Source: ICMC Europe, Welcome to Europe! A Comprehensive Guide to Resettlement, 2013
The Welcome to Europe France country chapter is available here for download.
Pledges under the new resettlement programme as of 7 March 2018: 10,200
Number of persons resettled under the 50,000 scheme: 584 as of 7 March 2018.
Pledges under the 20 July 2015 resettlement scheme: 2,375. 3,910 were resettled as of 7 March 2018.
Number of persons resettled under the EU-Turkey Statement: 1,394, between March 2016 and 7 March 2018.
Number of persons resettled in 2016 (rounded): 1,420
Nationality: Syria (1,190), Iraq (65), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (25), Eritrea (20), Somalia (20), Sri Lanka (20), Ethiopia (10), Rwanda (10), Iran (10), Palestine (10), the Central African Republic (5), Sudan (5), Côte d’Ivoire (5), and Afghanistan (5).
For further information, please visit the website of France’s Ministry of Interior and of the French Office for the Protection or Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA).
[A1]In 2008, France signed a Framework Agreement with UNHCR establishing an annual resettlement programme. Under the Agreement, France committed to examining approximately 100 resettlement applications every year. In both 2014 and 2015, France agreed to receive 500 Syrians and Palestinians from Syria residing in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt (Humanitarian Admission Programme). I could not find figures on 2016 pledges. Programme de Réinstallation et d’admission Humanitaire en France. Qu’est-Ce qui Fonctionne?, European Migration Network, 2016.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort is made to ensure that information on this website is accurate and up-to-date, it should be noted that the information in this section is largely based on ICMC Europe’s 2013 Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive Guide to Resettlement.
Start of annual quota: 2008
Current quota: 100 dossier cases per year
Main national actors: Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII), French Office for Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), Forum Réfugiés-Cosi (FRC), France Terre d’Asile (FTDA), Adoma, Entraide Pierre Valdo, ISARD-COS, selected regional and local authorities.
|Year||Dossiers submitted||Accepted (nr. of persons)||Arrivals - Annual resettlement programme||Total arrivals per year (all annual programmes included)||Nationality ⇒ Country of asylum of largest groups|
Syrians ⇒ Jordan, Lebanon
Afghans ⇒ Iran, Pakistan
Somalis ⇒ Kenya
|2013||100||Processing ongoing||N/A||107||Varied caseload|
|2012||115||Processing ongoing||8||90||Varied caseload|
|2011||105||142||66||55||Afghans, Palestinians, Congolese (DRC)|
|2010||100||149||130||203||Ethiopians, Afghans, Congolese (DRC)|
|2009||101||151||150||159||Palestinians in Iraq|
Since 2010, the number of arrivals has declined. Although the Ministry of Interior has not slowed down the examination of dossiers, arrivals of accepted persons have been delayed. Resettlement arrivals amounted to 55 in 2011 (3 persons from the 2008 caseload, 51 from the 2010 caseload and 1 from the 2011 caseload) and 90 persons in 2012 (37 from the 2010 caseload and 53 from the 2011 caseload).
|UNHCR Submission categories considered for resettlement|
X Legal and physical protection needs
X Survivors of violence and torture
X Medical Needs
X Women and girls at risk
X Children and adolescents at risk
X Lack of foreseeable alternative solutions
|UNHCR Priority levels accepted (with sub-quota where applicable)|
X Emergency maximum 7 days between submission and resettlement
X Urgent maximum 6 weeks between submission and resettlement
X Normal maximum 12 months between submission and resettlement
France's resettlement programme
France has been involved in ad-hoc resettlement since 1957, resettling refugees from Hungary (12,700), 'boat people' from Vietnam (100,000) and refugees from Kosovo (6,300).
Although the Code on the Entry and Stay of Aliens and Asylum (2004) contains some provisions relevant to refugee resettlement, there is no specific reference to resettlement in the national asylum law and no explicit legal basis for resettlement in France. The framework for the French resettlement is provided by a Framework Agreement between UNHCR and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, signed in 2008. This agreement sets out the structure for the national resettlement programme and stipulates that UNHCR will submit 100 dossier cases for consideration by the French government each year. The Framework Agreement with UNHCR automatically renews each year.
In addition to cases resettled under the agreement with UNHCR, France has also received resettled refugees under a separate 2008 ad-hoc agreement with UNHCR known as the ‘Irak 500’ programme. In 2008-9, France resettled 1,200 Iraqis under the agreement in response to a call by the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council. In 2011, France informed UNHCR of its willingness to consider refugees ex-Libya from Shousha camp in Tunisia as a response to the UNHCR and EU call. At the time of writing, out of the 3 cases submitted by UNHCR, one refugee has been accepted and the remaining two cases are still being considered.
In addition to resettlement, during 2009-2011 France relocated 190 persons from Malta under the 2009 pilot project on relocation and the 2010-11 EUREMA I programme. France does not participate in EUREMA II.
A refugee must have been recognised as such by UNHCR under Articles 6 and 7 of its mandate but not on a prima facie basis. Even though the Code on the Entry and Stay of Aliens and Asylum Right contains some provisions which may be relevant to refugee resettlement, to-date there is still no formal law regarding resettlement in France.
Criteria relating to integration: None
France only selects refugees for resettlement on a dossier basis, and does not carry out resettlement selection missions. UNHCR forwards dossier submissions to the Asylum Service of the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for considering cases and making final decisions in consultation with other ministerial services (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OFPRA and security services). Decisions are normally taken within 6 months, and the Asylum Service pays special attention to the absence of local integration and protection prospects in the first country of asylum, vulnerable cases, victims of violence and those with medical needs.
On arrival into France, resettled refugees are granted temporary leave to remain for six months, giving them the right to work and receive other related social benefits. Resettled refugees are required to formally lodge an asylum claim with the National Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA). To do so, resettled refugees complete an asylum application form with the assistance of a social worker. The asylum claims of resettled refugees are examined via an accelerated procedure. Refugee status is generally granted within 2-6 months of application, and the initial temporary residence permit is renewable if the asylum procedure is not completed within 6 months. French NGOs have consistently advocated for an acceleration of this procedure so as to speed up refugee access to integration programmes and social benefits, which a lack of permanent legal status can complicate. Upon the transfer of refugee status, resettled refugees receive a long-term residence permit automatically renewed every 10 years.
Resettled refugees can apply for French citizenship as soon as refugee status is granted. Applicants must demonstrate their 'assimilation' into French society through an interview with an officer from the préfecture, during which they must prove their integration into French society, notably by showing support for principles and values of the French Republic. After the interview, applicants must sign the ‘Charter of the Rights and Duties of the French Citizen’.
Immigrants in France who wish to attain citizenship may do so after living in the territory for at least 5 years. Refugees however, may apply for citizenship upon receiving their refugee status (or transfer of status) in France.Applicants for citizenship must also demonstrate basic knowledge of French history, culture and society, and provide proof of a command of French equivalent to at least B1 level oral French.
Besides married partners, children until 19 and parents of children under 19, other eligible family members are unmarried partners, if they have the same nationality as the applicant and if the partnership was mentioned to OFPRA during the asylum procedure. There is no requirement for refugees to prove financial resources or access to accommodation sufficient to meet the needs of incoming family members.
How is information transferred between selection and reception of refugees in order to prepare for their arrival?
How is information transferred for specific needs (medical or other)?
If a specific need is identified, including a medical need, the Ministry of Interior and OFII contact NGOs in charge of the reception process to inform them of the type of accommodation required to meet these needs, for example ground floor accommodation, access to an elevator, proximity to a hospital and so on. NGOs are responsible for locating suitable accommodation, in partnership with regional and local authorities.
Cultural orientation: There is no pre-departure CO programme. In 2009, IOM and FRC developed an information booklet about the resettlement programme and life in France. The booklet is given to some refugees resettled under the national programme prior to their departure, although in practice many refugees do not receive the booklet.
Medical exam: IOM
Travel arrangements: IOM
OFII distributes refugees to one of the five regional/local resettlement programmes operating in France (see table below) on their arrival into the country. In some cases, refugees not due to stay in Paris in the long term may spend a few days in the Créteil transit centre while waiting to be transferred to programmes in other areas.
|Paris||France Terre d'Asile (FTDA)||FTDA meet refugees at Paris airport and accompany them to the FTDA-managed Créteil transit centre.|
|Lyon & Rhône-Alpes||Forum Réfugiés-Cosi (FRC)||Forum Réfugiés-Cosi meet refugees upon their arrival in Lyon.|
|Pau||ISARD-COS||ISARD-COS meet refugees upon their arrival in Pau.|
|Besançon||Adoma||Adoma meet refugees upon their arrival in Besançon.|
All programmes share some common approaches to reception, notably including the use of temporary or medium-term accommodation for a short period after arrival.
Those resettled to Paris, for example, spend a few days in the transit centre in Créteil while more permanent accommodation is located. In Lyon, the NGO Forum Réfugiés-Cosi (FRC) aims to provide resettled refugees with long-term independent housing directly on arrival. Although increasingly successful in achieving this aim, FRC still accommodates some families, mostly urgent cases that arrive with minimal notice and for whom long-term accommodation is not immediately available, in a temporary accommodation centre (CPH) also used to accommodate other refugees.
In Pau, ISARD COS runs a CPH that offers 20 places for resettled refugees, with capacity for 16 families (in apartments) and four single people (in studios). Refugees can spend renewable 6-month periods in the CPH until a long-term housing solution is found for them. In Besançon, Adoma supplies 20 places in apartments to resettled refugees for a temporary period of 7 to 8 months.
In France, the availability of permanent housing for recognised refugees is scarce, and finding places for resettled refugees is subsequently very challenging. The placement of refugees is overseen by OFII, in cooperation with the Asylum Service of the Ministry of the Interior, which consults on available places with reception facility operators as soon as refugees have been accepted for resettlement, and places resettled refugees in one of the five resettlement programmes according to availability.
Each programme provides resettled refugees with medium-term, temporary housing and assistance to find a permanent housing solution. In Lyon, the Accelair programme implemented by a partnership led by FRC provides refugees with individual housing tied to a programme of integration support. Since 2003, housing agencies of the Rhône department have committed to supplying housing for 250 refugees in the Accelair programme each year. Forum Réfugiés signs the lease for the first few months of the tenancy, which is later transferred to the refugee(s).
In Paris, the Network for the Integration of Resettled Refugees ('Réseau pour l'intégration des réinstallés') project implemented by FTDA assists resettled refugees to find individual housing as soon as possible after their arrival. In contrast to Accelair, the Réseau project has a stock of temporary individual housing units, both private and social, where refugees can stay for renewable six-month periods while waiting for a long-term housing solution (See 'Highlight', below).
On arrival into France, all resettled refugees attend an interview with OFII, at which their oral and written French ability is tested. If the refugee’s level of French is deemed insufficient, they are obliged to attend a maximum of 400 hours of free French classes. All refugees must attend 'Living in France', a single civic orientation class (6-7 hours) focusing on the values of the French Republic (secularism, gender equality, fundamental freedoms, and education system) and the organisation and functioning of the French State and institutions. At the end of the interview, refugees must sign a reception and integration contract with the French state confirming that they will attend specified language classes and the civic class.
While there is no separate integration programme for refugees resettled to France, within each of the city/regional resettlement programmes, resettled refugees benefit from individualised NGO assistance in navigating administrative processes, and finding employment (together with support to find housing). NGO assistance is partly funded by the Ministry of Interior and by the ERF.
As other French citizens, resettled refugees are eligible to access the monthly Active Solidarity Income financial payment and receive global medical coverage.
Municipalities do not play a formal role in the integration process, and no specific financial support is provided to municipalities additional to the funding provided for the reception and housing programmes run by NGOs. Regions and/or departments have specific tasks with regard to providing social housing, for refugees as for the general French population.
Refugees living in the Rhône department or in a CPH in Rhône-Alpes are eligible for support from the Accelair programme for the first 12 months after refugee status is granted. The programme is delivered by a partnership led by FRC with OFII, local and regional authorities and civil society organisations providing services for refugees, and has assigned a specific caseworker for resettled refugees within the broader framework of support for all refugees.
|Persons resettled using 2012 ERF funding|
Persons resettled under a Regional Protection Programme
X Unaccompanied minors – 3 refugees
X Women and children at risk; particularly from psychological physical or sexual violence or exploitation - 19 refugees
X Persons with serious medical needs that can only be addressed through resettlement – 7 refugees
|Pledges made to resettle under ERF specific categories for 2013|
X Persons resettled from a country or region designated for the implementation of a Regional Protection Programme
X Women and children at risk
X Unaccompanied minors
X Survivors of torture and violence
Persons with serious medical needs that can only be addressed through resettlement
X Persons in need of emergency resettlement or urgent resettlement for legal or physical protection needs
|Pledges made to resettle under ERF resettlement common EU priorities for 2013|
|France did not pledge to resettle under the 2013 common EU priorities.|
The Framework Agreement on resettlement between the French Government and UNHCR stipulated that the two parties would together complete a joint assessment of the French resettlement programme during the third year of its operation. The assessment was thus due in mid-2012 but, at the time of writing, has not yet been completed. The French government and UNHCR hold an annual working group on resettlement each year to discuss and review the French programme.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, priorities for the resettlement programme during 2013 are to clear the 2010-2011 arrival backlog of approximately 50 persons and to work with reception actors to improve communication and cooperation.