France

 

2014

  • Rank: 17 out of 38
  • MIPEX Score: 54
  • LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY 54
  • FAMILY REUNION 51
  • EDUCATION 36
  • HEALTH 50
  • POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 53
  • PERMANENT RESIDENCE 48
  • ACCESS TO NATIONALITY 61
  • ANTI-DISCRIMINATION 77

Key Findings

Changes in context

  • One of Europe’s oldest countries of immigration, with around 1/4 with immigrant background (large 2nd generation and average-sized foreign-born population)
  • 2/3 of foreign-born from outside EU and 90% of these from low-or-medium-developed countries
  • Non-EU-born are mostly low (40%) or medium (31%) educated, though 5% increase in share of university-educated in recent years
  • 2012 presidential and legislative elections see socialist and left-wing government replace right-wing parties, though increasing share of votes for far-right populist National Front party
  • Sizeable minority of public hold anti-immigrant attitudes in FR as in the average European country 

Key Common Statistics

Country of net migration since:% Non-EU citizens% Foreign-born% Non-EU of foreign-born% Non-EU university-educated % from low or medium-developed (HDI) country
<1950s4.1%11.5%72%29%90%
UN 2010 data in 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013

Changes in policy

Little has changed in FR's integration policies from the previous conservative government to the current socialist government, rising +1 on the 100-point MIPEX scale. Before the elections, the previous government politicised FR's traditional path to FR citizenship, following the so-called Loi Besson/Guéant (2011-334). This was the last of the 5 immigration reforms in 9 years. Since 2012, newcomers should benefit from equal housing rights, better targeted education support for their children, the right to family reunion for LGBT married couples, clearer requirements for FR citizenship and greater commitments to promote equality through the public service. The new government has yet to deliver on its promises of greater support for all newcomers to learn FR and for non-discrimination in schools, local voting rights, a new multiannual permit and clearer path to permanent residence as well as a less discretionary procedure for naturalisation.

Conclusions and recommendations

FR schools and health services are inclusive but slow to adapt targeted measures to guarantee equal access in practice, although its strong anti-discrimination laws are starting to help victims of discrimination take their 1st step in the long path to access justice. While pilots are sometimes used to test out new ideas, robust scientific evaluations are often missing to determine just how effective new policies are to improve integration outcomes in practice. 

FR restricts and delays labour market integration more than most countries, with an estimated 5.3 million jobs 'closed' to non-EU immigrants and few accessing education or training in FR. FR also severely restricts and delays family reunion, with non-EU citizens less likely to reunite with their family in FR than in most European countries. These delays put newcomers on an unequal footing in FR, with potentially negative long-term effects on many integration outcomes. Non-EU residents are also often insecure in their status. Permanent residence is increasingly the exception rather than the rule for immigrants, even after 5 years settled in FR. 

From a democratic perspective, with an estimated 2.2 million non-EU citizen adults disenfranchised in elections, FR can avoid becoming an exclusive democracy by facilitating naturalisation and/or expanding voting rights, following several international reform trends. From family reunion to long-term residence and citizenship, FR's new requirements over the past decade demand more of its non-EU immigrants than most countries do, while doing less to support them to succeed. This legal approach does not recognise immigrants' real progress and efforts to participate to the best of their abilities and local circumstances.

Policy Recommendations from France terre d'asile

  • Guarantee that every newcomer receives the opportunity for a formal recognition of their foreign degree and/or skills/experience, and receives at least language training adapted to their needs and their career goal
  • Secure long-term residence (10-year-card) for all immigrants with 5 years' legal residence
  • Increase non-EU immigrants' civic and electoral participation by delivering on the promised local right to vote and by increasing the naturalisation rate
  • Actively inform and encourage immigrants to become citizens when they meet the requirements by making the criteria clear and legally transparent and by launching large-scale campaigns

You can download the full list of Policy Recomendations by France terre d'asile in English and in French

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POLICIES - SUMMARY

  • LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 23 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      45%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      10%
  • FAMILY REUNION

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 30 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      5%
    • Outcome Indicators

      1
  • EDUCATION

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 21 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      15%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      46%
  • HEALTH

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 17 of 38
  • POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 17 of 38
    • Real Beneficiaries

      59%
    • Real Beneficiaries

      0%
  • PERMANENT RESIDENCE

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 36 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      86%
    • Outcome Indicators

      69%
  • ACCESS TO NATIONALITY

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 11 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      85%
    • Outcome Indicators

      3%
  • ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

    Score:

    France
    vs.
    MIPEX 38
    • 11 of 38
    • Potential Beneficiaries

      5%
    • Outcome Indicators

      135

Labour Market Mobility

Key Findings

More so than most developed countries, FR is missing out on its non-EU residents’ full economic potential and risks long-term exclusion; Labour market restrictions are likely to be major factors keeping almost 1/2 of non-EU citizens out of employment and training and keeping immigrants more often in jobs below their qualifications or below the poverty line

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants could be employed?

The potential needs for labour market integration are much greater in FR than in most European countries. According to 2011/2 estimates, nearly 1/2 of working-age non-EU citizens in FR are not in employment, education or training. These levels are almost as high in GR and ES and only higher in BE and HR. In FR, the levels are slightly higher for all types of non-EU citizens than in the average European country. Around 1/3 of working-age non-EU men and high-educated women are not in employment, education or training, while the numbers rise to more than half of non-EU women, especially low-educated women (2/3).

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?

Ranking 23rd out of 38, FR delays and discourages the labour market mobility of non-EU immigrants more than all other Western European countries (except IE) and all traditional countries of immigration. Modest improvements have been made to targeted support and workers' rights (+6 since 2007 in this MIPEX area). These improvements do not address the fundamental legal obstacles for non-EU residents to access jobs, education, training and the recognition of their foreign qualifications. For example, access to unemployment and social benefits is useful but usually not sufficient to help newcomers use and develop their professional skills and networks in the country. Similarly, targeted support (e.g. the Assessment of Professional Skills) may end up orienting newcomers to training that they cannot access, to recognition procedures that are weak or missing and to shortage jobs that are low-paid and unrelated to the skills and qualifications. Unlike FR, most other European and non-European countries, especially those attracting labour migration, give legal immigrants full access to the private sector, self-employment and greater access to the public sector, recognition procedures and study grants. 

Dimension 1: Access to labour market

  • Outdated legislation closes off more jobs and training/recognition opportunities to them in FR than in almost any other developed country, ranking 33rd out of 38 tied with LU and only less restrictive than CY, SK, TU
  • Immigrants with non-EU citizenship/degrees are denied legal access to more jobs than in all other countries: Past estimates of around 5.3m 'closed' jobs (or 21% of all jobs in FR) including most public sector jobs (4.5 million), 50 professions in the private sector and from starting a business in many regulated professions
  • These closed-off sectors for immigrants have their origins in the late 19th century and 1930s and rarely opened up over time (restrictions removed for 450,000 jobs by RATP/EDF-GDF/Air France from 2001-3)
  • FR falls 40 points below the international average on access, as most countries grant equal access to private sector jobs, self-employment and, to some extent, the public sector (equal access in 15 countries, e.g. CA/NZ/US/UK, DK/NO/SE, PT/ES)
  • Reforms open access with the aim to speed up labour market integration and end 'enforced' inactivity and brain waste (e.g. recent openings in AT, GR, ES)

Dimension 2: Access to general support

  • Ranking 19th out of 38, FR only goes halfway to open general support for immigrants to use and develop their skills on the labour market (see e.g. CA, DE, Benelux, Nordics)
  • While non-EU newcomers can access general employment services, training, and skill validations, many cannot access the procedures and study grants that they need to obtain the relevant FR degree or a formal recognition of their non-EU degree
  • All legal residents with ≥3 years' of domestic or foreign professional experience have the right to Validation of Acquired Experiences (VAE), but the procedure is long (min 1 year), demanding and sometimes difficult to recognise with family life 
  • In contrast, the procedure to recognise non-EU qualifications can be long, costly and even impossible in some sectors (instead, see equal and facilitated procedures in 17 countries, e.g. AU, CA, DE, NL, SE, UK)
  • Non-EU citizens can access training and higher education, but most without the study grants that FR citizens can use when in need (exceptions only for beneficiaries of international protection and certain international students, see instead NO and several Southern European countries)

Dimension 3: Targeted support

  •  Targeted support is only halfway favourable for labour market integration, behind the Nordics, DE, AU, NZ and generally a weakness in Europe
  • Previous government focused on targeted measures based on some pilots (e.g. framework agreements with specific sectors to orient newcomers and immigrant women to shortage jobs) 
  • Since 2007, newcomers who sign an Integration and Welcoming Contract (CAI) get a basic assessment and orientation to general employment support
  • Countries with more comprehensive policies open general access as well as stronger targeted support (e.g. work-specific language courses, facilitated recognition procedures and bridging programmes also for high-skilled)

Dimension 4: Workers' rights

  • Once non-EU immigrants find jobs, they enjoy generally the same rights as workers in the same job in FR, as in 12 other MIPEX countries
  • All legal residents are now also guaranteed equal access to housing after a 2007 restriction was removed by Decree 73 of 15 March 2010 and Decree 36 of 13 February 2013
  • Non-EU residents and FR citizens should enjoy the same working conditions and social safety net as FR citizens 
  • The one exception for non-humanitarian temporary residents is access to the guaranteed minimum income (RSA) within the 1st five years
  • France is also the only MIPEX country to deny the equal right of workers' representation since 2004 when non-EU citizens lost the right to be elected to ‘Prud’homme’ Councils and Chambers of Commerce and Professions

Policy Box

The 2007 Hortefeux Law expanded the ‘Assessment of Professional Skills’ for newcomers, based on evaluations of a previous programme and indicators showing foreigners’ high unemployment rates. The Integration Office and Employment Office focus on ‘accessible’ jobs for immigrants, especially sectors with manpower shortages, while government renewed 2 agreements with the National Agency of Personal Services and Federation in Transport and Logistics. This initial assessment does not amount to an official recognition of their skills or qualifications (see the procedures under general support).

Real beneficiaries

Are immigrants acquiring new skills?

Very few working-age non-EU men and women are accessing adult education and training in FR, even fewer than on average in similar European countries. While only 17% were recently enrolled in education or training on averae in the EU, the rate was only around 10% for men and women in FR. Uptake was negligibly higher among women than men and very low for low-educated women (5%) and men (2%). The gap was also striking in access for low vs. university-educated men and women (around 21%) in FR, as in only a few other countries (AT/DE/CH, IT). Non-EU adults' uptake was twice as high in CH and 3 or more times as high in the Nordics, NL and UK. To find a new job, around half of unemployed working-age non-EU citizens in FR were able to count on the support of unemployment benefits. Access to unemployment benefits was slightly lower for women (46%) then men (60%). EU research also finds that immigrants in FR are no more likely to use social, unemployment or family benefits than French people in similar circumstances.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants find skilled and well-paid jobs?

  • Average employment rate for EU but little recent GDP growth over past decade
  • ≥2% average GDP growth since 2010 in TU, KR, Baltics, PL/SK, DE/LU/CH, MT, SE, AU/CA/NZ/US, but negative growth in Southern Europe (HR, CY, CZ, IT, SI, ES, PT)
  • Some of the most rigid employment protection legislation in Europe (similar to BE) 
  • Large numbers coming with some exposure to FR language before immigration
  • Large minority of non-EU-born have their degree from FR
  • Increasing numbers coming with temporary work or study-to-work permits are small compared to FR's large settled non-EU resident population

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?

While the labour market needs and delays are clear for certain non-EU citizens, especially newcomers, the results are persisting inequalities not in terms of immigrants' employment rates, but the quality of their employment for their integration. Immigrants see improvements in their employment rates over time. In FR as on average in the EU, the long-settled non-EU-born (10+ years' stay) are only 10% less likely to have a job than non-immigrants with the same level of education (high or low-educated). The same is true for high-educated men and women. For example, around 50% of the low-educated non-EU and FR-born have a job, as do the vast majority of the university-educated (75% for non-EU-born and 82.5% for FR-born). Employment rates are nearly the same for non-EU and FR-born low-educated men (around 60%). The major gap emerges for low-educated non-EU women who are 20% less likely to have a job than low-educated FR women (40% vs. 50%). In terms of employment quality, the long-settled with university degrees are around 50% more likely to have jobs below their degree level (25-30% of men and women). Low-educated non-EU-born workers are nearly 3 times as likely to experience in-work poverty, meaning that their wage and benefits are not enough to fully escape poverty. 

Family Reunion

Key Findings

For the small number of transnational couples, FR's comparatively restrictive conditions are delaying and discouraging many to apply: non-EU families are less likely to reunite in FR than in most other European countries

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants are potentially living in transnational couples?

The potential number of non-EU residents separated from their spouse/partner is similar in France to many other European countries (e.g. AT, CZ, GR, IE, IT). According to 2011/2 estimates, 4.7% of non-EU citizen adults were likely to be living in an internationally separated couple, and thus one type of potential sponsors for family reunion.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants reunite with family?

FR family reunion policies are sometimes presented as the most ‘liberal’ in Europe, with the government only following the average conditions. Actually FR ranks 30th out of 38, meaning families have better legal opportunities in most other countries to live together as the starting point for their integration. Policies are more family-friendly in AU/CA/NZ/US, IT/ES/PT, Nordics, even DE and the Benelux. 2013's opening to same-sex married couples was a small change in this restrictive and potentially discretionary system. With the 2nd most restrictive requirements in the developed world, FR law delays and restricts family reunion more than most countries. A similar approach to family reunion is taken in a few Western European countries, such as AT, DK, CH, UK, where policies are highly politicised and regularly changed. Delaying family reunion may undermine the long-term integration outcomes of both children and their parents. 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • Non-EU residents still face slightly restricted definitions of their family under immigration law in FR, also ranked 30th 
  • Same-sex married couples are now treated the same as opposite-sex couples under FR immigration law (+3 points in 2013), similar to 25 out of the 38 countries (also recently AT, IE, MT, US)
  • Civil partners (Pacs) can only apply if they already lived together ≥1 year in FR, with a few exceptions (see greater options for civil partners abroad in 17 other countries, e.g. Benelux, Nordics, PT/ES, CA/NZ, IE/UK) 
  • FR extended in 2006 from 12-to-18 months and delayed family's reunion and integration more than 24 other countries (after 1 year in 10 or immediately in 14)
  • No entitlement for adult children or parents/grandparents, unlike in 25 countries (e.g. LU, NO/SE, IT/PT/ES)

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • No other developed country follows FR in imposing so many job, language and integration requirements for family reunion, with the one recent exception of UK as part of the new government's migration cap
  • Non-EU families face the 2nd most restrictive conditions in the developed world since the 2007 Hortefeux Law added and restricted the conditions: employment (required in slight minority of 15 other countries), demanding housing rules (5 others), integration measures both pre- (7 others) and post-departure (9 others) 
  • FR's free pre-departure courses with exemptions in cases of vulnerability and inaccessibility may slightly help adult family abroad to learn FR and republican values. Still, CAI integration courses in France may be more successful because those abroad may not be as cost-effective, professional or relevant (see box)
  • Sizeable numbers of family migrants who sign CAI are not entitled to enough free courses to learn FR (only if authorities deem it necessary), while e-learning and quality public learning materials are also lacking (see DE, Nordics, AU/CA/NZ)
  • In recent years, non-EU citizens have had to pay more to get or renewal their permits (currently 260€, relatively high by international standards, lower in BE, DE, IT, LU, ES)

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • Chances are only slightly good that families will be granted the right to reunite when they meet all the cumbersome criteria because of the discretion in the procedures in FR as in most countries
  • Authorities can reject applications and withdraw permits on vague grounds and suspicions of fraud (e.g. marriages of convenience and 'grey marriages'), which are sometimes difficult and time-consuming for families to disprove 
  • In these cases, families may have to appeal decisions at 1st instance to win the right to be treated as a family and reunited in FR

Dimension 4: Rights associated

  • Like 14 other countries, FR promotes gender equality and integration by granting reunited spouses and children the same rights as their sponsor and clear protections when necessary in their family life
  • Reunited families have same socio-economic rights as their sponsor in FR as in 22 other countries
  • Spouses and adult children can be independent of their sponsor's residence after 3 years and under certain conditions, with greater provisions in case of death or violence   
  • The 2011-672 law clarified the path to 'private life and family' permit for victims of domestic abuse 

Policy Box

France has organised pre-departure language and civic courses since 2007. Working-age family members without any knowledge of French and its civic values are required to attend a free language course of maximum two months (180 hours) and/or a half-day civic orientation course. These courses are organised by local offices of the French Immigration and Integration Office and other locally accredited bodies. If these courses are inaccessible for certain family members, exemptions exist in case of physical insecurity, disability, and financial or professional obstacles. After attendance of the course, participants’ results will determine whether or not they must take additional language courses in France. Supporters in 2007 justified these requirements citing high migrant unemployment rates, options in EU law and the NL policy. They presented FR language and republican values as ‘pre-requisites’ to improve integration outcomes. However, evaluations in other countries found that pre-departure requirements delay family reunion, but do not improve their language, employment or education outcomes over the long-term. The FR pre-departure test may be removed based on the government’s current draft proposals for reform.

Real beneficiaries

Are families reuniting?

Around 37,158 family members reunited with a non-EU sponsor. 43% of newly arrived immigrants in FR came for family reasons, meaning that the slight majority of newly arrived immigrants came for work, study or other reasons. The percentage of newly arrived immigrants coming to reunite with a non-EU sponsor is even smaller, only 17.5%. The numbers of newly arrived non-EU families have remained rather stable in FR and the EU. The numbers  in FR decreased from 32,000 in 2008 to between 26,000-30,000 during the period of 2010-2012. Fewer non-EU families reunite in FR than 5 other EU countries: IT, UK, ES, DE, SE. 
Non-EU families are very diverse, coming from all over the globe. For example, the major countries of origin for FR only account for 50% of families reuniting with non-EU citizens in 2013 (15% MO, 14% DZ, 7% TN, 7% TU, 6% CN). 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?

  • Many from low-to-medium developed countries and thus more likely to reunite 
  • Humanitarian migrants likely to stay and need family reunion
  • Most with the eligible or permanent permits to sponsor
  • Restricted and rigid labour market and lower incomes/wages for non-EU citizens

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants reunite with family?

For years, non-EU families have been less likely to reunite in FR than in most other European countries. FR has one of the lowest non-EU family reunion rates in Western Europe, alongside only AT and DE, with IE far below. On average, only 1.4 family members arrives every year for every 100 non-EU residents in FR. Non-EU family reunion rates have remained very low in FR in recent years, down to 1.0-1.2 between 2009 and 2012 and only up to 1.3 in 2008 or 1.4 in 2013. FR's restrictive requirements are perhaps the major factor keeping these families apart, as family reunion is much more common in countries with inclusive policies and less common in countries such as AT, CY, DE, GR, IE, MT. While a family's choice to reunite is also driven by other individual and contextual factors, making policies more restrictive, selective or discretionary can significantly delay or deter both family's reunion and integration, with disproportionate effects on the most vulnerable groups.

Education

Key Findings

Inequalities within FR education system for immigrant and other socially disadvantaged pupils

Potential Beneficiaries

How many pupils have immigrant parents?

According to 2012 PISA data, foreign-born children (i.e. first generation) made up around 5% of  all 15-year-old pupils in FR between 5-7% in most other Western European countries. This share of foreign-born pupils is much higher in traditional countries of immigration such as AU/CA/NZ. A sizeable share of pupils are 2nd generation in FR (10%), other Northwest European countries and the traditional countries of immigration.

Policy Indicators

Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?

FR schools have been slow to respond to the needs and opportunities brought by its sizeable number of 1st and 2nd generation pupils, with the appreciation of diversity missing from citizenship education. FR's relatively weak targeted support has slightly improved (+4 since 2012) but ranks only 21st, alongside new destinations just starting out (GR,IE,IT,ES) and other older destinations just catching up (e.g. AT, DE, CH).

Dimension 1: Access

  • All pupils, whatever their legal status, have an equal right to an education at all levels and to whatever general support exists for pupils from disadvantaged areas (e.g. ZEPs)
  • Rare among countries, FR little-known but well-trained CASNAVs assess and inform newcomer pupils 
  • Little else to target newcomers' access pre-primary, vocational and higher education (see Nordics and traditional countries of immigration)

Dimension 2: Targeting needs

  • Since 2010, 3 new government circulars have slightly improved France’s comparatively few and weak targeted support measures 
  • Circulars 2012-141, 142, and 143 reinforce the role of CASNAVs and the requirements for schools
  • Every pupil now clearly has the right to individualised needs-based support until they obtain academic fluency in French
  • A national evaluation tool will also help monitor these pupils’ progress
  • Schools still have wide discretion about the quality of their language courses for newcomers (CLINs). Moreover, this additional support often ends when the pupil enters the mainstream classroom
  • Most other established countries of immigration require the use of specially trained teachers, learning standards, and ongoing support (see instead DE, NL, PT, SE and US)
  • In other school systems, mainstreaming (e.g. AU, BE, CA, PT, SE) helps classroom teachers target specific needs while teaching all pupils to live and learn together in a diverse society

Dimension 3: New opportunities

  • FR misses out on most of the opportunities that immigrant pupils bring to the classroom
  • Some bilateral agreements still support the teaching of immigrant languages (LCOs) but mostly only to immigrant pupils
  • Initiative to 'open the school to parents', focused on newcomer parents learning FR and about the school system and republican values

Dimension 4: Intercultural education

  • Understanding diversity is not yet part of the curriculum, which largely dropped intercultural education in the 1980s (unlike in 34 of the 38 countries, only as weak in DK, HU, PL)
  • Instead, appreciation of diversity is, to some extent, a general priority for integration policy at national level
  • Local authorities are left the discretion on whether and how to adapt the school day and life to local diversity

Real beneficiaries

Are pupils with limited literacy getting remedial courses?

One potential indicator of immigrant pupils' access to targeted saupport is their uptake of extra out-of-school literacy courses, which comes from the OECD's 2012 PISA survey. Around half of low-literacy 1st and 2nd generation pupils in FR are benefiting from these extra courses. This share is slightly larger than for low-literacy non-immigrant pupils, possibly due to definitions of ZEPs, although this pattern is observed in most countries (e.g. BE, LU, NL, CH). The uptake of extra out-of-school literacy courses are higher for immigrant and non-immigrant pupils in most Nordic countries, English-speaking countries, and Southern Europe. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?

  • >50% of immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers are concentrated in disadvantaged schools in most Western European countries, with widest gaps in concentration of immigrant vs. non-immigrnat pupils with low-educated mothers in FR, BE, LU and several others
  • Above-average numbers of 1st/2nd generation speak FR at home (OECD average is 47%)
  • >25% of foreign-born pupils arrive after age 12 in FR, BE and several English-speaking countries
  • Relatively high % of GDP spent on education and long duration of compulsory education

Outcome indicators

How well are the children of immigrants achieving at school?

Although many more pupils with low-educated mothers end up achieving poorly in school in the FR compared to most countries, the gap between immigrant and non-immigrant pupils tend to disappear from one generation to the next in the US and the other English-speaking countries. Around 40% of non-immigrant 15-year-olds end up as math low-achievers, according to the 2012 PISA study. Foreign-born pupils are 70% more likely to be low-achievers. By the 2nd generation, pupils with low-educated immigrant mothers are only 20% more likely to be low-achievers than pupils with low-educated non-immigrant mothers. No systematic link emerges between targeted education policies and outcomes. The general policies and inequalities within the FR education system probably have a greater impact on the outcomes of migrant and other disadvantaged pupils than does FR's weak targeted support for immigrant pupils.

Health

Key Findings

FR does the most to make health services inclusive and accessible but very little to address migrant patients' specific needs

Policy Indicators

Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?

Scoring 50/100 and ranking 17th, the FR health system is inclusive to migrant patients but non-responsive to their specific health needs. Only FR, IS and JP adopt such an approach. These countries' health services are some of the most inclusive and accessible to migrant residents, but some of the least targeted to guarantee equal quality services in practice. Many countries are slightly weaker on migrants' entitlements and access but slightly further on adapting their health services and policies (see instead inclusive and responsive services in CH, AT, IT, Nordics, most English-speaking countries).

Click here to learn more about how MIPEX health was developed with IOM and EU’s COST/ADAPT network through ‘Equi-Health’ project and co-funded by European Commission’s DG SANTE. 

Dimension 1: Entitlements

  • FR, NL, SE and CH come closest to granting equal healthcare entitlements for all migrant residents and citizens
  • Same principles apply to FR citizens and legal residents
  • Asylum-seekers are also covered by universal sickness coverage (CMU) and can apply for complementary CMU
  • Low-income undocumented adults are covered by state medical aid (AME) with certain conditions, restrictions in coverage, but also some exceptions for vulnerable 'at risk' groups (pregnant women and people with infectious diseases)
  • Those falling outside the system can access emergency services and care in life-threatening situations as well as PASS services in certain locations (PASS since 1998 to avoid inappropriate emergency-room visits from uninsured low-income patients)

Dimension 2: Access policies

  • Most migrant patients can be well-informed and oriented to the proper health services in FR (see also JP, CH and IS)
  • Service-providers are informed of migrants' healthcare coverage and required to protect their privacy
  • Newcomers receive a 1st orientation to the health system as well as targeted websites (see www.lasantepourtous.com) and leaflets in 23 languages  
  • The level of information differs for legal migrants, asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants
  • Interpreters/mediators are available on an ad hoc basis (e.g. in Paris and 'Migrations Santé Alsace')

Dimension 3: Responsive services

  • As in most countries, the FR health system has only started to train practitioners to guarantee equal quality services for migrant patients 
  • Interpreters and training for staff are only available for practitioners on an ad hoc basis
  • A few specialised techniques are being developed to deal with sensitive issues (e.g. FGM, specific problems of asylum-seekers)

Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change

  • National policy plays no role in making services more responsive; Health is missing from national integration policy while migrant patients and stakeholders are missing from national health policies
  • Limited national data, research and evaluations on migrants' unmet health needs and experience of health services 

Political Participation

Key Findings

FR is promoting democratic participation over time, especially when immigrants can become FR citizens; Still, 2.2 million non-EU adults (or 4.2% of all adults) are disenfranchised in FR, one of a handful of major destination countries without local voting rights

Potential Beneficiaries

Who are disenfranchised from voting?

2.2 million non-EU adults (estimate based on aged 15+) are not FR citizens and thus were disenfranchised in FR's 2014 local elections. That's 4.2% of the population, one of the highest levels of disenfranchisement among developed democracies, similar to AT, CA, DE, GR, IT and US.

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?

While immigrant associations are supported and sometimes consulted by local authorities, FR is one of the few major destinations without the political will to extend local voting rights (similar movements and opposition in DE, IT, CA, US, see instead AU/NZ, ES, UK) 
These halfway policies rank 17th behind AU, NZ and many Northern European countries (Nordics, IE, BE, CH). Most other established destination countries like FR tend to facilitate both access to nationality and political rights for foreign residents. 

Dimension 1: Electoral rights

  • Local voting rights, which exist in 21 MIPEX countries, remain an unfulfilled promise for the past 30 years in FR (see box)
  • Non-EU citizens can vote locally in 21, stand as candidates 14 and vote regionally in 9, with the most common criteria being 5 years' stay (Nordics, Benelux), permanent residence (Central Europe, AU, KR, NZ, CH) or reciprocity for FR citizens in their country of origin (e.g. ES, PT, UK)
  • Voting rights were often long faught, hard won, but long-lasting (e.g. recently in BE and LU)
  • Once granted, voting rights in practice have little costs and none of the potentially negative side-effects often raised in debates (e.g. change of status quo politics, ethnic parties, greater foreign influence). Instead, voting rights boosts the democratic engagement of immigrants and the responsiveness of politicians to local needs 

Dimension 2: Political liberties

  • Non-EU citizens enjoy basic political liberties in FR as in all other Western European countries

Dimension 3: Consultative bodies

  • Consultative councils of foreign residents in major French cities (e.g. Paris, Grenoble, Nantes, Strasbourg, Toulouse) are favourable to inform and improve policy (see also immigrant-elected and led bodies e.g. BE VL, DK/FI, DE)
  • FR one of the few European countries (e.g. AT, GR, IE, IT, UK) with local but no national consultative council (see stronger examples in DE, LU, PT, ES, CH), although local FR councils have federated together (CofraCiR) to call for local voting rights

Dimension 4: Implementation policies

  • Immigrants are supported to form civil society associations through some types of financial support for civic participation
  • 6-hour civic training required of all newomers (under CAI) to learn about FR institutions and republican values
  • No active policy to inform and encourage immigrants to take up specific opportunities for civic/political participation (see policies in Nordics, IE, PT, US)

Policy Box

Local voting rights were promised by former president Mitterrand among his 110 proposals in the 1981 elections. This proposal was not taken up by subsequent FR presidents on the right. Former president Sarkozy endorsed voting rights as a ‘factor of integration’ in 2005, dropped it while President in 2008, and vehemently attacked it as a ‘communitarian risk’ during the 2012 elections. Current president François Hollande recommitted to this promise as number 50 of his proposals in the 2012 elections. after the 2014 local elections. However, he may not have the 3/5 of the Parliament or the majority of referendum voters needed for a constitutional amendment. The government has promised action before the end of this 5-year-period, probably in 2016. Immigrant associations are still actively campaigning for voting rights (www.oui-droitdevotedesetrangers.org, www.ldh-france.org/Pour-eux-pour-vous-pour-nous-Droit and 'sans voix' movement).

Real beneficiaries

How many non-EU immigrants are eligible to vote?

FR only reaches halfway towards inclusive democracy, as practiced in the Benelux and Nordic countries, NZ and PT. 1.8 million voters would be enfranchised under current FR proposals for passive local voting rights for non-EU citizens with 5+ years' residence, according to previous estimates. Since currently 0% of non-EU citizens are enfranchised in FR elections, naturalisation has been essential to keep FR from becoming an exclusive democracy: an estimated 60% of non-EU-born had naturalised as FR citizens by 2012. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become politically active?

  • Around half are university-educated in IE, UK, LU, BG, PL, EE
  • Rather high levels of civic engagement in FR
  • Large numbers coming with some exposure to FR language before immigration
  • Most long-settled in FR as long-established country of immigration
  • Large minority of non-EU-born have their degree from FR
  • Humanitarian migrants more likely to become civically active in the long-term

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants participating in political life?

While non-EU citizens and newcomers have limited opportunities to participate democratically, FR is generally promoting political participation over time. The long-settled non-EU-born (10+ years' residence) are only 10% less likely to participate politically than FR-born people. Data collected throughout the 2000s suggests that 45% of the long-settled non-EU born have recently taken part in some civic act (through a political party, association, petition, demonstration or contacting a politician), compared to 49% of FR-born people. The levels of political participation are similar for the university-educated (63%) but slight gaps emerge comparing low-educated (29% vs. 35%). These results are likely explained in part by immigrants' naturalisation, which boosts their electoral and broader political participation. 

The link between political participation policies and rates is probably not direct. Adding the right to vote to the above list of civic activities for non-EU citizens may also boost these levels, of political participation for certain non-EU citizens. It is clear that no trade-off exists between promoting political participation among foreigners and promoting naturalisation. Actually, countries with inclusive political participation policies tend to also have inclusive citizenship policies and higher naturalisation rates.

Permanent Residence

Key Findings

When the rule becomes the exception: Large numbers of newcomers may be unable to become permanent residents under some of the developed world's most restrictive eligibility rules and conditions, while many permanent residents may be unable to progress to become FR citizens

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become long-term residents?

An estimated 85% of male and female non-EU citizens have lived in FR for the required 5+ years to normally qualify for permanent residence (resident's card or 10-year-card), according to 2011/2 estimates. This is one of the highest levels of long-settled non-EU citizens in Europe (alongside AT, GR, IT, NL, ES, Baltics).

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?

To obtain more equal and secure rights to fully invest in their integration and participate in society, non-EU immigrants' path to become permanent residents is the most restrictive in Western Europe and the 3rd most internationally, with policies only weaker in CY & TU. After a decade of restrictions, settled newcomers and vulnerable groups may be ineligible and unable to meet some of the most restrictive eligibility rules and conditions in the developed world. The current government proposes an intermediate multiannual permit before newcomers can become permanent residents (see box). While this proposal may not improve the eligibility and conditions for permanent residence, it aims to eliminate unnecessary paperwork for renewals and provide legal residents with greater security and perspective for their life in FR.

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • Compared to FR policies, non-EU immigrants benefit from more flexible and clear eligibility rules to become permanent residents in all other developed countries except IE, where no common permanent residence status exists
  • Created 30 years ago in 1984 after lobbying by trade unions and NGOs,  permanent residence was the rule rather than the exception for all non-EU immigrants after 3 years 
  • Few non-EU immigrants automatically become long-term residents upon arrival: refugees upon recognition, French citizens’ dependent parents and children, victims of work-related accidents and members of the French foreign legion, while stateless persons must wait an additional three years 
  • Other non-EU residents must complete additional requirements and wait from 3 years (beneficiaries of family reunification, spouses of French citizens, parents of French children) to 5 years (all other legal residents)
  • The waiting periods and lists of excluded categories grew since 1986, including the 1993, 2003 and 2006 reforms, with several often new types of temporary permits given different sets of rights, leading for example to limitations for temporary workers and international students
  • All beneficiaries of international protection can now apply for EC long-term residence, thanks to Law 2013-1005 based on EU directive 2011/51/CE

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • After 3-5 years, eligible temporary residents face rather demanding requirements to become permanent residents, as in few other Western European countries (e.g. AT, DE, CH) 
  • Citing perceptions that France has too many foreigners and integration problems, the 2006 Sarkozy II Law introduced an integration requirement, for which the 2011 law widened the conditions and sanctions
  • Not all applicants are entitled to enough free courses to pass the basic language and integration assessment, with only the elderly over 65 exempt
  • Applicants need a stable minimum amount of resources, though this amount should take their individual circumstances into account (Council of State 26 December 2013 request 366722)
  • Plus applicants must pay a 260€ fee, which is relatively high by international standards

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • FR's long-established permanent residence permit and protections guarantee that permanent residents can invest in their integration with a secure future in FR, ranked 2nd after BE
  • Besides a few discretionary grounds for rejections and withdrawals, the procedure should be short, proportionate and subject to judicial review
  • They can easily renew their status every 10-years (permanent in 27 others) and favourably live/work abroad for long periods at a time
  • In 2003, so-called 'double punishment was reformed but was not completely removed
  • Long-settled immigrants are better protected against expulsion, reflecting that FR has become their home: minors, residents since age 13, residents for 20+ years

Dimension 4: Rights Associated

  • Permanent residents can study and live in FR with the same social rights as FR citizens, but private and public job sectors remain closed to them (see recent reform in IT)

Policy Box

The intermediate multiannual permit is expected to benefit 700,000 foreign residents. Until newcomers become eligible for a 10-year-card, they must renew their temporary permit every year. This system creates excessive burdens for state prefectures (5 million visits annually by FR's 3.7m foreigners, only 1% of renewals refused) as well as excessive obstacles for newcomers to obtain jobs and housing. The government is proposing that newcomers with 1-year-permits will receive upon their 1st renewal a permit that lasts until their application for the 10-year-card (i.e. 2 years for parents/spouses of FR citizens, 4 years for other family reunion cases, 4-year 'talent passport' for 'high-potential' immigrants and student permits covering their entire programme). The integration requirements may also be revised during the 1st year and up to the 5th year, with a higher level demanded for FR fluency. These higher requirements are intended to match the government's greater offer of FR courses to A2 level, according to its 2014 integration strategy. For more information, see the proposal (www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/projets/pl2183.asp), the 2013 Fekl Report to the Prime Minister (www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/rapports-publics/134000283/) and the current NGO campaign (www.cartederesident.org). 

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are long-term residents?

1,845,608 were living in FR as permanent residents, according to 2013 data provided to Eurostat. This number should include EU long-term reisdents and national permanent or long-term residents (for DZ and other citizens). National administrative statistics shows that the number of national permanent or long-term residents has generally remained stable from 2008-2013. Historical statistics suggest that permanent residence was once the 'rule' and now the exception, with permanent residence accounting for 42.7% of 1st grants for immigrants in 1994 as opposed to 9.2% in 2013. Nearly half of FR's permanent residents are very long-settled. The initial reasons for migration of other permanent residents can be identified based on their last temporary permit. The vast majority are former family migrants, with hardly any former international students or labour migrants. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become long-term residents?

  • Restricted and rigid labour market and lower incomes/wages for non-EU citizens
  • Students and small numbers of temporary workers may be potentially ineligible for permanent residence 
  • Mostly humanitarian or family migrants likely to settle long-term
  • One option to secure residence for long-settled residents unable or uninterested to naturalise as dual FR nationals

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become long-term residents?

An estimated 71% of non-EU citizens were living in FR as permanent residents in 2013. Most immigrants are also permanently settled in Europe's other major destination countries (FR, IT, ES, SE, UK). The number of permanent residents strongly reflects countries' path to permanent residence and citizenship. A large number of the permanent residents in FR likely acquired their status long ago, before the new restrictions in the mid-to-late 2000s. Immigrants are more likely to become permanent residents under inclusive residence policies and over time, but also more likely to move on and become citizens under inclusive citizenship policies. The numbers are comparatively high in FR and DE, two longstanding destinations where certain policies and practices may discourage naturalisation. 

Access to Nationality

Key Findings

Discretionary procedure without the support to succeed undermines naturalisation and other integration outcomes

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become a citizen?

An estimated 85% of non-EU citizens have lived in FR for the 5 years required for naturalisation, which is one of the highest shares of potential citizens in Europe.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become citizens?

Immigrants undertake a similar path to citizenship in FR as in the US and most Western European countries: naturalisation after five years (13 MIPEX countries), citizenship entitlements for children (18) and dual nationality (25). But over the past decade, access to nationality has been increasingly politicised in FR and undermined as a tool for integration. Compared to other countries, FR's discretionary procedure does not treat all applicants the same or encourage them to apply, while its comparatively demanding requirements do not provide all with enough support to succeed. 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • FR's well-established eligibility rules are favourable and similar to other major countries of immigration in Europe and abroad
  • 5 years is the most common international standard for naturalisation
  • Children born or raised in FR are entitled to become citizens, as in an increasing number of EU countries

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • Immigrants in FR face some of the most demanding  naturalisation conditions in Western Europe, alongside AT, CH, IT, BE and UK
  • Becoming a FR citizen is conditional upon a person’s employment situation (unlike in half the MIPEX countries, including the traditional countries of immigration)
  • The language and integration requirements remain relatively unfavourable. Immigrants must demonstrate the highest standard for fluency in Europe (B1) and pass a discretionary 'assimilation interview', all without enough free language and citizenship courses and practice tests to succeed (see box)
  • The government has tried to clarify how prefects should interpret these requirements in light of people's capacities, circumstances and integration/labour market realities

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • Applicants experience more discretionary procedures in FR than in most other countries in Northwest Europe (see instead BE, DE, NL and Nordics). There, immigrants have a subjective right to citizenship if they meet all of the legal requirements
  • Since 1 July 2010, prefects in FR have even greater discretion under a decentralised procedure
  • Favourably, applicants benefit from judicial oversight and protection against statelessness

Dimension 4: Dual nationality

  • Immigrants enjoy the right to dual nationality in FR, traditional countries of immigration and an increasing majority of European countries, either as a rule (25 MIPEX countries total, most recently DK) or as an exception (most recently DE)

Policy Box

The FR political discourse on integration has attached significant importance to the symbolic act of foreigners choosing to become FR citizens.In recent years, the state more actively promoted this through free procedures and citizenship ceremonies. Then in 2011 and 2012, prefectures were instructed to use their discretion to restrict naturalisation. After 2011, applicants also had to prove high FR fluency (B1-level), either through a paid test or course (Decree 2011-1265). A new citizenship test involved written multiple-choice questions on FR history, culture and society, based on the level expected in FR primary schools (decree 2012-126). Under the new government, Decree 2013-794 abolished the citizenship test and returned to the earlier interview process, now to be based on a new citizen’s booklet (livret citoyen, approved and online since April 2015). A 21 June 2013 circular asked prefects to be more flexible in the professional integration and good character requirements. Language skills will be assessed through the interview (not a test) for the disabled, chronically ill, elderly (60+) and Francophone-educated. Decree 2013-795 experiments in 11 FR departments with the interview structure, now done by a specific commission rather than one agent and with the decision taken at inter-departmental level rather than by one prefect. 

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are becoming citizens?

The total number of naturalisations in FR was rather stable over the past decade, at approximately 140,000 from 2003-2010. These numbers plummeted to 114,569 in 2011 and then 95-96,000 in 2012 and 2013. For example, in 2012, only 74,276 non-EU citizens became French citizens.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?

  • Most are long-settled in FR
  • Most from medium developed countries and likely to naturalise
  • Mostly humanitarian or family migrants likely to settle

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become citizens?

Overall, an estimated 60% of non-EU-born adults had FR citizenship in 2011/2. In 2012, the naturalisation rate for non-EU men and women (2.9 out of 100) was lower than on average in the EU (3.4) and much lower than in other Western European countries. The rate was also much lower on average for the elderly over 65 in FR than in other countries. Between 2010 and 2012, prefects use of their discretion in the procedure hit many applicants hard, leading to an unprecedented drop in naturalisations (45%) and rise in rejections and delays (50% of applications). France's citizenship policies are the strongest factor determining the naturalisation outcomes for immigrant men and women from developing countries. Naturalisation also seems to lead to better employment outcomes and higher levels of political participation for certain naturalising immigrants.

Anti-discrimination

Key Findings

FR's strong anti-discrimination laws and increasing commitments to equality are starting to help victims to take the 1st steps towards justice

Potential Beneficiaries

Who said they experienced racial/ethnic or religious discrimination last year?

In FR as in most European countries, a small but important share of the population state in surveys that they recently experienced ethnic/racial (4.1%) and/or religious discrimination (2.5%). This level of perceived discrimination is similar in countries such as AT, DE, IT, NL and in Central Europe. The specific levels of discrimination reported as experienced by immigrants and ethnic minorities are much higher in FR as in other European countries (see EU-MIDIS 2008). 

Policy Indicators

Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?

FR's laws on policies to promote equality remain the country’s greatest strength for integration policy, ranking 11th alongside other Western European countries. This approach slightly improved in 2013 (+1 point on MIPEX) with the government's 2013/4 commitments on promoting equality. FR's rather strong anti-discrimination law and body (Defenseur des Droits) are helping the general public to learn about their rights and potential victims to seek justice. 

Dimension 1: Definitions

  • In FR and a dozen other countries, discrimination is slightly well defined and prohibited on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality (see stronger definitions in CA/US/NZ, PT, Nordics)
  • When transposing EU law, Law 2008-496 provided this for race, origin and sex discrimination in all matters. As a result, victims benefit from weaker protection against nationality discrimination, although this is still prohibited in the penal code and, under general principles of public law, it cannot be used to refuse access to rights (social security, education, health) to legal foreign residents
  • No explicit rules to deal with cases of multiple  discrimination (see CA, UK, US)
  • Victims have legal basis to fight against racial profiling (Obligation of Non-Discrimination in the National Police Code of Conduct) 

Dimension 2: Fields of application

  • Everyone is generally protected against ethnic, racial, religious and nationality discrimination in all areas of life in FR and 15 MIPEX countries

Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms

  • The mechanisms to enforce the law are generally favourable for potential victims to access justice
  • The major weakness are the absence of class actions and actio popularis (See 21 other countries, e.g. AU/CA/NZ/US, PT/ES, LU/NL, Nordics)
  • Bill 811 proposes general procedure of class actions for discrimination cases, following up on 2006 bill 

Dimension 4: Equality policies

  • FR society benefits from stronger state commitments to promote equality (+5, see box) and an equality body (Defender of Human Rights) with slightly strong powers to help victims
  • Under Law 2011-333, FR's effective equality body (la HALDE) was merged with 3 other institutions into the new Defender of Rights with the same powers as before (similar process in FI, IE, SE, UK)
  • No equality body with quasi-judicial powers or legal standing in support / on behalf of victims (see instead English-speaking countries, Nordics) 

Policy Box

In recent years, the FR government has reinforced its leadership role on promoting equality through Inter-ministerial delegate on racism and anti-Semitism since 2011 and, at some point soon, a delegate on republican equality and integration. Since 2013, government has signed a binding Charter for the promotion of equality and to fight against discrimination in the public service (state/regional administration and hospitals). The Charter provides binding tools to better implement and reinforce equality policies so that the public sector becomes an exemplary service representative of all FR people. The Charter also draws on the experience since 2008 with 'Diversity Labels' among 200+ companies (see equality duties on public services and contracts in countries such as CA, US, FI, SE, UK).

Real beneficiaries

How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?

No statistics are collected or published on the number or results of civil and administrative complaints against discrimination. MIPEX provides the best harmonised data on the number of ethnic/racial and religious discrimination complaints received or handled by equality bodies, both promotional and quasi-judicial. These numbers are only one indication of discrimination reporting. In 2013, the FR Defender of Rights received and followed-up on 21591 complaints of racial/ethnic discrimination (19,734) and religious discrimination (1,857). 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether potential victims report discrimination cases

  • Around 40% of FR public said they knew their rights as discrimination victims in 2013, with similar or higher levels of rights awareness among surveyed immigrants and ethnic minorities (EU-MIDIS 2008)
  • Relatively low levels of trust in police but higher trust in justice system 
  • Long-settled and naturalisation are more likely to submit complaints when they experience discrimination

Outcome indicators

How many complaints were made last year for every person who said they experienced racial/ethnic and religious discrimination?

The Defenseur des Droits receives approximately 1 complaint for every 150 potential victims of racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, according to EU-wide surveys. This level is large but lower than in most European countries. Non-reporting is the norm in across Europe. FR's strong laws and support is starting to help victims in FR to take the 1st steps towards justice (as also in IE, NL, SE). People in countries like FR with strong anti-discrimination laws are more likely to be aware of discrimination in society and know their rights, which may over time increase reporting rates.

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