France unveils steps to 'take back control' of immigration

How France plans to toughen the rules on immigration

How France plans to toughen the rules on immigration

This is part of President Emmanuel Macron's government action to strive to strengthen immigration policies in response to right-wing criticism, AFP reported.

She did not say how many foreign workers would be granted visas, nor if an applicant's nationality would be taken into account, a proposal floated by the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, last month.

Starting next year, authorities and bosses will earmark industries in need of qualified staff and make it easier to hire foreigners to fill the gap, said Labour minister Muriel Penicaud.

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 told BFMTV news channel.

"This is about France hiring based on its needs, similar to what is done in Canada or Australia", Ms Penicaud said.

Currently, employers have to take part in a complex administrative process and justify why a French citizen can not be hired for a position they intend to give to a foreign worker needing a visa.

"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".

"We want to take back control of our migration policy", Philippe said at a press conference, unveiling a series of measures which he said aimed to strengthen France's "sovereignty".

It is not clear so far whether these measures would be more attractive or repulsive to the country's potential immigrants, as now, French employers have to go through a lengthy and complicated administrative process to hire non-French citizens.

Analysts say Macron's prime political rival in the run-up to 2022 presidential elections remains the far-right National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen.

In the second quarter of this year, France received 28,575 asylum applications, or 426 per million inhabitants, according to Eurostat data. It will also include measures to withhold medical care to newly arrived asylum seekers for up to three months. France also called for a review of European Union efforts to stem the flow of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and Africa since 2015. Macron also got into hot water with Bulgarian politicians last week, after the president argued that France was willing to accept migrants from Guinea or the Ivory Coast, rather than "clandestine networks of Bulgarians and Ukrainians".