A new Bill aiming to overhaul immigration has sparked controversy in France. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy wants to introduce a selective system that would attract skilled workers ready to embrace the country’s values and traditions. He has rejected accusations of xenophobia.
“I advocate, with the government, a policy of selective immigration. And I ask this question – why is France the only country in the world that doesn’t have the right to choose immigrants for whom it has a job and accommodation to offer? Canada, Britain, Italy, Germany, they all do it,” he explained. Sarkozy has been accused of trying to attract the far-right vote as France looks to presidential elections in a year’s time. A woman interviewed by French television who is one of the up to 400,000 in illegal immigrants in the country said she would love to be welcomed into the system. “It’s my dream to have my papers, to be a French citizen like everyone else, to be able to go out at any time of day like everyone else, work like everyone else, bring something to the country like everyone else,” she said. The new law would make it tougher for immigrants to bring their relatives to France, and end the automatic right to a residence permit after 10 years.