North African Students Deported from France

The eurozone and economic crises has pushed France to deport some of its students, who are North African descent. France’s objective of reducing the flow of immigration stems from its worry over the unemployment rate, which according to Google data, stands currently at 9.9%.

There, of course, could be setbacks for North African families already suffering from the economic crisis of their own back at home. They depend heavily on remittances from their family members abroad. But there is another side of the argument: that young students could return home to invest their skills and ideas in countries which are so desperate for a makeover of their economic infrastructure.

“France is Sending North African Graduates Home,” by Aida Alami, for the New York Times:

Nabil Sebti, a 25-year-old Moroccan graduate of HEC Paris, one of the best and most competitive business schools in Europe, has started two businesses in France, one while still a student and one just after graduation. Yet he found himself catapulted back to Morocco this year after being denied a work permit…

On May 31, Interior Minister Claude Guéant and Labor Minister Xavier Bertrand of France sent a memo — now called the “May 31 Circular” — to all prefectures in France, demanding a stricter application of the law regarding the status of foreign students applying for work permits and demanding a tightening of the number of permits issued…

Pierre-Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, said that while the objective was clearly to control legal immigration, it was not to systematically refuse work permits to foreigners. The new regulations would ensure that students were in France for serious studies and did not abuse education visas as a backdoor immigration route, he said.

“This circular simply asks officials to enforce an immigration law that was passed in 2006,” Mr. Brandet said in a phone interview. “Students eligible for a change of status must get a job in line with their studies. We are also concerned about not plundering the elites of others countries — these elites who are trained in France can contribute significantly to the development of their nations.”

Fawaz A. Gerges, director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, said that many foreign students were feeling a mission to return home and contribute to the reconstruction of their societies, despite the immediate uncertainties awaiting them.

“This is really a historic moment, many students can make a difference in their countries,” he said. “Most North African talents have left their countries while they are terribly needed. But the psychology and the mood have changed. There is a need to rejuvenate the civil society. These countries need technology, young minds who will help organize, establish businesses.”

In the long term, the French move will surely benefit the Maghreb economies, analysts say. But in the short term, with jobless rates among young, educated people in countries like Tunisia and Morocco approaching 20 percent, according to the most recent World Bank data, it will simply aggravate unemployment…

“On an economic level, the students, who number between 6,000 and 8,000, representing a tiny proportion of the French population, are prevented from investing in France and creating wealth, even though they are young, talented graduates and multilingual. It’s absurd,” he said. “On a more political level, it gives the image of a stunted France, which sees itself as a besieged citadel — a pretty unattractive place.”…

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2 Responses to North African Students Deported from France

  1. Pingback: France to Allow Jobs for Foreign Graduates | The Human Tsunami

  2. Pingback: The Blitzkrieg on Fake African Students | BJ Thoughts…

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