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France should send home more illegal immigrants, says report

Up to 1,800 people lived in the camp at the Porte d'Aubervilliers in northern Paris that was dismantled on 28 January 2020.
Up to 1,800 people lived in the camp at the Porte d'Aubervilliers in northern Paris that was dismantled on 28 January 2020. AFP/Philippe Lopez
2 min

A new report by the national auditor has recommended that France "modernise" its immigration policy and increase the number of deportations of illegal immigrants, saying it could learn from Canada’s immigration system.


The Cour des Comptes (in its role as an auditor of government action) says France’s immigration system needs an update. 

The report examines the government’s efforts to ensure controlled immigration, respect the right of asylum and foster the integration of immigrants already living in France.

It concludes there is a need for “more realistic and tangible objectives”.

Asylum applications

The time frame for registering asylum applications set by the government has, for some years, been tighter than the legally binding time frame, according to the authors of the report.

The auditors said the government had deliberately shortened the registration time limit in the belief that a speedier processing of asylum applications would deter unfounded claims for asylum.

But the report singles out the so-called "accelerated applications" which are supposed to be processed within 15 days but in reality can take 121 days.

Expulsion of illegal immigrants

The audit judged the government’s attempts to send illegal immigrants home as “not very effective” and suggests “the necessary money and resources” must be made available “to increase the number of assisted departures of illegal immigrants”.

France receives fewer legal immigrants than other major western countries, says the report, which is critical of what it judges to be unnecessary bureaucracy for immigrants.

The auditor notes that in 2018, of immigrants granted residency in France, 75 percent were given the right to remain for one year but nearly all of those who then applied for an extension were successful.

To improve the system, the Cour des Comptes recommended more frequently granting residency rights for longer periods and allowing automatic extensions when reasonable. 


The report advocates a more selective immigration system, intended to fill gaps in the job market, and looks to the Canadian system as a model.

It proposes experimenting with a quota system to allow greater numbers of people to fill jobs in sectors in need.

Interior Miniser Christophe Castaner gave a lukewarm response to the idea, suggesting its recommendations were more suited to a country with serious shortages of labour.

“That is not the situation here. In France, we need to ensure there is work for those already living here, whether they are French or foreign”, he asserted.


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