Macron introduces immigration bill

28 Feb 18

FRANCE

IMPACT – MEDIUM

French President Emmanuel Macron has introduced new immigration legislation, setting the stage for a parliamentary debate this spring that could reshape the country’s policies on high-skilled migrants and asylum seekers.

The legislation’s proposals on asylum have dominated much of the debate so far, but the bill contains a number of provisions to enhance France’s attractiveness for high-skilled migrants, especially for researchers, students and recent graduates. The legislation would:

  • Expand the “Talent Passport” program, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and researchers. The four-year Talent Passport residence permits would be available to new categories of migrants, including employees of French Tech Visa program companies. Additionally, a special Talent Passport category for qualifying researchers and students would be introduced to allow for greater intra-Europe mobility, implementing other mandatory provisions related to the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing (Directive 2016/801).
  • Establish new residence permits for university students and graduates seeking to find a job or create a business. These permits would be available in certain cases where foreign nationals (1) hold the equivalent of a master’s degree, (2) intend to complete professional training, or (3) present a plan for a start-up company in an area related to their field of expertise.
  • Amend France’s rules for intracorporate transfers. A cooling-off period of six months would be established, requiring foreign nationals to leave France for at least six months upon the expiration of their EU ICT card. Additionally, a new short-term mobility employer notification system would be implemented for holders of EU ICT cards issued by another EU member state.

The bill’s most controversial portions relate to changes Macron would make to France’s policies for asylum seekers. The legislation would shorten the length of time a migrant has to apply for asylum, reduce the time applicants have to appeal rejected asylum petitions, speed up processing time for asylum applications and increase the amount of time some migrants can be held in administrative detention before deportation. The bill would also punish illegal entrants into France with fines and up to one year of imprisonment.

BAL Analysis: On the whole, the legislation is designed to provide new incentives for high-skilled workers, tighten up regulations on asylum and reduce irregular immigration. While the legislation in its current form provides insight into Macron’s position on key issues, members of parliament will have the opportunity to introduce amendments, and the legislation could change significantly before it is finalized. BAL will continue following developments in France and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in France. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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