Posted on November 9, 2023

French Senators Drop Worker-Permit Clause From Immigration Bill

Reuters, November 8, 2023

France’s much-debated immigration bill veered towards the right overnight as senators removed an article that would have facilitated residency permits for undocumented migrant workers in sectors struggling to find staff.

President Emmanuel Macron‘s plans to overhaul migration legislation in France has long been delayed as it struggles to find enough support, underlining the difficulty of lacking an absolute majority in parliament.

The government had tried to please the left and right with a carrot-and-stick approach that would have sped up the expulsion of illegal migrants while making it easier to obtain residency permits for those in sectors in high need of workers ranging from restaurants to farms.

Tuesday night’s agreement – pushed by conservative and centre-right senators – could increase the likelihood of the bill passing, since it relied on votes from the right.

Before that change was adopted, members of the conservative Les Republicains in the National Assembly had planned to abstain on the law, a source from Macron’s Renaissance party said.

The lower house of parliament will have the final word on the law in December.

But Tuesday’s move also created tensions among the majority’s ranks, suggesting debate on the bill is far from over.