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France Unveils New Immigration Law: Key Provisions and Implications

France Unveils New Immigration Law: Key Provisions and Implications

Paris, January 27, 2024 - The French government has implemented a new immigration law to enhance control over foreign workers' stays in France and ensure compliance. The immediate effect of this law brings significant changes, particularly in the realm of work-related residence permits. Below are the essential modifications:

New Residence Permit for Medical Professionals

  • Overview: A novel immigration pathway is designed specifically for professional non-EU medics.
  • Permit Duration: Medical professionals, including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and midwives, can obtain a four-year renewable residence permit.
  • Eligibility: Specific requirements for eligibility will be clarified in due course.

How does the new immigration law compare to previous versions?

The new French immigration law is more challenging, moving towards stricter policies. Here's a quick overview:

  • Stricter Rules: It's now more challenging for international students and workers to come to France, a change from the more open policies of the past.
  • Social Benefits: The law makes it harder for immigrants to get social welfare, linking it to whether they have a job.
  • Migration Quotas: For the first time, the law limits how many immigrants France will accept, tightening control over immigration numbers.
  • Family Rules: New rules make bringing family members to France harder, requiring more extended stays, stable income, and health insurance.
  • Public Reaction: The law led to protests and criticism, showing it's more controversial than previous laws. The Constitutional Council also rejected parts of it, questioning its fairness and how it was passed.

New immigration law in France

  • France's Constitutional Council invalidated significant sections of a new immigration law, dubbed the "Darmanin law," on January 25, 2024, for being unconstitutional.
  • The law, supported by the far right, faced opposition for its stringent measures against immigrants.
  • The Council dismissed 32 of the law's 86 articles, mainly due to procedural issues and the content's conflict with the Constitution.
  • Notable rejections included:
    • Restrictions on access to social benefits for immigrants, linking them to employment status.
    • Introduction of migration quotas to limit the number of immigrants, excluding asylum seekers.
    • Stricter family reunification rules require more extended residency, regular income, and health insurance.
  • Approximately 75,000 people protested nationwide against the law before the Council's decision.
  • The legislation was criticised for yielding to far-right pressure and potentially infringing on constitutional rights.

Limits on Renewal of Temporary Residence Permits

  • Scope: The renewal of specific temporary residence permits, including the "salarié" permit and some family-based permits, is now subject to limitations.
  • Restrictions: Holders of these permits can extend them up to three times.
  • Alternatives: Individuals who have exhausted their three renewals can explore other residence permit categories if they meet the eligibility criteria.

French language skills needed for long-term stay permits

  • Language Proficiency: Applicants for multi-year residence permits (excluding "Talent Passport" or "ICT" permit applicants) must demonstrate proficiency in the French language.
  • Changes: A shift from proving language-learning efforts to showcasing a specified level of French knowledge is implemented.
  • Further Clarification: The specific level of French proficiency required will be detailed in subsequent announcements.

Applying for a visa under the new immigration law in France

 Documents needed for the new visa application include:

  • Three long-stay visa forms
  • Three passport photos
  • A valid passport
  • Visa application fee
  • A letter explaining why you need a return visa
  • Proof of French address (like a utility bill)

Residence Permit for Regularization of Undocumented Workers

  • Introduction: A new one-year renewable residence permit is introduced for undocumented foreign nationals working in sectors facing labour shortages.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must have lived in France for three years and been employed for at least 12 months.
  • National Shortage Occupation List: The permit allows individuals to work in jobs listed on the national shortage occupation list.


The new immigration law in France reflects a proactive effort to control foreign workers' stays and enhance compliance, focusing on targeted workforce needs and refining immigration policies for efficiency. Introducing specific permits and language requirements demonstrates a strategic approach to regulation and addressing labour shortages.


How does the new law affect medical professionals from non-EU countries?

Medical professionals, including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and midwives, now have a dedicated four-year renewable residence permit pathway.

Are there limitations on renewing specific temporary residence permits?

Individuals holding permits such as "salarié" or specific family-based licenses can no longer renew them more than three times.

What is the language proficiency requirement for multi-year residence permits?

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in French, with specific levels to be clarified.

Who is eligible for the new residence permit for regularising undocumented workers?

Undocumented foreign nationals living in France for three years and employed for the last 12 months can apply for this new permit.

Is the information provided legal advice?

No, the information serves general purposes only. For legal advice, please contact Roberta Carnaccini (Global Director of Immigration) and Sabrina Crespo (Team Leader, EMEA).

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