Immigrants may have to take language tests

25th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2005, PARIS - Immigrants may in future have to pass a language test if they want long-term residence permits in France, Catherine Vautrin, the state secretary for social cohesion and women's rights, announced on Friday.

25 July 2005

PARIS - Immigrants may in future have to pass a language test if they want long-term residence permits in France, Catherine Vautrin, the state secretary for social cohesion and women's rights, announced on Friday.

Speaking at an immigration centre in the south-western city of Lyon, Vautrin said that the government wanted to "link" linguistic competence to the granting of a ten-year residence permit.

"We want to encourage as much as possible the integration of new arrivals," she said in remarks quoted by the British daily The Guardian. "At present there is no language requirement, and I believe one is necessary. What interests us is successful immigration, and behind language lies employment, accommodation, everything."

Immigrants to France are required to sign a 'Welcome and Integration Contract', which was introduced three years ago to impress upon immigrants that France is an "indivisible, secular and social" state, as well as making French attitudes to religion and gender equality clear.

According to officials, the document, which entitles immigrants to 500 hours of non-obligatory French lessons and a two-day civic education course, has been signed by around 90 percent of immigrants granted a French residence permit.

"Language is a problem," Vautrin said. "Only 60 percent of new arrivals take lessons and it's not enough.

"For married women in particular it's important. To live their lives in France they have to be independent, and the first condition of independence is to be able to speak our language."

Copyright Expatica News 2005

Subject: French news

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