In 2021, France received 278 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 20% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 22.5% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 19.4% labour migrants, 34.9% family members (including accompanying family) and 13.4% humanitarian migrants. Around 85 000 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 23 000 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 308 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, similarly to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Morocco registered the strongest increase (+4 700) and Italy the largest decrease (-1900) in flows to France compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 33%, to reach around 138 000. The majority of applicants came from Afghanistan (23 000), Bangladesh (11 000) and Türkiye (10 000). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Afghanistan (+6 600) and the largest decrease nationals of Comoros (-1 100). Of the 130 000 decisions taken in 2022, 28% were positive.

Emigration of French citizens to OECD countries increased by 20% in 2021, to 100 000. Approximately 15% of this group migrated to Switzerland, 13% to Spain and 13% to Canada.

The French Ministry of the Interior updated the deployment schedule for the Digital Administration for Foreign Nationals in France (ANEF) on 14 February 2022. The online portal is now open to travel documents, beneficiaries of international protection, multi-annual “seasonal worker” residence permits, and residence permits for family reasons. The list of eligible residence permits has been further extended in March 2023.

Regarding international protection, France continued to implement the National Scheme for the Reception of Asylum Seekers and integration of Refugees (SNADAR) in response to difficulties with the availability of accommodation, through a regional orientation scheme.

In 2022, France recognised the effective integration of legally residing foreign nationals as a public policy priority and defined five priority areas of intervention: integration through employment, special attention to BIPs and foreign women, involvement of civil society, deepening the dynamics of “integration territories” with local authorities and co-ordination of public services and operators’ actions. On 13 July 2022, the Minister of Interior initiated the second phase of the deployment of the global and individualised support programme for beneficiaries of international protection, called AGIR. This programme aims to provide systematic support for employment, housing and access to public services. AGIR is being rolled out in three stages: in 2022, the programme was rolled out in 27 departments in metropolitan France; in 2023 a new wave of deployment started in 25 new departments; and by 2024 the aim is to roll out the programme nationwide.

Various components of the Republican Integration Contract (CIR) have been overhauled to improve the efficiency of the training provided (mainly language and civic training). From 4 May 2022, all foreign nationals who have signed a CIR and are applying for a multi-annual residence permit must sign an undertaking to respect the principles of the French Republic.

Before 2022, a language test determined whether the individual had achieved the A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Since 2022, the assessment has become more precise, ranging from infra-A1 to B1 levels. If the language level is below A1, compulsory language training is prescribed. For individuals at A1 or A2 levels, additional training is offered to progress towards higher CEFR levels.

Before 1 January 2022, only A1 level certifications issued by an internationally recognised organisation was offered to signatories of the CIR. Now, the OFII also funds A2 or B1 level certifications.

On 1 February 2023, the French Government presented a bill, titled “Controlling immigration while improving integration”. The 27-article bill aims, inter alia, to simplify immigration litigation, expedite the asylum process, provide regularisation options for undocumented workers, increase removal for those posing a serious threat to public order, require a minimum level of French proficiency for multi-year residence permits, allow mandatory fingerprinting, tighten residency renewal requirements, and prohibit administrative detention of minors under 16. The bill was presented to the Senate in February 2023. The plenary session for the examination of the bill, originally scheduled for 28 March 2023, has been postponed by the government.

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