France considering new immigration laws

A number of new proposals regarding changes to the French immigration system were put to the country’s parliament yesterday, in a bid to cut much of the red tape facing those who want to settle in France.

Currently, the immigration services in France deals with around 200,000 legal non-EU immigrant cases each year; however, this hardly makes a dent in the approximately 2.5 million non-EU residents who live in the country.

Perhaps the most significant proposal would see an increase in the length of the resident permit. At present, non-EU immigrants are required to renew their residence status every year. If the new rules are passed, though, then after immigrants have been in the country for one year, they would be able to apply for permits that last for four years.

“How can foreigners be expected to integrate when hundreds of thousands are being sent to the Prefecture a dozen times each a year?” stated Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve yesterday. The minister also described the current system as “a real administrative obstacle course.”

Another change would see some skilled immigrants granted a four-year visa from the off. Described as the un passeport talent this visa would allow talented foreign artists, scientists, athletes, and business leaders an easier route into the country and encourage them to stay for a long-term period.

Finally, the proposed bill called for changes to the country’s current data act, which would grant immigration officers easier access to verify any information included on an immigration applicant’s application. This would allow them to check bank details, social services history and education background.