NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 25, 2007

Last week, the French National Assembly approved tough new restrictions on immigration, completing a major step in President Nicolas Sarkozy's program to roll up a famously well-trodden welcome mat, says the Washington Times.

Under the bill (which still needs Senate approval and a second vote in the Assembly):

  • Would-be immigrants must now demonstrate knowledge of the French language and cultural values.
  • Its would also provide for voluntary DNA testing of applicants seeking to show they are related to current French residents and legalize some data gathering based on race and ethnicity.

France's choosier approach toward immigration is reflected elsewhere in Europe, where countries are turning away boatloads of poor Africans while trying to attract better-qualified foreign workers:

  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently introduced a new immigration policy very similar to that of Sarkozy's, requiring that new immigrants first learn to speak English and throwing up barriers to unskilled applicants.
  • The policies are expected to reduce the number of people entering Britain by at least 35,000 a year.
  • EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini, noting that the 27-member European Union attracts only 5 percent of skilled migrants compared with 55 percent who head for the United States, has vowed to make reforms.

"Immigration has been a major concern in almost every European society," said Hugo Brady, a research fellow at the Center for European Reform, in London.  "But at the point where European societies are so anxious about the issue, economists and others say we're going to need 20 million more immigrants in the next 50 years."

Source: Elizabeth Bryant, "Immigration restrictions OK'd in France," Washington Times, September 21, 2007.


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