Current Immigration Policy

Today, France is home to over 5 million immigrants and the country is attempting to seek further ways to stem the flow of those seeking citizenship. President Nicolas Sarkozy is the head of France’s government, which has been described as “centre-right”  and it is up to him to determine the best way to do so. In response to concerns of numerous illegal immigrants still flowing into the country, President Sarkozy has implemented a deportation quota with hopes that 25,000 of them will be sent home this year.

Stricter immigration laws include passing a test to determine if the applicant can speak French and demonstrate knowledge of the language and customs. If the government is suspicious of someone seeking to enter to join their family, a DNA test – paid for by the applicant – may be ordered . Not only illegal immigrants are being targeted. Even those who are staying in the country legally are being encouraged to return to their homeland with France picking up the transportation bill.

Brice Hortefeux, the new immigration minister, came up with the plan which offers payment in the amount of €6,000 as an incentive to urge the immigrants to leave the country. In the two preceding years, a similar plan was put in place with the effect of 3,000 families taking the money and running home . Not everyone is content with this policy, however, citing that those who seek asylum are being detained at France’s borders in direct violation of human rights law instituted by the European Court of Human Rights in April.

According to Holly Cartner of the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, “Both the UN and the European Court have sent a clear message that France’s safeguards aren’t up to scratch. The best way to protect people against unsafe returns is to let them stay in France until their claims have been fully examined” . Unfortunately, this does not agree with France’s current immigration policy.

Future of the Country “Targeted immigration” is the goal sought by France and its governmental departments, in which only those immigrants who would bring some advantage to the country will be allowed in. “Co-development” is the term being applied to France’s policy current policy whereby immigrants in the country are allowed to be involved in development of their homeland in the hopes that they will eventually return .

Other European states are taking an interest in this type of immigration policy, recognizing that negative population growth is a serious issue which will prevent most from ever being able to strictly abolish entry to immigrants. Co-development is being seen as a way to share an economic boon among countries. As Brigitte Girardin claims, “According to the World Bank, the contribution of migrants to global income will be close to $800 billion in 2025. It is in all our interests not passively to accept migration, but to take concerted action so that it contributes to global well-being” .