France to tighten migrant rules - Refugee Council
May 11, 2005

France to tighten migrant rules

France’s government has announced a set of new rules designed to tackle illegal immigration. The proposals include introducing visas with biometric information and increasing expulsions. However, the government also proposes introducing a list of “safe” countries whose nationals can be fast-tracked when applying for asylum.

Other measures include:

– Tighter border controls
– An immigration police
– A central government department to curb illegal workers
– An end to the automatic recognition of marriages entered into by French nationals abroad.

Interior minister Dominique de Villepin claimed the proposed EU constitution would also make immigration control easier as asylum and immigration issues would be decided by a majority vote, rather than a unanimous decision from the 25 EU member states.

However, the minister said that France would not follow Spain in granting an amnesty to hundreds of thousands of immigrants. According to the AFP news agency, de Villepin said, “it is out of the question. Previous mass amnesties in 1981 and 1997 were total failures. Each time it created new pressure and new arrivals.”

The AFP news agency reported that the French human rights organisation, La Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, condemned the proposals saying the measures “would solve nothing” and “turn foreigners into scapegoats”.