What is the change? President Emmanuel Macron’s government has announced plans to establish a new quota system for immigrant workers.

What does the change mean? Officials have framed the idea as a way to tie the country’s immigration system to its economic needs, with spots for non-EU workers being made available in shortage occupations. They have not yet announced how many spots will be available or which jobs will be included.

  • Implementation time frame: Summer 2020.
  • Process affected: Work authorization.
  • Who is affected: Employers and non-EU workers planning to work in France, especially in shortage occupations. Officials have said the system will include both low- and high-skilled job sectors.
  • Next steps: The plan must be approved by Parliament before it can take effect.

Background: While many details are still unavailable, Macron’s government has said the system will be similar to the immigration systems of Australia and Canada and will prioritize filling jobs that regularly remain unfilled by French workers. The list of shortage occupations will be developed between now and next summer and would be updated annually to keep pace with the country’s economic needs.

Analysis & Comments: While the system could make recruiting non-EU nationals for some jobs more difficult, it could make it easier for other positions because in some cases employers will not need to complete the lengthy process of proving that there are no French workers available for the job. More information will be provided as the government moves toward implementing the quota system next summer.

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