Call for paid service +44 (0)344-991-9222

France may tighten immigration rules

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

The French parliament is set to discuss the approval of a new immigration bill which would make it harder for foreigners to work in France.

The proposals, drawn up by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, demand that newcomers learn French and the country's culture. They also favour highly skilled workers over those who are less qualified.

The draft law would make it harder for immigrants' families to settle in France and restrict residence permits. Mr Sarkozy says his policies are fair and aim to meet public concern about an influx of foreigners. He said the bill is "a safeguard against racism."

Opponents view it as xenophobic and at the weekend, more than 5,000 protesters took to the streets of Paris demanding the proposals be softened.

Mr Sarkozy insists that after last year's riots in largely immigrant suburbs, it is time for France to get tough and to make sure it is attracting people who want to integrate.

Opposition politicians claim by introducing such a tough bill, Mr Sarkozy is trying to court far-right votes ahead of next year's presidential elections.

He rejects such charges, saying the new laws would improve race relations in France.