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Thursday, June 16, 2011

European Blue Card - Focus on France

I finally found the magic search-engine words to pull up information about the EU Blue Card in France.

It turns out that the Blue Card implementation is just one element in a larger immigration reform project called the Projet de loi relatif à l’immigration, à l’intégration et à la nationalité, also known as the "Besson" law. This reform has some very interesting implications for both EU and non-EU immigrants to France. There are new criteria for deportation, for example. Under this new law, foreigners, both EU and non-EU, can be deported for being a "threat to public order." In addition, EU citizens can be deported if they are considered to be "an unreasonable burden on public services." The first seems to target the gypsies, the second any EU citizen who is judged to be abusing French public services like healthcare. The law also calls for the creation of special 'waiting zones' for groups of foreigners who try to pass the borders in large numbers (over 10) which one site I was reading sarcastically referred to as creating "French Guantanamos."

In the middle of all this is the Blue Card. Here is a link to an official French government website which gives a summary of the law and where it is in the legislative process. This site says that law was passed in May and was validated by the Constitutional Council in June. The next step seems to be signature by the President of the Republic (Sarkozy), publication in the Official Journal of the French Republic and then a "Décret d'application" which describes in more detail how the law will be applied.  I'll continue to watch the Vie Publique (official government website) for updates and this site run by Migration Conseil which seems to be on top of things.

In my search for information about the Blue Card in France I stumbled upon something that I had no idea even existed. A quick poll of my friends and family showed they didn't know it existed either. It turns out that France already has something very similar to the Blue Card. It's called the Carte de séjour compétences et talents (the Skills and Talents Work Permit).  If you have an interesting project that would create jobs and you can demonstrate that you possess special skills that would make it feasible and interesting for France and your country of origin, you can apply right now for this card.  More information can be found here.  This was a Sarkozy project launched about five years ago to promote selective immigration.  I, quite frankly, had never heard of it and it does not seem to have been terribly successful.   It was estimated in the beginning that around 2000 of these cards would be granted per year.  The actual number seems to be about 400.    This article describes some of the possible reasons for this.  

In any case, this is an interesting twist.  Will the EU Blue Card replace the Skills and Talents work permit or will the two co-exist?  A suivre.

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