France’s long tradition of recruiting foreign workers and the legacy of colonialism of earlier centuries has strongly influenced the country’s present immigration situation. As early as the 18th and 19th century, France was already bringing in immigrants on account of the industrialisation process along with its collapse in the birth rate that resulted in the shortage of labour. In order to relieve the problem, France concluded several labour recruitment contracts with Czechoslovakia in 1920, Poland in 1906, Belgium in 1906, and Italy in 1904, 1906 and 1919 (Engler).
Accordingly, at the start of the 1930s, with approximately 2. 7 million immigrants accounting for 6. 6 percent of the country’s entire population, France was considered the second most appealing country in the world for immigration behind the United States. At present, France has the biggest immigrant population in its Continent. Over the last century there has been generally a constant increase in immigration in the country and, apparently, the character of its society has consequently changed.
In view of this, superior control of integration of immigrants’ second- and third-generation descendants as well as admissions of new ones have become the most imperative upcoming challenges for the country’s immigration policy-making. Without a doubt, while France’s immigration policy has been considered a great achievement in economic terms, yet in the past 30 years it has been increasingly perceived as the source of numerous social problems. Percentage of Immigrants
Since the taking over in 2002 of the conservative administration of Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a leaning towards a more controlled immigration policy has also become evident (Engler). However, notwithstanding the restrictive immigration policy, immigration to France has still regularly risen in years, as shown below. Source: “France” by Engler Obviously, immigration has contributed to the rise of the French population. Based on the table, the foremost form of immigration in France is family reunification, followed by migration for education purposes and employment migration.
In recent years the migration balance has been positive and somewhat constant at approximately +100,000 people for every year (Engler). In French statistics, foreigners and immigrants are separately recorded. Immigrants are characterized as individuals who were born in a foreign country as foreign citizens, and they are continually recorded as such even though they get hold of French citizenship. In 2005, there were about 4. 93 million immigrants settling in France, proportionate to 8. 1 percent of the entire population, and of this total, 40 percent, or 1.
97 million have took on French citizenship (Engler). Contrary to immigrants, foreigners are characterized as individuals who do not have the country’s citizenship. There are approximately 3. 51 million foreigners inhabiting France, corresponding to 5. 7 percent of the country’s entire population (Engler). However, on the June 30, 2006 a new immigration law was approved in France following the pronouncement of the Senate and the Parliament in a joint mediation committee. The law puts together a comprehensive reform of the country’s integration and immigration policies.
It includes the creation of residence permit for particularly eligible workers, tougher requirements for family reunification, along with a mandatory integration contract known as the “contract for reception and integration” for foreigners who want to engage permanent residence in France (Engler). The new law puts an end to the automatic legalization of immigrants who have resided in France for at least ten years without prior approval. Impact on Education Taken as a whole, the level of education amongst immigrants is steadily approaching that of the country’s majority population.
In recent years, the level of immigrant education has considerably increased, but overall it is still distantly less than that of non-immigrants. Nonetheless, immigrants’ children, who have normally acquired French citizenship through birth, generally have access to appalling schools, and suffer from a sense of isolation and discrimination from conventional French society. This inequality is becoming increasingly apparent among the schools in suburbs, where almost all of the immigrants are living, and those in the more thriving city centres.
More affluent French communities get hold of a large portion of the educational resources in view of the fact that their elected officials have more influence than those from immigrant localities. Accordingly, pupil expenditures in poor neighbourhoods were found to be less than 30 percent of the national average; and roughly 36 percent of the country’s high school dropouts are immigrants’ children, and those few who graduate are normally deficient in the proficiencies required to go through higher education or find excellent employments.
Impact on Medical Areas French health care is considered the one of most excellent in the world, as it was ranked number one in 2000 by the World Bank’s annual assessment. Health care is highly subsidized or provided free by the French government. Generally, the budget allocation for health care is approximately 9. 8 percent of the country’s GNP. However, at the end of 2004 the practice placed much burden to the French government as it caused a budget shortage amounting to €11billion, and is expected to increase at €70billion at the last part of 2020.
In July 29, 2005, in response to the problem, the French government introduced a new regulation that requires all immigrants needing medical care to first present evidence of their legal entry and residence for at least three months in France. Contrarily, under the previous rules immigrants were merely required to sign an official verification regarding their identity. The consequence of the decision of the French government to tie legal status to medical care has brought to an end access to treatment to approximately 400,000 illegal immigrants.
Moreover, the new regulation limits free medical treatment to individuals earning not more than 690 dollars or €576 per month. Housing Decent place to stay is an existent problem in France. The most economically and socially disadvantaged people in the country, the majority of whom are immigrants, are likely to be concentrated in certain estates, districts, or high-density housing compounds. Unfortunately, these people endure from the age of the buildings as well as the insatiability of the owners.
At most, nearly all of the said buildings were repaired only ones or twice since World War Two. As of November 30, 2001, about 7. 5 percent of the country’s population, or 152,532 individuals were living in exceptionally congested conditions, as most of these people live in 4×4 meter room along with children. There were 100,239 requests for council housing, only 89,831 of which were in the priority category, and only 8,000 to 10,000 houses were distributed every year. Unfortunately, as expected discrete discriminations against immigrant families were taking place.
Accordingly, this extreme anxiety led people to set up dwelling inside buildings in tremendously poor condition for human occupancy. Immigrants, in particular, are continually confronted by the appalling living conditions that definitely test the limits of human endurance. These dwellings have never been fumigated; people have difficulty breathing due to the smell of leaks, damp, and mouldering building. Seeing people endure in these types of buildings, or in tents, in the sludge, with least amount of sanitation, incapable of managing the rain and the cold, inhumane is clearly an understatement.
Language Accommodation Among others, citizens of Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been granted easier admittance to the labour market in France. However, a number of these workers along with millions of immigrants are concentrated in suburban ghettos where there are hardly any opportunities to gain knowledge of the French language. Basically, following language skills rests the accommodation, employment, and every other opportunity. Improvement of language proficiencies among immigrants is, therefore, essential for their economic adaption.
Accordingly, in addition to tightening of already stringent immigration laws, immigrants are now required to pass a French language examination if they want continuing residence privileges in the country. Approximately 90 percent of immigrants approved with French residence permit have signed the new requirement, which authorizes them to a two-day civic learning course and 500 hours of non-compulsory French language education. The program is intended to make easier for immigrants to renew provisional residence permits and, in the long run, obtain French nationality. Criminal Activities
Burglary, homicide and other violent crimes are significantly intensifying in France, although so far guns are almost never employed in most crimes. In 2005, strong debates concerning discrimination and integration have set out a wave of aggression in the country. Numerous French were terrified by the evident powerlessness of the government, as night after night public watched on television adolescent and teenager rioters from African and Arab families wounded dozens of police officers with bullets and rocks, killed bystanders, and torched community centres, schools, and thousands of cars.
Basically, unemployed immigrants are more expected to carry out crimes than unemployed non-immigrants, given that the circumstances of immigrants are more unfavourable. However, taken as a whole crime rates are significantly and equally shared among immigrants and non-immigrant populations in France. Moreover, once economic circumstances of immigrants are classified, the percentage becomes inconsequential, indicating that immigrants are not more expected to perpetrate crimes than the rest of the populace. Conclusion
Throughout history, immigration has constantly had a significant impact on countries, their economies and societies. France has an extensive history of migration and, for years, there were social and economic disregards of the country’s enormous ethnic-minority population. Accordingly, it was no surprise that the consequences of unsystematic immigration occurred at a fast pace. Numerous immigrants have been linked to multitude of problems in present French society including areas in education, healthcare, housing and even crime rate.
However, closing the access on immigration could also bring about catastrophe in France, which over the upcoming decades will require larger human resources to sustain the country’s aging population. Apparently, overcoming the economic and social impact of immigrants poses the fundamental challenge for the French government and society. Therefore, future political responses, which have hardly left outside symbolic rules, need to concentrate more on the root causes of country’s immigration issues. Work Cited Engler, Marcus. “France. ” n. d. Focus Migration. 27 May 2009 <http://www. focus-migration. de/France. 1231. 0. html? &L=1>.
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