 5 years to receive child support, while employed expats will be able to apply for funding after 30 months of residence.
Monthly Housing Allowance (APL) will also be tied to length of residence, requiring five years for non-employed foreigners and just three months for those in work.
The new restrictions do not apply to foreign students, refugees and holders of residence permits, and the changes will not affect the disabled.
Reform of state medical care for foreigners
State Medical Assistance (AME) for undocumented people will not be abolished, but the application process will be revised in early 2024.
Citizenship by birth is no longer automatically granted
Children born in France to foreign parents will no longer automatically become French citizens under jus soli legislation. They will have to apply for citizenship between the ages of 16 and 18.
Strengthened rules for family reunification
Foreign nationals granted residence in France will have to wait at least 24 months (now 18 months) and have a stable income and health insurance before they can apply for family members to join them.
A spouse wishing to come to France must be at least 21 years old (compared to 18 under current law).
Availability of a deposit for foreign students
Foreigners wishing to obtain a student residence permit will be required to make a deposit to guarantee possible future repatriation costs. Upon completion of training, the money will be returned. An exception will be made for students from low-income families or with excellent exam results.
Preventive arrest of asylum seekers
Asylum seekers whose behavior may pose a threat to public order will be placed in preventive detention, especially if there is a risk of the asylum seeker escaping.
Restriction of access to a residence permit
Foreigners who have certain diseases will not be able to issue a residence permit in France. With some exceptions, it can only be provided if there is no "adequate treatment" in the country of origin. In addition, the state will not provide financial assistance if the applicant has sufficient resources for treatment.
Loss of citizenship in the event of a crime
Persons with dual citizenship who are convicted of the intentional killing of any person holding a position in public authorities may be deprived of their citizenship.
Sanctions for countries that do not cooperate with France on migration issues
Development aid may be conditional on the country's cooperation in the repatriation of illegal migrants and compliance with agreements with France on the control of migration flows.
Introduction of migration quota
Each year, the French government must present to parliament an overview of its immigration policy, providing detailed information on the number of immigrants and asylum seekers, how many residence permits have been granted or refused, how many family reunifications have been approved, how many illegal immigrants have been expelled or deported, and how many immigrants have been granted French citizenship.
Conditions for obtaining a residence permit for workers in sectors with a shortage of labor are simplified
Foreign nationals who are not citizens of an EU member state and do not have a residence or work permit, but work in sectors or industries that experience difficulties in recruiting staff, such as restaurants, the construction industry and agriculture, can apply for a residence permit and work
To be eligible, a foreign worker must have lived in France for at least three years and worked for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutively) in the last two years.
When considering this request, the authorities will take into account the applicant's degree of integration into French society and respect for republican values. Foreigners who have a police record will not be able to use this exception.
An undocumented worker can apply for this residence permit without their employer's approval.
The system will work in test mode until 2026.
Administrative detention of minor foreigners has been cancelled
Foreign minors can no longer be placed in detention centers.
How did the French leadership react to the new migration law?
After the French parliament approved a tough new immigration law, the opinions of the country's leaders were significantly divided. Thus, the leader of the far-right party, Marine Le Pen, declared that this document was an "ideological victory" for her own anti-immigration platforms.
At the same time, French Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau resigned in protest against the new draft law.
Cyrille Chatlain, a member of parliament from the "Greens", told the parliament about the feeling of "shame and betrayal" by the new policy of the country.
Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne believes it was the necessary bill the French demanded.
However, even the interior minister admitted that some aspects of the law may conflict with the French constitution. Therefore, the text is still being considered by the constitutional council, which has the power to remove certain parts of the law.
Igor Usyk - Head of Migration department at VisitWorld
To ensure a safe move to a new country, I advise you to consult a specialist. My colleagues, qualified specialists with a legal education, will help you avoid unpleasant situations during migration.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in France;
Legal advice from a local specialist on visa and migration issues;
Travel insurance for foreigners in France;
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