France will introduce new point-based skilled immigrant program (France Visa), will come to force by summer 2020. French government has taken a U-turn in the immigration debate. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that the bill will be presented to the Cabinet this Wednesday. Later, the National Assembly will debate on scoring system, similar to Canada. Immigration quotas will be issued on qualifications not by country of origin. “We will set the number of people by occupation and area”, said Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud on Tuesday.
Immigration quotas will be issued on qualification basis
Odds are not a taboo topic: “France wants to recruit immigrants as needed. This is a new approach, comparable to Canada and Australia”, said Penicaud. The specialists will receive work visas, for the specific time period. In France, there is a shortage of technical draftsmen, car mechanics, carpenters and roofers. Domestic helpers and veterinarians are also among the shortage occupations. Penicaud spoke of about 33,000 possible immigrants per year. The lists of shortage occupations will be updated every year.
“Around 33,000 immigrants will be given France Visa per year and the lists of shortage occupations will be updated every year”
Quotas have been discussed in France for years. In the 2017 presidential campaign, the option was among the projects of the right-wing candidate Francois Fillon. Emmanuel Macron rejected quotas at that time. “I do not believe in quota policy, because we can not guarantee that the quotas will be respected”, he said in March 2017.
In a detailed interview with the national-conservative monthly magazine “Valeurs Actuelles”, Macron has explained the reasons for his change of mind. France was deeply divided, in several quarters with a high proportion of immigrants threatened a “secession” of the majority society. France could no longer accept illegal immigrants, those never returned to their countries of origin.
President Macron makes the U-turn in France Visa policy
Macron gave a concrete example from last year: “We have taken 3289 Malians who have no right to stay, but only 260 repatriations were completed”. That was not acceptable, so he had appointed a special ambassador, negotiating with the countries of origin. The numbers for the current year are much better. He threatened to stop issuing visas, the countries of origin should not cooperate. At the same time France needs immigration.