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French President Emmanuel Macron will tighten immigration policy with new restrictions in health benefits or quotas for work permits, to try to remove arguments from the ultra-rightist leader, Marine Le Pen.

The objective is "to regain control of our immigration policy", in the words of the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, who at the end of an interministerial council dedicated to this issue on Wednesday stressed that the twenty announced measures set "a fair balance between rights and duties".

The main axis is "fight fraud and abuse" in the system of social protection for immigrants, against which Le Pen and his party, the National Association (RN), charge in each electoral call.

The French Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, during the meeting to discuss the new immigration policy.


A good part of the measures are intended to avoid these "abuses", for example limiting medical coverage for asylum seekers in urgent care during the first three months since submitting their application. Another measure will be to stop offering that full coverage six months after the residence permit of an immigrant who has stayed in France expires.

Nor can those who have entered the country with a tourist visa during the three months following the expiration date of that visa benefit from this service. And the rights to benefits will be interrupted when there is a final decision to expel an immigrant in an irregular situation.

The French Minister of Health, Agnès Buzn, said that giving medical attention to everyone in France is indispensable "for humanitarian reasons and also for public health reasons", but at the same time considered "legitimate" more control to deal with a fraud that he recognized "limited" but that "feeds ghosts."

Professional fees

One of the great innovations of the device, which comes surrounded by controversy, is the implementation of a system of annual quotas for professional immigration that responds to "unmet needs" in labor in each region.

Philippe stressed that these "quantitative objectives" will not be set by nationalities, but depending on the trades looking for companies and for those who are not candidates in France. Since 2008 there is a list of "in tension" jobs in each region for which a company can search for candidates abroad without justifying having previously done so in France, but the list has not been updated since then.

According to unemployment services, although France has a unemployment rate Relatively high (8.5%), there are about 150,000 jobs not covered due to lack of tight professional profiles.

The beneficiaries of work permits are a relatively minor part of the total number of immigrants arriving in France (13% of the 255,550 who entered regularly in 2018). For Le Pen, the fee will not decrease immigration figures and does not contribute anything to resolve the issue of clandestine entries.

Attract university students

The Government of Macron wants, on the other hand, attract more university students to France and double its number to reach 500,000 by 2027 as a way to increase the country's international projection.

His Executive sent other messages of firmness in the face of immigration, such as his willingness to link a part of development aid, both French and European, to the commitment on the part of recipient countries to accept their nationals expelled from French soil.

The head of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, said that by the end of the year dismantle immigrant camps on the northeastern periphery of Paris, where according to NGOs live at least 3,000 people in unhealthy conditions.