Skilled immigration: the effectiveness of talent passports questioned

Posted Feb 1 2023 at 11:21Updated Feb 1. 2023 at 15:07

The examination of the pension reform has barely started in the National Assembly, another file has fueled the political controversy. The immigration bill is presented this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers. On the economic side, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, as well as his colleague from Labour, Olivier Dussopt, are pushing for the revision of the procedure for regularizing undocumented migrants through work.

Another important modification could enrich the text, of parliamentary origin this time: the overhaul of the talent passports, supposed to promote the arrival on national soil of a qualified foreign workforce.

Four years and conditionally

As a reminder, talent passports were introduced in the law of March 7, 2016 relating to the rights of foreigners in France. They are valid for a period of four years, subject to qualifications, working conditions or professional experience in particular. The targets ? Qualified people, researchers, experts, artists or even investors.

After the air hole of the Covid crisis, the number of talent passports has started to rise again: nearly 11,950 in 2022 in first-issue excluding family reasons, an increase of 51% over one year, and 24% compared to 2019, before the pandemic, according to still provisional figures published on January 26 by the Ministry of the Interior. If we add those awarded for the renewal of another residence permit since 2018, there were more than 41,200 beneficiaries last year, two-thirds of employees and just under 30% of scientists.

The device can be improved, nevertheless considers the Renaissance deputy Marc Ferracci, who assumes the need for France to adopt an attractive strategy for skilled immigration. “The general opinion is that the talent passports are too complicated with different eligibility criteria for the ten categories”, deplores the parliamentarian. With another French deputy abroad, Christopher Weissberg, he is working to replace all of this with a single system based on the points principle, as in Canada.

Debated in Parliament, these points would be awarded according to the diploma, the sector which recruits, the experience and other criteria to be defined. The advantage? A candidate for immigration knows in advance how many points he has, and therefore whether or not he can claim to come and work in France, before submitting a file, argues Marc Ferracci. “Because the criteria are transparent, we limit the feeling of arbitrariness and we avoid confining the debates on immigration to the number of immigrants alone,” he adds.

“Rather encouraging”

Without being at the origin of this project, the government has given its agreement to instruct it on the technical plan and to deduce its level of feasibility. It is not unanimous. “We can always simplify, but I do not share the observation that the talent passport is complex to obtain”, advances Alexandre Gillioen, associate lawyer at the eponymous firm, which set up a dozen files last year. According to him, the number of permits issued “is quite encouraging” if we put this into perspective with the whole of professional immigration law in France.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *