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More new citizens, student visas in France

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More new citizens, student visas in France
France's top cop, Interior Minister Manuel Valls, revealed immigrant stats on Friday. Photo: AFP
11:35 CET+01:00
France under President François Hollande is a slightly more welcoming place for immigrants, according to new data released on Friday by the country's top cop. However, the statistics show not everything is different.

The French government’s handling of immigration has become slightly more welcoming for certain kinds of new arrivals in past two years, though plenty were left out of the softening policies, new data show

Since 2012 the country has seen a 13 percent increase in the number of newly naturalized citizens and six percent jump in student visas. However, the numbers released on Friday by France’s top cop, Interior Minister Manuel Valls, show France has carried out two percent more forced expulsions since 2012, Le Monde reported.

That data should not come as a surprise given the country’s hard line stance on expelling Roma people to Romania and Bulgaria. France expelled 20,000 Roma in 2013, which in addition to being a record, was double the number kicked out the previous year.  

Though President François Hollande’s successor was often criticized as anti-immigrant, the policies of the current administration are still rigorous in many ways. Here are some of the keys points from Valls’ immigration statistics:

  • 4,600 expulsions of non-EU citizens (Roma are EU citizens)
  • About 10,000 illegal immigrants who'd been in France for five years got visas
  • A six percent increase in student visas over the 2012 total of 58,000
  • 10-15 percent increase in skilled immigrant visas
  • 1,500 families facing expulsion were housed in residences, not detention centres
  • Naturalization was up by 14 percent over the the 2012 total of 68,000
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