Despite labor shortages, professional immigration remains complicated

It was to be the liberal counterpart of the safe turn. At the end of the parliamentary debate organized in October 2019 on immigration, at the request of Emmanuel Macron, the government unveiled a series of predominantly repressive measures, aimed at “Take back control” migratory flows. Among them, the modernization of professional immigration policy should on the contrary facilitate the recruitment of foreigners for employers in need of labor. “We have never been so far in terms of economic immigration”, assured Matignon. Two years later, what about this promise?

The steps that an employer must take to obtain a work permit when he wants to hire a foreigner have been dematerialized and simplified. The list of so-called “shortage” occupations – for which the employer does not need to prove that he has not succeeded in filling the post in France – has also been updated (it had not been since. 2008). In an April decree, we thus find new lists of trades by region, including bodybuilder, pork butcher, surveyor, construction engineer, plumber or even insurance technician.

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If it is too early to quantify the effects of the reform, all the more so in the context of the health crisis which has turned the displacement of people and the economy upside down, the Ministry of the Interior assures us that it is a true ” Leap Forward “. “It’s a major structural transformation, supports Jean-Christophe Dumont, economist and expert on international migration at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We have to see how all this is implemented, but if employers are aware and have real needs, this should translate into more residence permits ”.

“A hyperselective discourse”

This point of view is not unanimous, however. “It’s an announcement effect, sweeps Hillel Rapoport, professor at the Paris School of Economics and migration specialist. Many countries have practiced shortage occupations lists and this raises two problems. First, there is a disconnect between these bureaucratic lists and the needs of the economy, which change quickly. Second, I don’t think immigration should be employer-initiated and trade-based. Anglo-Saxon countries bring in people for what they are, their level of education, their human capital, their active integration process. We do not lock people into a profession. “ In his book, Rethinking immigration in France. An economic point of view (Rue d’Ulm, 2018), M. Rapoport invites us to get rid of a Malthusian vision and to “Rethinking immigration as a positive contribution”.

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