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The immigration bill - an overview

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-09-28

The bill includes measures to strip nationality, barring persistent offenders from coming back, holding areas near borders for travelling groups and lengthening the period of detention for illegal immigrants.

Extending circumstances where nationality can be stripped
Announced after rioting in the Villeneuve district of the French city of Grenoble in July, this key amendment to the bill would extend circumstances where citizenship can be revoked to “persons who, within ten years of getting French nationality, are convicted of murder or violence against a person vested with public authority.”

Abusing the right of short stay
Foreigners, including nationals of some EU countries (which have recently become members, including Romania and Bulgaria), may be deported if they overstay the limit (three months) in France. This would apply if they “continue to move back and forth across borders or if they constitute an unreasonable burden on France’s welfare system.”

Expulsion for repeated offences of theft and aggressive begging
Foreigners, whether they are EU citizens or not, present in France for longer than three months but less than three years, would be liable to deportation for “threats to public order”, and in particular for “theft or aggressive begging”. Illegal occupation of public and private land is also cited as a cause for expulsion from France.

Special waiting areas
The bill provides for the creation of special waiting areas, such as already exist in airports, to cope with the arrival of groups of (ten or more) foreigners “at or up to ten kilometres from border crossing points” where people can be contained until decisions have been made as to their future movement in France.

A ban on return
Except on humanitarian grounds, the state can impose mandatory bans on foreigners from returning to French soil if they have overstayed beyond the point of voluntary departure.

Changing rules on residence permits for'(foreigners seeking medical attention'
The rule on giving the “carte de séjour” (residence permit) to foreigners seeking medical attention in France if they cannot “benefit” from treatment in their own countries would be scrapped. After the bill is passed, if any kind of similar treatment can be found in immigrants’ home countries, France could refuse to let them in.

Increasing detention times and changing detention procedures
The government wants to increase the duration of detention of illegal aliens from the current maximum of 32 days to 45 days. The proposition would mean the appointment of special magistrates to arbitrate and verify the legality of any detention.

Increased punishment for 'Grey Marriages'
“Grey Marriages”, a termed coined by Immigration Minister Eric Besson, refers to marriages where a foreigner has duped a French person into marrying with the sole intention of securing permanent residence in France. If convicted, the guilty party would be liable to a prison sentence of up to seven years (where it is currently five) and a fine of 30,000 euros (currently 15,000 euros).

Fast-track naturalisation for 'exceptional' immigrants
The flip side of the bill: this provision would speed up the naturalisation process for immigrants who “display an exceptional track record of integration” in terms of their “civic, scientific, economic, cultural or sporting” contribution.


Date created : 2010-09-28


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