On Tuesday, legislators in the French parliament approved a bill that enforces tighter regulations on immigration.
President Emmanuel Macron encountered opposition from within his party as the bill garnered backing from the far-right National Rally (RN), headed by Marine Le Pen, sparking a rebellion.
But in the end, it passed through the lower house with votes from Macron’s centrist coalition and conservative lawmakers.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin — who had spearheaded the bill — expressed relief after a large majority voted in favor, meaning it no longer depended on the support from those far-right lawmakers.
The subject of immigration is a major political plank for the upcoming parliamentary elections. While the passing of the bill would have favored Macron, the support shown by Le Pen — who called the stricter bill “a great ideological victory” for the far-right — can also improve her chances in the elections.
What does the new immigration law entail?
Ever since the bill was first submitted, it has seen various amendments toughening the immigration rules, with the left accusing the government of giving in to the pressure from the far-right.
To make the legislation more agreeable for the right, the government decided to weaken measures that would have allowed some immigrants residency permits. The government also agreed to extend the duration of stay in France for migrants to be eligible to access welfare benefits.
With the new legislation, access to housing benefits will be also be delayed for unemployed non-EU migrants by five years.
In order to gain the support of the right, the government has also introduced migration quotas which will make it more difficult for immigrants’ children to become French.
While now it will be easier for migrants working in sectors that lack labour to get a residency permit, it will also be easier to expel illegal migrants.