Immigrants to France Are Typically Low Skilled and Poorly Educated: Report

Migrants and homeless people wait to be relocated after spending the night in tents installed the day before during an action organised by the Utopia association to ask for housing, on the Place des Vosges in Paris, on July 30, 2021. - Sheltering operations for the 600 homeless people and …

A study released by the French Council for Economic Analysis suggests that immigrants to France are typically low skilled and come mainly from only a few areas, such as North and sub-Saharan Africa.

France is lagging behind other countries in the search for skilled workers, according to the study, which notes that most immigrants to France are low-skilled and that there has been a decline in the number of professional immigrants — a trend that has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Industries such as construction, transport, information technology (IT), and tourism have especially suffered due to a lack of professional candidates, BFMTV reports.

The broadcaster notes that French government statistics have revealed that 37.8 per cent of immigrants only have an educational level equal to or lower than a French national diploma — typically given at age 14 or 15, the equivalent of middle school in the U.S.

Diversity is also an issue among migrants in France, with 70 per cent of all non-European immigrants coming from Africa and two-thirds of them coming from the North African countries in the Maghreb region.

France’s main driver of immigration is not skilled labour but so-called family reunification, or chain migration, with 43.7 per cent of immigrants from 2007 to 2016 coming for family reasons compared to just nine per cent who come to the country for work.

The Council for Economic Analysis report has called for France to adopt policies to increase skilled migration, claiming that France is not exploiting opportunities.

Previous studies have indicated that migration has been a net-zero in terms of economic benefit, rather than a positive, due largely to the low skill of many migrants.

Indeed, French economist Jacques Sapir said earlier this year that mass migration is becoming increasingly costly to the French state, saying: “If we attempt an overall assessment, including the various omissions of the various studies, we arrive at levels that are close to -0.7 per cent/-0.8 per cent of GDP per year.”

“Finally, it should be pointed out that some populations, because of their low level of education and their poor command of the French language, have a higher individual cost than others,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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