French PM says France to 'take back control' on migration

  • French PM says France to 'take back control' on migration

French PM says France to 'take back control' on migration

Critics say the professional quota system is pointless as economic migrants only represented a tiny slice of the 256,000 people handed legal stay permits previous year.

In a major policy shift, authorities working with employers will identify industries lacking qualified candidates and facilitate the hiring of foreigners to fill the gap, Penicaud said.

Philippe confirmed that parliament would in future set annual sectoral "goals or quotas" on skilled migration from non-EU countries, similar to the systems in place in Canada and Australia.

Currently, employers have to explain why a French national can not be hired in a complex administrative process that resulted in around 33,000 economic migrants receiving visas previous year.

While France's unemployment remains at 8.5 per cent, there are shortages of people willing to accept low-paid work in construction, hotels and restaurants, and some retail sectors. The measure has always been sought by the country's right-wing parties.

The French government is expected to announce on Wednesday new rules to help economic immigration, according to cabinet sources quoted by local media on Tuesday. "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'.

"The overall sense of our action is sovereignty", Philippe said in a speech, echoing a term used by the far right.

Other measures to be unveiled by Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, today include suspending health care for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants for their first three months in the country.

Opinion polls show voters are anxious about the issue, driving support for far-right leader Marine Le Pen, likely to be Macron's main opponent in the next presidential election in 2022.

In the second quarter of this year, France received 28,575 asylum applications, or 426 per million inhabitants, according to Eurostat data.

France has also called for overhauling the EU's efforts to halt the surge of migrants fleeing conflict and misery in Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 2015. Macron also wants more European Union members to share the burden of admitting eligible migrants, which is opposed by several countries in Eastern and Central Europe.

But he sparked anger from Bulgaria's government last week after he said he wanted legal migrants from Guinea or Ivory Coast rather than "clandestine networks of Bulgarians and Ukrainians".