Asylum and Immigration

France has become the arrival point for migratory flows far greater than any previously experienced. In such a context, a law on controlled immigration, effective right of asylum and successful integration has been published on 11 September 2018.



The Asylum and Immigration law has 3 objectives:

Stepping up protection of individuals

Improving vulnerable individuals’ right of residence: right of residence for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, stateless persons, and members of their families will be secured. Protection of young girls against risks of FGM will be improved by simplifying and securing transmission of medical certificates drawn up in their countries and guaranteeing family reunification for unaccompanied refugee minors.

Protecting victims of family and intimate partner violence: any individual who obtains final conviction of a perpetrator of such violence will have full entitlement to a residence permit, and a temporary residence permit will be issued to any individual covered by an interim protection order.

Protecting minors against fraudulent acknowledgement of paternity: perpetrators of any such acknowledgement will be held to account; the Public Prosecutor’s Office may intervene in the event of serious doubt.

Bringing our procedures into line with European law and practices

Aligning our procedures with European practices: asylum procedure deadlines in the event of appeal to the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) will be shortened and the Court’s operation facilitated. Under conditions, such appeals will no longer be systematically suspensive, but may be rendered so by the Administrative Court upon request.

Better distributing asylum seekers across the territory: a national scheme for reception of asylum seekers will be created, incorporating a regional distribution key. It will include the new Reception and Situation Examination Centres (CAESs) set up by the Government to improve initial reception of migrants before they have even applied for asylum. When decisions are made on where to send individuals, their vulnerability, in particular if they have been victims of human trafficking, will be taken into full account.

Bringing detention periods into line with the European average: the maximum detention period in France is currently the shortest in the EU. Maximum duration of administrative detention will therefore be increased to 90 days and the house-arrest scheme reinforced. In addition, financial assistance for voluntary return will be granted to foreigners under detention in order to facilitate quicker and more easily accepted departures that are also more respectful of human dignity.

Improving attractiveness to and reception of talents and skills: by developing the “talent passport”, for example, or transposing the EU Students and Researchers Directive.

Better adapting our law to operational realities

Facilitating checking of right of residence: investigation possibilities during the detention period will be extended (maximum detention period, baggage inspection, taking of fingerprints and photographs).

Making house arrest more effective: deportations without detention will be facilitated by extending and reinforcing the house-arrest scheme.

Adapting time limits for intervention by judges and extending the practice of video court hearings: for example, when Release and Detention Judges (JLDs) have to rule on whether or not to detain an individual, they will now have 48 rather than 24 hours to make their pronouncements. Cases must now be brought to court within 96 rather than 72 hours.


France and its European partners are faced with unprecedented migratory pressure. Between January and July 2017, almost 85,000 people made their way from Libya to the coast of Italy. Over the same period, controls carried out at the Franco-Italian border in Alpes-Maritimes led to over 20,000 undocumented foreigners being held for questioning.

In 2016, France received over 85,000 asylum applications (40% more than in 2012) and more than 100,000 asylum applications were recorded in 2017. Such flows make impossible demands on an already overloaded accommodation system. Despite all the efforts made through mobilisation of stakeholders (State services, community actors and local authorities), maintenance and extension of existing capacities are essential.

The situation is the result of a search for protection, in particular in the face of armed conflict in the homeland. Right of asylum should be applied unconditionally, in compliance with France’s international commitments. But the current momentum is also and above all the result of economic migration, structured by action on the part of networks that organise the arrival of major flows of migrants into the European Union.

In the face of this situation, which is neither satisfactory nor sustainable, a balanced and controlled migration policy must be developed, based on concerted management of flows at European level, improved processing of asylum applications, and adoption of countermeasures combating illegal immigration.

In addition to the immediate challenges posed by the migratory situation in Europe, France’s migration policy must also find answers to long-term issues. In order to strengthen social cohesion, our country must provide itself with the means to integrate foreigners living permanently on its soil, above all those who are especially vulnerable. It must also increase its attractiveness in the eyes of individuals we would like to see coming to France, as well as modernise and simplify the steps foreigners are obliged to take in order to get to France and reside here.

Hence, the Government’s migration policy has 5 main focuses:

  1. acting at European and international level to better control migratory flows;
  2. ensuring that right of asylum is fully effective again by improving processing of applications and reception conditions;
  3. implementing a credible and effective policy on illegal immigration and deportation;
  4. carrying out far-reaching reform of our integration policy;
  5. attracting more talents and skills.

This being so, the Asylum and Immigration law has 3 objectives in view:

  1. stepping up protection of individuals;
  2. bringing our procedures into line with European law and practices;
  3. better adapting our law to operational realities.

10 September 2018: enactment of the Act for controlled immigration, effective right of asylum and successful integration.

6 September 2018: the Constitutional Council approves the Act’s framework as a whole.

1 August 2018: the Act is adopted by Parliament.

22 April 2018: the bill on controlled immigration, effective right of asylum and successful integration is adopted by the National Assembly at its first reading (228 votes to 139).

5 April 2018: working in committee, Members of Parliament adopt the increase to 90 days of the maximum period for holding foreigners awaiting expulsion.

21 February 2018: the Minister of the Interior presents the bill on controlled immigration and effective right of asylum to the Council of Ministers.

11 January 2018: the Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, and Ministers Gérard Collomb and Agnès Buzyn receive representatives of associations engaged in provision of emergency accommodation and reception of asylum seekers for the second time, to present the main provisions of the future bill.

21 December 2017: the Government launches consultations for preparation of the Asylum and Immigration Bill, with 30 associations engaged in provision of emergency accommodation and reception of asylum seekers.

12 July 2017: the Prime Minister presents the “Guaranteeing right of asylum and better controlling migratory flows” action plan.