France's Constitutional Council rejects large parts of immigration law

AFP/The Local France
AFP/The Local France - [email protected]
France's Constitutional Council rejects large parts of immigration law
A demonstrator holds a placard reading "All humans except Darmanin and his friends" during a rally against France's law on immigration. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

France's Conseil Constitutionnel, the country's highest legal authority on the constitution, has ordered the government to cancel several major parts of its controversial immigration bill.


The Council rejected more than a third of the total bill.

Elements rejected include limits on benefits for foreigners, a limitation on the right to French citizenship for children born in France to foreign parents and stricter limits on family reunification visas.


Most of the items scrapped were amendments that were added later by right-wing parties as part of the political horse-trading required to get the bill passed.

Also scrapped was the proposal to waive visa rules for British second-home owners in France.

READ MORE: Visa exemption for British second-home owners scrapped by France's constitutional council

There is no right of appeal against Council decisions.

Clauses rejected by the Council, and therefore scrapped, include;

  • A requirement that foreigners be resident in France for five years before they qualify for benefits including family allowances. Many local mayors, including the mayor of Paris, had already said they would refuse to apply this law
  • Creation of a new criminal offence of being in France without the correct paperwork
  • A requirement for an annual parliamentary debate on migration, and the fixing of 'migration quotas' for certain types of immigration
  • A requirement for non-EU students withing to study in France to pay a refundable deposit in order to secure a study visa
  • Tighter rules on family reunification visas that would require 24 months of residency before an application can be made to be joined by a spouse/family member
  • The end to automatic right to citizenship for children born in France to non-French parents, known as the droit du sol
  • A proposal to scrap the visa requirement for British second-home owners who wish to spend more than 90 days out of every 180 at their French properties 

Interior Minister Gérarld Darmanin hailed the ruling.

"The Constitutional Council has approved all the government's text," he wrote on X, formally Twitter.

But Jordan Bardella, president of the far-right Rassemblement National party, criticised what he said was a "coup by the judges, with the backing of the president".

He called for a referendum on immigration as the "only solution".

The court dismissed 32 out of 86 amendments on the grounds they were not related to the subject of the law.

They could however be accepted later as part of different legislation.

It also censured three more partially or in full over their essence. It partially rejected the setting of immigration quotas by parliament.


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