France will establish a quota system, by region and profession, for issuing work permits to non-EU citizens, the country’s Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud announced on Tuesday.
It comes in the midst of President Emmanuel Macron’s renewed focus on immigration, which has caused some on the left wing of his centrist party to feel unsettled.
However, she didn’t believe there would be “a big change in the numbers” of work permits under the new system, which she said was set to come into effect mid-next year, quoting a figure of roughly 33,000 relevant vacancies per year.
The country already keeps lists of professions that are in demand by region, and employers are able to seek work permits for foreigners for those positions without first attempting to fill the vacancy locally.
The new system would see those lists edited on a yearly basis, and employers, trade unions and regional authorities would use a “statistical analysis model” to come up with a figure, said Penicaud.
“At the moment, we accept people, but not necessarily in the professions where there are shortages,” Penicaud said. “And conversely, there are shortages in professions where we don’t manage to fill them, where we don’t accept them.”
But, Penicaud said, there would be no rules regarding the countries of origin for those filling the quotas.
Penicaud made the announcement ahead of a ministerial meeting on immigration and integration hosted by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
In October, the National Assembly held what Macron promised to be the first annual debate on migration policy. His renewed focus on the issue has not placated the country’s anti-immigration right, and has been criticized by the left.
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