Immigrants in France Problems

Immigrants in France Problems


Immigrants in France have been facing difficulties in different forms for a very long time now. The topic of immigrants is always at the core of political debate in France. Before delving deeper into the details, it is important to know that France has a long colonial history. Being a colonial power France ruled over several nations, especially in Africa from where a large influx of immigrant population comes.

There have been demographic studies carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. The report was termed “Immigrants and Descendants of Immigrants in France”. It was mentioned in the report that the share of the immigrant population since1968 till 2021 increased from 6.5% to 10.3%. This immigration growth rate is still comparatively low as compared to Germany and the UK.


Immigration debate is not new, rather it has been in discussion since the 19th century. But a more prominent breakdown occurred in the 1970s when unemployment rose, and economic slowdown was seen. This not only further aggravated the situation but also gave an impetus to the far-right politicians to find their feet. Jean-Marie Le Pen championed the immigrant cause in 2002 and interestingly reached the second round of the presidential election.

Being a champion of liberal values and diversity, French people have always found it difficult to co-exist with the immigrants. Far rightists have found the immigrants a threat to the French identity and called on the government for concrete steps. Therefore, the immigrants in France had to face a plethora of problems in their daily lives.


Policy Issues:

The most basic issue that immigrants in France face is the change in policies after every 2-3 years. And more importantly these policy changes are only immigrants centric, this is clearly racism in policy making. This is turn lead to more regulations and difficulties in enjoying their basic rights.

Immigrants in France are also a soft target for the political actors in France. Recent Immigration policies changes bill by the Macron government introduced on February 1, 2023, is also seen as a restrictive measure by the pro-immigrants. Moreover, the far-right parties openly hold campaigns against the immigrants.


Another important issue that immigrants face is the unavailability of jobs in most parts of the country. Although the French government encourages job opportunities for the skilled and educated, this has not been the case of immigrants. Despite being skillful and having a higher education degree, almost 45%, they remain unemployed. The high unemployment rates of the immigrants resulted in their low standard of living and contributed to economic challenges.

Police Killings:

The most recent killing of the 17-year-old, Nahel M, belonging to a French-Algerian family is very alarming. This shows that the immigrants are also at a risk of being killed by the police due to their social status. This case is not the only one as according to The Guardian 13 such shootings were reported. More importantly the victims of these shootings were mostly immigrants.

Integration Issues:

Social acceptability is another widespread issue faced by the immigrants in France. The French people have struggled to integrate with the immigrants and have the us vs them public attitude towards the immigrants. People of France hold their own values near and dear to them and consider others as inferior or less important. The immigrants are always accused of being “not French enough”.

Disparity among Immigranst:

Even the immigrants have to face disparity in policies sometimes on the part of the government. Some immigrants who make a name for themselves and for France are proudly endorsed as being French. However, on the other hand the ones who are average immigrants are not treated the same way. The French football team after winning the world cup is a prime example of this selective immigration.

Issues of legal Immigrants:

People who are born and raised in France but are a product of a multiethnic marriage face issues. They are also termed as immigrants despite being legal citizens according to data collected by the French census. Anyone having non-French values or orientation is considered an immigrant. So, legal immigrants also face almost the same integration issues as other immigrants face.


Diversifying immigration and government reforms are needed to eradicate this core issue. Moreover, public misperception regarding immigration also needs to be changed to make a society equally acceptable. The social and economic costs of this disparity is a major burden on France and its generations to come.



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