[JURIST] The French National Assembly [official website] voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to tighten immigration requirements for unskilled workers. The Senate [official website] is expected to consider the bill [JURIST document; legislative information] next month. If adopted, the measure would allow only highly qualified immigrants from outside the EU to obtain a renewable "skills and talents" residency permit. Such immigrants would have to agree to learn French, and their families would wait longer to get their own residency cards.
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile; official profile] said more selective immigration would align France with other countries. Opposition parties and human rights groups such as SOS Rascisme [advocacy website] have criticized the bill as discriminatory. Last weekend, more than 10,000 people marched through Paris [JURIST report] to protest the legislation. The issue of immigration has become especially sensitive [JURIST report] in France in the wake of rioting [JURIST report] started by immigrant youth that broke out in Paris and elsewhere in the country last October and lasted some three weeks. BBC News has more. Le Monde has local coverage.