Sarkozy Pushes Ahead With New Immigration Plan

AFP, March 29, 2006

PARIS—French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday presented to the cabinet a new immigration law intended to encourage economic migrants and tighten rules on bringing relatives into the country.

Under the law, which now makes its way though parliament, foreigners “whose personality and talent are considered assets for France’s development and influence” will qualify for a three-year residence permit.

“Out of every nine people who want to immigrate to France today, eight do it for family reasons and only one for economic reasons. Like in other European countries, the idea is to alter the balance,” said government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.

Under the proposed law, a foreigner living in France can be joined by his family after 18 months—and not one year as the rules currently state—and only if he is in work and not living on state hand-outs.

In order to combat marriages of convenience, residence permits will be issued to foreign spouses only after three years.

In addition the system under which illegal immigrants automatically get a residence permit after ten years in France is ended.

“We cannot be the only country in the world which does not choose who has the right to come here. I want French immigration to be chosen immigration. It can’t be held against me that I want the best to come here, and not just people who can’t get in anywhere else,” Sarkozy told Le Parisien newspaper.

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