Customs checkpoint

Guaranteeing the right to asylum and improving control of migration flows

France is the arrival point for flows of migrants that have grown beyond anything previously experienced. The Government has drawn up an action plan to guarantee a balanced and controlled immigration policy. A bill is currently being drafted to provide legislative support for the plan. The associations involved in providing emergency accommodation and receiving asylum seekers are being consulted.

Improving control of migration flows at European and international level

  • Continue to strengthen checks at the external borders of the European Union (EU): capabilities as regards checks, recording and hosting of EU "hotspots" will be bolstered, as will tools for performing external border checks. Frontex's transformation into the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be finalised.
  • Work towards greater solidarity: solidarity involves building our capacity to conduct a fully-fledged European asylum policy, complete with a common list of safe countries of origin and means for preventing or addressing migrant crises.
  • Take action on flows at European and international level: proactive measures aimed at the source of migration flows are paramount. France will fully participate in the international community's efforts to stabilise the situation in Libya by stepping up the fight against networks and recommending that the EU impose sanctions against those involved. Employment initiatives in countries of origin will be enhanced.

Reinstating the full scope of the right to asylum by improving the processing of applications and reception conditions

  • Improve the time it takes to process asylum applications: by shortening this from 14 to 6 months, rights will become more accessible, reception of asylum seekers will improve and it will also be possible to keep better tabs on the housing and cash support expenditure path.
  • Increase reception capacities as regards asylum seekers: to prevent asylum seekers from setting up camp on the street, the Government intends to create an extra 7,500 reception places by 2019. Asylum seekers will be pointed more effectively towards appropriate welcome facilities. A specific action plan for unaccompanied minors will also be presented.

Conducting an effective and credible policy against irregular migration

  • A credible deportation policy: the Government will be working closely with prefects and law enforcement to ensure the obligation to leave French territory (OQTF) is put into practice more effectively.
  • Action first and foremost on certain groups of asylum seekers: precedence will be given to the situation of asylum seekers whose applications have either been rejected or are the responsibility of another EU State, pursuant to the Dublin Regulation.
  • Crack down more effectively on fraud and criminal networks: as of this summer the Government will already be issuing instructions to prefects to set up control plans in each prefecture.

For an ambitious overhaul of integration policy

  • Genuine equal opportunities for all documented foreign nationals: integration policy will be recast during an extensive consultation process involving researchers and academics. The cornerstone underpinning this policy will be proficiency in the French language. The reform will be validated by a cross-government council on integration, set to meet in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Improve the integration of refugees: housing and employment will be made more accessible. The Government will appoint a cross-government delegate for the integration of refugees, who will be attached to the Minister of the Interior.

Attracting talent and skills

The "France Visas" project will be rolled out this summer to make the issuing of visas easier and the procedures followed by government departments more reliable. The Government intends to develop the "passeports talents" initiative so that researchers, investors, business founders or renowned artists will be able to get a residence document for four years. Outstanding students or skilled young professionals will be given easier access to the job market and their circular mobility will be encouraged.

The pressures weighing down on France and its European partners from migration are unprecedented. Since the start of the year, some 85,000 people have arrived along the Italian coastline from Libya. The checks performed at the Franco-Italian border in Alpes-Maritimes have already led to more than 20,000 undocumented foreign nationals being brought in for questioning. There are still large numbers of migrants in Paris, Calais and elsewhere.
In 2016 France received over 85,000 claims for asylum – which is 40% more than in 2012. Such flows are putting a housing system, which is already stretched to capacity, under even more pressure. Over the coming months it will be necessary to uphold and build on the commitment already demonstrated by the stakeholders (State departments, associations, local authorities) in terms of existing capacities.

This situation stems from efforts to seek protection, not least in the light of armed conflict situations. The right to asylum must apply unconditionally, in keeping with France's international undertakings. But the current circumstances are also, and above all, a result of economic migration, orchestrated by networks which organise the arrival of major flows of people within the European Union.
To tackle this unsatisfactory situation, which cannot be sustained over the long term, a balanced and controlled immigration policy must be crafted, based upon the joint and coordinated management of flows at European level, more efficient processing of asylum applications and a fully assumed policy against irregular migration.
Beyond the immediate challenges posed by Europe's migration situation, France's immigration policy must also seek to address issues with longer-term implications. To strengthen social cohesion, France must find ways to integrate foreign nationals who are likely to be long-term residents – especially those in a particularly vulnerable situation. France must also boost its appeal in the eyes of those who it would like to encourage to come here, as well as modernise and simplify the formalities that foreigners are required to go through to come and stay in France.

11 January 2018: the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, together with Gérard Collomb and Agnès Buzyn, held a second meeting with the associations involved in providing emergency accommodation and receiving asylum seekers to present the key provisions of the future bill.

21 December 2017 : Édouard Philippe, Gérard Collomb, Agnès Buzyn and Julien Denormandie speak with 30 associations engaged in emergency accommodation and the reception of asylum seekers

12 July 2017: presentation of the action plan for a balanced and controlled immigration policy