Posted on May 20, 2024

Muslim Professionals Quit ‘Hostile’ France in Silent Brain Drain

AFP, May 17, 2024


Highly-qualified French citizens from Muslim backgrounds, often the children of immigrants, are leaving France in a quiet brain drain, seeking a new start abroad in cities like London, New York, Montreal or Dubai, according to a new study.

The authors of “France, you love it but you leave it”, published last month, said it was difficult to estimate exactly how many.

But they found that 71 percent of more than 1,000 people who responded to their survey circulated online had left in part because of racism and discrimination.

Adam, who asked that his surname not be used, told AFP his new job in the United Arab Emirates has given him fresh perspective.

In France “you need to work twice as hard when you come from certain minorities”, he said.

He said he was “extremely grateful” for his French education and missed his friends, family and the rich cultural life of the country where he grew up.

But he said he was glad to have quit its “Islamophobia” and “systemic racism” that meant he was stopped by police for no reason.


Another French Muslim, a 33-year-old tech employee of Moroccan descent, told AFP he and his pregnant wife were planning to emigrate to “a more peaceful society” in southeast Asia.

He said he would miss France’s “sublime” cuisine and the queues outside the bakeries.

But “we’re suffocating in France”, said the business school graduate with a five-figure monthly salary.


A 1978 French law bans collecting data on a person’s race, ethnicity or religion, which makes it difficult to have broad statistics on discrimination.

But a young person “perceived as black or Arab” is 20 times more likely to face an identity check than the rest of the population, France’s rights ombudsman found in 2017.

The Observatory for Inequalities says that racism is on the decline in France {snip}

But still, it adds, a job candidate with a French name has a 50 percent better chance of being called by an employer than one with a North African one.