This feasibility study focuses on private sponsorships as a complementary pathway for admission of refugees to the EU. It represents the second phase of the ERN+ project research, which started in 2017.
The study describes how complementary pathways for refugee admission in France have progressively developed. France has considerably expanded its offer of legal pathways since 2015. They are mostly ‘bottom-up’ and ad-hoc initiatives that are based on the longstanding government practice to issue long-stay visas with a view to the recipient then requesting international protection in France. Although these initiatives have not been formalised, they provide the grounds for further developing a sustainable private sponsorship programme, complementary to the resettlement programmes, and that fully take into account the protection needs of refugees.
While the feasibility study suggests a model for France aiming at offering added value for the reception system in France while ensuring complementarity with other pathways for refugee admission, it is recognised that private sponsorship takes place within a specific national context. However, the main outcome of this study is that the scope of private sponsorship and the division of roles between private and public actors should be clearly defined in order to be sustainable and effective in addressing refugee needs. This outcome applies to France and other countries alike.