Does the French economy need a new immigration policy?

On 1 January 2023, France had a population of 68.0 million (65.8 million in mainland France and 2.2 million in the five overseas departments). The immigrant population (foreigners born outside France and French born outside France) is 10.3% of the population living in France in 2021, compared to 7.4% in 1975 and 5.0% in 1946. The immigration bill will be examined on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. Among the main measures presented by Gerald Darmanin and Olivier Dussopt, the creation of a residence permit for “stressed jobs” that will allow regularizing immigrant workers in an irregular situation, in other words, undocumented workers . , as well as to assess “integration through work” more generally Stéphane Le CourantThe current trend emphasizing residency is part of a long continuum. Since 2007, the law allows for the use of foreign labor on an irregular basis in employment sectors deemed to be under stress or recruitment difficulties. Thus, there is a long continuum in the entry of undocumented migrants into the labor market, which was stabilized in 2012 under the Valls circular. This bill will change two quite important aspects, firstly, unlike the circular, the law provides that the delivery of the residence permit will be automatic. That is, if the person is not granted a residence permit if he fulfills the conditions, he will have the opportunity to protest. The second aspect is that employers will not be involved in this arrangement. Today, when an undocumented person wants to be regular, he must have an employer who promises him a job or agrees to conclude an employment contract for him, who will present the prefecture documents and pay taxes … announced in the bill, all this will disappear, between the employee and the prefecture there will be a more direct connection.“. This bill raises the question of the contribution of immigrants to the economy, against a discourse that tends to present immigrants as a burden on the public finances, there are numerous works of economists who emphasize before this positive contribution, Ekrame Boubtane explain “What we found in both labor markets is a positive contribution, which means that, contrary to popular belief, immigrants have not contributed to a decline in average wages, they have not contributed to an increase in unemployment. Public finances, which are really at the center of the debate, people focus too much on the increase in public spending that will result from the presence of immigrants, especially family spending, forgetting that the public budget is not just about family spending. there are also pension costs. For these costs, immigrants are the net contributors. When we take both costs, receipts, and all mandatory fees, we must not forget that immigrants are mostly active people, we see an increase in state taxes. income and also the increase of certain expenses relative to wealth n national”. Camille LeCoz complete “European countries are facing the same problems. We have the same need for labor, which has increased greatly during the health crisis. There are many people in precarious jobs or low-income jobs who are out of work. There are migrants. People who return home and still have restrictions on mobility. because they still haven’t come back. We really have these needs in two types of sectors, high-skilled jobs, but also advanced jobs in agriculture, human services, logistics. often can’t be automated, and so the question is, are we going to give them how do we respond, do we have an immigration response, or do we have to invest in the training, the education of the population that’s already there. But we don’t really get into the public debate because it’s often tainted by discussions of immigration, disconnected from these issues.”

To continue

  • Stéphane Le Courant: Living under threat. Undocumented migrants and the state (“The Color of Ideas”, Seoul, 2022)
  • Ekrame Boubtane: The economics of immigration (Blaise Pascal University Press, 2018)
  • El Mouhoub Mouhoud: Immigration to France. Myths and facts (Fayard, 2017)

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