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FRANCE: Requirements Eased for Naturalization

After several months of implementation of the Circular of October 16, 2012, the Interior Minister proposed in the Circular of June 21, 2013, to relax the criteria for naturalization. The Interior Minister drew the attention of Prefects to three points in particular: employability, the conduct of the applicant, and the absence of the offense of aid to undocumented foreign nationals:

  • The approach to employability should take into account the evolution of the labor market. Neither periods of unemployment nor the succession of temporary contracts should be automatically considered negative factors in relation to employability. It is "the manifestation of consistency and perseverance in meeting professional goals" that must be taken into account, where earlier mere periods of unemployment or a succession of temporary contracts led to rejections or systematic postponement of naturalization applications. The circular also emphasizes the need to adjudicate with greater flexibility applications from graduates or students in the disciplines needed to benefit France economically. 
  • The assessment of the applicant's conduct must not be disproportionate. The Minister called for a careful examination of the nature and length of any charges (including criminal charges). Minor breaches (such as in relation to income taxes) or isolated failures must be assessed differently from "repeated behavior."
  • Aid to undocumented foreign nationals should not be penalized if exempt. Under the circular, only cases constituting an offense under Articles L. 622-1 CESEDA must be taken into account. An applicant should not be penalized if he or she aided in the illegal entry of persons exempted under Article L. 622-4 of the same code, including aid given to spouses and children having entered France outside the family reunification legal framework.

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