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The Impact of Immigration Policies on French Firms. Summary note and recommendations Etude de l'Ifri, June 2015

Since the 1970’s, French immigration policies have targeted migrant workers. The first action taken to control migration flows concerned this category of migrants: in 1974, amidst an acute economic crisis, all labour migration programmes were stopped in France. Thus were immigration and unemployment linked. At the beginning of the 2000’s, political orientations began to change. The notion of selective immigration (“immigration choisie”) was coined to describe a policy geared towards attracting migrants as a way of responding to labour market needs. This expression fell into disuse after the presidential election of 2012, but the objective of an immigration policy concerned with the “attractiveness of our country”, along with the “fight against illegal immigration1”, was retained.

While this policy aims to respond to the needs of economic actors, in the context of a globalised and competitive economy, French firms have been only marginally involved and consulted in its definition and implementation. Likewise, the consequences that immigration policies could have on firms have not been considered. How does the recruitment of foreign workers take place in French firms? What impact do immigration policies, i.e. the rules determining the conditions of entry and stay of foreigners in France, have on HR and recruitment processes in firms? On their economic objectives?

The Center for Migrations and Citizenship of the French institute for international relations (Ifri) initiated a research programmes on these issues in 2011. The research carried out so far suggests the following conclusions:

· Administrative procedures to recruit a foreign worker are not adapted to the way firms function. They obstruct recruitment processes at all stages.

· Administrative and business logics clash when it comes to the reception of foreign workers.

· Firms play a central role in the socio-economic integration of foreign workers.

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