France PM says immigration bill could be revised to address religious concerns

[JURIST] French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin [official profile; BBC profile] expressed support Tuesday for a proposed immigration law [JURIST report; legislative materials], but indicated that its language could be amended after meeting over the weekend with leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches in France, who oppose the bill. The National Assembly [official website, English version] will first consider the measure Tuesday afternoon, but religious and left-wing critics of the bill [JURIST report] worry that it will stifle the humane treatment of poor immigrants and change France's reputation as a country that offers shelter for those who have been persecuted in their home countries.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, English version; BBC profile], the bill's primary sponsor, says that the proposed law would allow France to be selective in choosing skilled workers rather than accept any immigrant who tries to enter the country. The bill would grant three-year working papers for highly qualified immigrants, make it more difficult to obtain residency by marriage, and would eliminate the automatic granting of long-term resident permits to immigrants who live in France for 10 years. Reuters has more. Le Monde has local coverage.

 

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