Challenges and Solutions
Edited by Martin Kahanec and Klaus F. Zimmermann
Chapter 5: Social and Labor Market Integration of Ethnic Minorities in France: Has the French Integration Model Broken Down?
Denis Fougère INTRODUCTION For more than a century France has been an immigration country and was one of the first in Europe. At the end of the nineteenth century and up to the beginning of the First World War, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland provided France with immigrants mainly destined to work in the processing industries. In the years following the First World War, migration inflows increased significantly for demographic reasons and also because the USA had closed its doors to immigrants. They still came from Italy but also now from Poland and Czechoslovakia; and the arrival of refugees from various countries was a testimony to the political events which had shaken Europe at the time. In 1931 France had a greater proportion of foreign-born inhabitants than the USA (6.58 percent). With the ordinance of 2 November 1945, France established itself as a country of durable immigration for both workers and families. The ordinance, which is an executive order having the force of law, required a migrant worker to have either a promise of work or a contract. Men could be accompanied by wives and children, or the family could follow later. Thirty years later, in July 1974, the government of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing stopped the employment of new immigrant workers. The government of François Mitterrand elected in 1981 countered this policy first by granting amnesty to 130 000 foreigners living in France illegally and then by proposing a law creating a single residence permit of...
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