France Will Start Setting Quotas for Migrant Workers Next Year
France will start setting quotas for migrant workers next year, the labor minister said today. This is part of President Emmanuel Macron's government action to strive to strengthen immigration policies in response to right-wing criticism, AFP reported.
Authorities working with employers will identify industries that have no qualified candidates from next year and will facilitate the hiring of foreigners to fill the gap, Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud said.
"This is a new approach similar to that in Canada or Australia," Penicaud told BFM.
Currently, employers have to explain why a French national cannot be hired in a complex administrative process that resulted in around 33,000 economic migrants receiving visas last year.
The construction, hotel and restaurant sectors, as well as some commercial sectors, have long complained of a shortage of people willing to work low-paying jobs.
The information technology and engineering industries, on the other hand, claim that France does not offer enough qualified candidates.
“Our priority is to help the French return to the job market. Then it is to welcome the refugees and enable them to find a job”, Penicaud said.
“If there is still a need, for the benefit of the country and that of the companies, we will bring in the people we need, depending on their profession and their qualification.”
Penicaud did not say how many foreign workers would receive visas or whether the candidate's citizenship would be taken into consideration - a proposal made by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe last month.
Philippe is leading Macron's move to tighten immigration rules in an effort to counter right-wing voters, who accuse the government of allowing too many foreigners, despite an 8.5% unemployment rate in the second quarter.
Analysts say Macron's main political rival during the 2022 presidential election is left-wing leader Marine Le Pen.
The prime minister will unveil a number of measures Wednesday, signaling a tighter line after France received a record 122,743 asylum applications last year, up 22% from the previous year. Measures may include restrictions on migrants withdrawing family members, or restricting access to asylum seekers' care while their requests are processed. France also called for a review of EU efforts to stem the flow of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 2015. Macron also wants more EU members to share the burden of admitting eligible migrants, which is opposed by several countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Macron angered the Bulgarian government last week after saying in an interview with a magazine that he preferred migrants from Guinea or Côte d'Ivoire to work legally rather than "illegal networks of Bulgarians and Ukrainians," AFP recalls.
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