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France parliament passes tough immigration bill

[JURIST] The upper chamber of the French parliament [Senate website, in French] adopted a controversial immigration bill [draft text; JURIST news archive] Friday after the French National Assembly [official website, English version] voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure [JURIST report] last month. The bill [legislative information, in French] makes it more difficult for unskilled workers to gain access to the country since a "skills and talents" requirement is necessary to get a residency permit. The measure also eliminates the right of illegal immigrants to automatically stay in France after living there for 10 years and mandates that migrants must learn French and sign a contract promising to respect the French way of life.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile; official profile, in French] was a strong advocate for the bill [JURIST report], saying that France needs to select the immigrants it needs and that the measure would bring France more in line with other countries. The new law has been criticized by many people from France's former African colonies, including Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade [official website, in French; BBC profile], because citizens from these countries make up a great deal of France's immigrant population. BBC News has more.

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