French immigration law reform 2024: Article 3, changes and new features

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Visit new french immigration law 2024 represents a major transformation of French migration policy, the fruit of a complex legislative process and intense political debate. The text covers a wide range of subjects, from the regularization of undocumented workers in high-demand occupations to the reinstatement of the offence of illegal residence, marking a significant tightening of legislation. The reform also modifies the conditions for family reunification, introduces new rules for access to social benefits for third-country nationals, and revises the criteria for acquiring French nationality. These changes, accompanied by debates on immigrant quotas and the introduction of a deposit for foreign students, reflect the many facets of this important reform.

This legal change, which also modifies the conditions for issuing residence permits and addresses the future of state medical aid (AME), marks a more restrictive approach to the issue of residence permits. immigration in France. This article presents a detailed analysis of these different measures, examining their potential implications for immigrants, French society and the legal framework of immigration.

Main changes to the 2024 immigration law

Visit France's new 2024 immigration law introduces several significant changes compared to the previous legislation. Here are the main changes:

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  1. Regularization of undocumented workers in shortage occupations : This is a new approach aimed at addressing labor shortages in certain sectors, changing the previous policy which did not provide for such specific regularization measures.
  2. Reinstatement of the offence of illegal residence : Abolished in 2012, this offence has been reintroduced, marking a significant tightening up on previous, more tolerant policies towards irregular migrants.
  3. Tougher conditions for family reunification : Stricter requirements, such as extending the length of stay and raising the minimum age of the spouse, make the family reunification process more complex than before.
  4. Restrictions on access to social assistance : The new law imposes longer residency periods for access to certain benefits, which represents a change from the more open access to social benefits for legal foreigners.
  5. Changes to land-use planning rules : Automatic acquisition of French nationality for children born in France to foreign nationals is becoming more restrictive, requiring active application between the ages of 16 and 18, unlike the old system where acquisition was more automatic.
  6. Introduction of migration quotas Although controversial, this measure is a departure from previous policies, which did not include a numerical cap on immigration.
  7. Deposit for foreign students : This is a new provision that did not exist in previous legislation, adding a financial condition to obtaining a residence permit for studies.
  8. Restrictions on residence permits for sick foreigners : The new law tightens up the conditions for obtaining this title, requiring the absence of appropriate treatment in the country of origin, which represents a significant change on previous practices.
  9. State Medical Aid (AME) to be maintained but reformed While there had been discussions about abolishing the AME, its continuation with an announced reform differs from more radical proposals for change.

These measures reflect a more restrictive approach to immigration policy in France, aimed at controlling and limiting immigration while meeting specific economic and social needs.

The evolution of article 3: debates, modifications and reactions

In its initial version, the immigration bill proposed by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin included Article 3 which provoked heated debate, particularly on the right. This article provided for the creation of a one-year renewable stay for undocumented workers in labor-shortage sectors such as industry, personal services and the hotel industry. Olivier Dussopt, France's Minister of Labor, stressed the importance of foreign workers in certain professions, where their absence would make the situation very difficult. The Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie (Umih) and Fepem supported the measure, while other employers' organizations remained cautious or silent, avoiding an overly politicized subject.

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Initial proposal for article 3

Article 3 provided for an important change in the regularization of undocumented workers. Unlike the Valls circular of 2012, which already allowed regularization subject to conditions, article 3 offered workers the possibility of initiating the regularization process themselves, without depending on their employer. This independence is intended to counter the abuses of certain employers who take advantage of the vulnerability of their irregular workforce. MP Marc Ferracci underlined the heterogeneous application of the Valls circular across the country.

Modification and final adoption of the text

However, in the face of concerns about a possible "air pocket" and following parliamentary discussions, article 3 has been deleted. The bill finally passed on December 19 authorizes short-term undocumented workers to apply for a "temporary worker" or "employee" residence permit themselves, without going through their employer. The criteria are 12 months' employment in the last 24 months and three years' residence in France. Prefects have discretionary powers in granting these permits, and this measure is planned on an experimental basis until the end of 2026. The initial proposal for automatic issuance of residence permits for these professions and immediate access to work for certain asylum seekers has been withdrawn.

Reactions and expectations

This change has prompted mixed reactions. While some employer organizations see the text as an opportunity to alleviate labor shortages, union figures such as Sophie Binet of the CGT consider it insufficient and are calling for mobilization against its application.

This evolution of the bill is indicative of the tensions and compromises involved in managing economic immigration in France. The withdrawal of article 3 and subsequent amendments reflect a cautious approach, seeking to balance economic needs with political concerns. However, the absence of a more automatic regularization process and the discretion left to prefects could limit the law's impact on improving working conditions and reducing labor shortages in the sectors concerned.

Regularization of undocumented workers in high-pressure sectors

Visit new 2024 law relating to immigration in France brings a radical change by introducing the regularization of undocumented workers in shortage occupations. This measure is specifically aimed at sectors suffering from labor shortages, such as construction, catering and nursing. The criteria for regularization are precise: residence in France for at least three years and paid employment for at least 12 of the last 24 months.

This initiative is a pragmatic response to the country's economic needs, recognizing the contribution made by foreign workers in certain sectors priorities. On the one hand, it legalizes the situation of many people, giving them greater job security and better access to social services. On the other hand, this measure could help fill gaps in sectors essential to the French economy.

However, this regularization is limited in time, as it is defined as an "experiment" until the end of 2026. This temporary nature raises the question of whether this solution can be maintained for undocumented workers and sectors in need of workers. It also excludes foreigners who have already been sanctioned, which limits its accessibility.

Moreover, there is a risk that the measure will be perceived as a means of alleviating labor shortages without resolving the underlying structural problems, particularly with regard to working conditions and working hours. remuneration in these professions. It could also provoke a debate on the balance between immigration management and labor market needs.

Reinstatement of the offence of illegal residence

The new law reintroduces the offence of illegal residence, a measure that was abolished in 2012. This reinstatement means that a foreigner residing in France without a valid visa, or with an expired visa, will now be liable to a fine of 3,750 euros and a complementary penalty of banishment from French territory for up to three years. This move is part of a stricter approach to the fight against illegal immigration, aimed at stepping up controls and sanctions against illegal immigrants.

The reinstatement of this offence represents a tightening of policy towards illegal immigration. By reintroducing criminal sanctions, the government is demonstrating a clear desire to deter and more rigorously regulate migratory flows. This can be seen as a way of reinforcing national sovereignty and addressing public safety concerns.

But the decision is also a source of concern and criticism. Opponents point to the risk of stigmatization and further marginalization of illegal immigrants. They are also concerned about the humanitarian and social impact of such sanctions, particularly on the most vulnerable, such as asylum seekers whose applications are still being processed or who may not have the means to pay the fine.

On another level, the provision in question risks creating divergences with European standards and directives on human rights and the treatment of immigrants. Increased repression of irregular immigration could also push migrants into even more precarious situations, making them more likely to fall into the hands of clandestine networks, or to live in constant fear of detection and punishment.

Tougher conditions for family reunification

The news law 2024 on immigration considerably tightens the conditions for family reunification. The reform increases from 18 to 24 months the length of stay required for a foreigner residing in France to bring in his or her family. It also lays down stricter conditions, such as raising the minimum age of the spouse from 18 to 21. Applicants must also prove that they have "stable, regular and sufficient" financial resources, as well as health insurance. These changes are aimed at tightening control over family immigration and ensuring better integration and greater financial autonomy for people joining their loved ones in France.

The tightening of conditions for family reunification can be interpreted as an attempt to moderate immigration to France by making the process more selective and demanding. By requiring stricter financial conditions and a longer stay before applying for family reunification, the government seems intent on ensuring that immigrants have the means to support their families and facilitate their integration.

However, this measure may be perceived as a major obstacle for immigrant families. Critics point out that stricter rules could have negative consequences for family cohesion and the well-being of immigrants, by prolonging family separations and adding financial and bureaucratic constraints. This approach may also be perceived as discriminatory, particularly for low-income workers or people from less developed countries, for whom it may be more difficult to meet the required financial and housing criteria.

This policy could give rise to legal challenges, particularly with regard to respect for human rights and the principles of family reunification upheld by various international conventions and European Union directives.

Restrictions on access to social assistance

France's immigration law severely restricts access to the French market. of foreign nationals to social benefits. To qualify for certain benefits, such as family allowances, personalized housing assistance (APL) and personalized autonomy allowance, foreign nationals will now have to prove a longer period of residence in France. This period is set at five years for people with no professional activity, while it is reduced to 30 months for those with a job. For APL, the residency requirement is five years for non-workers and just three months for others. These new rules do not apply to foreign students, refugees, stateless persons and holders of long-term resident cards.

The introduction of these restrictions reflects a radical shift in French social policy, towards greater selectivity in the allocation of benefits. By linking access to social benefits to length of residence and employment status, the government appears to be pursuing a dual objective: encouraging the economic integration of immigrants and ensuring better management of public resources.

Changes to land-use planning rules

Until now, a child born in France of foreign parents was automatically granted French nationality at the age of 18, provided he or she had lived in France for at least 5 years after the age of 11. The new law modifies this automatic granting: children born in France of foreign parents must now explicitly express their wish to acquire French nationality between the ages of 16 and 18. What's more, if they are convicted of a crime, they will lose the right to acquire French nationality.

By requiring a proactive approach on the part of people born in France of foreign parents, the government is setting up a more demanding and selective process for acquiring nationality. This measure can be seen as an attempt to ensure more complete integration and conscious adherence to the values of the French Republic.

However, this change raises fundamental questions about the identity, integration and rights of children born in France to foreign parents. The requirement for a motivation-based approach may create obstacles for some young people, particularly those who, for various reasons, are unable to undertake this process within the allotted timeframe. This could lead to an increase in the number of people living in France without French nationality, with consequences for their access to civil rights, employment and social services.

Added to this is the fact that by linking the acquisition of French nationality to the existence of a criminal record, the law introduces a problematic distinction between citizens according to their origin, which can be perceived as a form of discrimination and fuel debates on equity and inclusion.

Introduction of migration quotas

As part of the France's new 2024 immigration lawthe introduction of migration quotas. This provision aims to cap the number of foreigners admitted to French territory for a three-year period, with the exception of asylum seekers. Although considered unconstitutional by some, notably in the presidential camp, this measure was incorporated into the final text after negotiations. It is also accompanied by the introduction of an annual debate on immigration in Parliament.

Deposit for foreign students

Visit new law introduces a new scheme for foreign students: the introduction of a "return guarantee". This measure requires foreign students to deposit a sum of money, the amount of which will be set by decree, as a guarantee for obtaining a first residence permit in France. This deposit is to be returned to the student, except in the event of non-compliance with a deportation order. It should be noted that students whose income is too low, or whose academic record is judged to be excellent, may be exempted from this obligation.

State Medical Aid (AME) to be maintained but reformed

The law maintains the Aide Médicale d'Etat (AME), while announcing a future reform of this system. The AME, which provides 100% coverage of medical care for illegal immigrants, has been the subject of intense debate. Although its abolition was initially envisaged, it was decided to retain this program, with modifications planned from 2024 onwards. These modifications will probably aim to revise the conditions of access and management of the AME, in a context where the government is seeking to balance humanitarian needs with budgetary constraints.

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2 Responses

  1. Ousmane Diop says:

    Thank you very much for the information

  2. Abdoulaye adoum soumaïne says:

    Thank you very much for the information

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