Amidst an upcoming immigration bill debate, conservative party Les Républicains (LR) in the French National Assembly aims to assert significant influence on immigration policy. The LR has put forth two major proposals during a crucial parliamentary session.
End of the 1968 Agreement
The first proposal is a resolution to terminate the 1968 agreement between France and Algeria. This historic agreement has typically provided Algerians with a unique status pertaining to movement, residency, and employment. It has fostered family reunification and allowed access to certain professions while imposing stricter requirements on student visas. In 2022 alone, 600,000 residency permits were issued to Algerian nationals under this agreement.
A New Constitutional Bill
The LR's second proposal is a constitutional bill that seeks to expand the scope of referendums to encompass immigration issues. This bill would empower France to deviate from international and European law, a provision presently restricted by agreements like the Schengen Accords.
The impending immigration bill, which the Senate has hardened, aims to expedite expulsions and regularize undocumented workers in sectors grappling with labor shortages. However, LR deputies express doubt about the bill's capacity to significantly curtail immigration without constitutional amendments. The chances of the constitutional proposal being passed are slim, as it was previously rejected in the law commission amid heated debates.
Nevertheless, the LR anticipates a moderated response from President Emmanuel Macron's majority in the upcoming debates. Despite this, they do not foresee any substantial concessions on the immigration bill, which they currently decline to endorse.