Historic rise in immigration to France driven by students and job needs

Immigration in France is on the rise.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
02 February 2023 Thursday 04:36
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Historic rise in immigration to France driven by students and job needs

Immigration in France is on the rise. In 2022, the neighboring country issued more than 320,000 new residence permits, which represents an increase of more than 17% compared to 2021, according to figures published by the French Ministry of the Interior this January and collected by the newspaper Le Monde. The increase is very significant in the last ten years: in 2012 approximately 200,000 permits were granted.

The two main factors that explain this exponential increase are the labor needs of the country and, secondly, the greater arrival of foreign students. In total, in France, 3.8 million foreigners have a residence permit. Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and the Ivory Coast top the list of countries of origin.

These figures follow the upward trend of other countries in the French environment. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany issued nearly 540,000 new residence permits in 2021 for a population of 83 million inhabitants, and Canada, more than 400,000 for 40 million inhabitants. Of the new residence permits issued, a majority (approximately 108,000) correspond to students, while, in second place, are the permits granted to relatives of people who had already obtained residence. However, the record increase in 2022 is explained by the arrival of students but also by the increase in new labor immigrants.

According to Interior figures, more than 52,000 permits were granted for economic reasons, mainly to permanent workers and, to a lesser extent, temporary workers. In 2021, there were some 36,000 permits issued, while in 2020, they were around 26,000. "Economic immigration grew by 45% in one year, something that is explained by the needs of our economy and a policy of attracting talent", highlights the French Director General of Immigration, Eric Jalon, in statements to the Parisian newspaper. In fact, part of this increase is also explained by the issuance of permits specially granted to highly qualified workers in strategic sectors. Specifically, 18,000 permits of this type were granted in 2022, an increase of 44.5% compared to 2021.

Student immigration also grew significantly in 2022 (22.8%). With more than 108,000 titles issued, it passes for the first time in front of family immigration (90,000).

In any case, the proportion of labor immigration has never been so high in all flows (16%), despite the fact that it is still below the average for OECD countries (18%). For the first time, it is ahead of immigration for humanitarian reasons (close to 40,500 titles issued in 2022), although these statistics do not take into account Ukrainian refugees, 109,000 currently in France and who have provisional residence permits for six months , and with the possibility of renewal.

Along the same lines, regularizations of people without papers have also been increasing. Specifically, the situation of more than 34,000 people has been regularized in 2022, representing an increase of 29%. Of the total, some 11,000 people obtained papers for work reasons.