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Macron v Le Pen: What are their policies for foreigners in France?

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Macron v Le Pen: What are their policies for foreigners in France?
Getting a carte de sejour could become harder, depending on who wins the election. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

As Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen prepare for a second round battle, we look at their policies for foreigners living in France, and for those hoping to move here.

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Macron

The centrist candidate is pro European and has been keen to attract foreign investment to France - his government has run English-language advertising campaigns to attract foreign workers and businesses to France, and has expanded the Talent visa programme.

After the Brexit vote he sent a message to Brits in France, telling them they would always be welcome.

However, faced with challengers on the far-right, his 2022 campaign manifesto is less liberal on immigration.

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Some of his policies have little detail on how exactly they would work.

Among the measures he has proposed are:

  • Giving long-term residency cards (10 years) only to those who have passed a French exam AND have a job – he does not specify what level of French would be needed to pass the exam;
  • Reforming the Schengen zone to make it harder to get into Europe;
  • Reinforcing the French border force;
  • Expelling foreigners who have “upset the public order” – no detail on whether this refers to all criminal offences or only those convicted of serious crimes
  • Reforming the asylum process to make it easier to decide who can stay and “to expel more efficiently” those who cannot. 

Le Pen

Anti-immigration policies have been the hallmark of Le Pen's party since it was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Since taking over the party, renaming it Rassemblement National and generally trying to 'detoxify' it, Marine has been trying to expand her policies - this election campaign has seen her focus heavily on the cost-of-living crisis.

However, her rhetoric remains strongly anti-immigration. She is also strongly anti-EU and although she has dropped her policy of 'Frexit', she says that if elected she would refuse to obey EU rules or follow financial contributions - effectively exiting the EU by stealth.

Here's what her manifesto proposes on immigration:

  • End all non-economic immigration, so that people could only move to France to work;
  • End immigration for family reunification purposes;
  • Treat all requests for asylum overseas. 

But the meat of her policy lies in making life harder for migrants who are already in France:

  • Reserve social aid for French people and condition access to other state benefits on having worked in France for five years;
  • Give French people priority in social housing and employment;
  • Take away visas/residency cards of all foreigners who have been out of work for one year in France;
  • Systematically expel illegal immigrants, delinquents and foreign criminals;
  • Get rid of jus soli (the right to citizenship through birth in France);
  • Allow French citizenship only to people who have “earned it and assimilated” – although she gives no detail on how this would be different to the current process, which already requires a French test and an interview on French culture for those applying through residency or marriage.  
The pair face each other in a live TV debate on April 20th, and then in a second round of voting on April 24th. 

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Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2022/04/11 20:29
What will happen to retired people ?

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