France implements stricter immigration measures for int’l students, workers

The amendments encompass various aspects, including the introduction of mandatory deposits for student visa applicants, revised conditions for welfare benefits, and extended waiting periods for family reunification.

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France implements stricter immigration measures for int’l students, workers
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The French government has approved substantial changes to the country’s immigration laws, bringing in more stringent regulations affecting international students and foreign workers. 

The amendments encompass various aspects, including the introduction of mandatory deposits for student visa applicants, revised conditions for welfare benefits, and extended waiting periods for family reunification, the Financial Express reported.

Regarding student visas, applicants will now be required to submit a refundable deposit at the time of application, with the amount still unspecified. The deposit will be returned upon the expiration of the residence permit, its renewal, or the acquisition of another permit due to a change in circumstances. It may also be definitively withheld if the foreigner evades the execution of a removal decision, except in cases involving low-income individuals or those with exceptional academic achievements.

Welfare benefits, such as childcare, will undergo significant restructuring. Non-EU citizens working in France must demonstrate a 30-month presence before becoming eligible for these benefits. 

Additionally, these benefits will only be accessible to foreign nationals after five years of residency, marking a substantial extension from the previous requirement of 30 months.

The changes also impact non-EU foreigners without residency or work permits, particularly those working in sectors experiencing labor shortages like restaurants, construction, and agriculture. These individuals can now apply for residency and work permits if they have lived in France for a minimum of three years and worked for at least 12 months within the previous two years, not necessarily consecutively.

In terms of family reunification, after obtaining the right to reside in France, foreign nationals must now wait for a minimum of 24 months before applying. During this waiting period, they must provide proof of a steady source of income and health insurance. Moreover, spouses intending to travel to France must be at least 21 years old, an increase from the previous age requirement of 18.

The government is now obligated to submit an annual report to parliament, offering detailed insights into immigration policies. The report must include comprehensive information on the number of immigrants and asylum seekers, residency permits granted or denied, approved family reunifications, deportations, expulsions, and the number of immigrants obtaining French nationality.

While the French parliament has given its approval, the proposed immigration law awaits adoption by the French Constitutional Council, with provisions subject to potential changes during this final review process. 

Int’l student landscape in France

In the academic year 2021-2022, France experienced an eight percent growth in the number of international students, surpassing 400,000 registrations, as per Campus France. This marks the highest growth in 15 years, primarily attributed to a notable increase in European students. 

The positive trend is expected to continue into the 2022-2023 academic year, with a substantial 18 percent rise in applications compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Following a stagnant period in 2020-2021 with a 1 percent decline due to the pandemic, foreign student enrollment in the academic year 2021-2022 witnessed the most robust year-on-year growth since 2005, reaching 8 percent. When including apprentices in higher education, the overall number of foreign students in France surpassed the 400,000 milestone, reaching a total of 400,026.

The surge in international student enrollment is particularly evident in students from neighboring European countries. 

Notable increases include Italian students (4th origin, +16 percent), Spanish students (7th, +25 percent), and Lebanese students (9th, +30 percent). 

Remarkably, some origins that had previously experienced declines, such as Germany (+17 percent) and the USA (+50 percent), have seen a resurgence in the past year. However, the mobility from China and Vietnam continues to decline, with respective decreases of -2 percent and -4 percent over the same period.

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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