France: Ile-de-France Prefect announces “pre-orientation centres” for newly arrived migrants

The humanitarian centre in Porte de la Chapelle

The Prefect of Ile-de-France surrounding Paris has announced the creation of “pre-orientation centres” to accommodate migrants and refugees currently facing destitution in the French capital, and to rapidly determine their right to remain in the country.

The “pre-orientation centres” are likely to be modelled on the basis of the “humanitarian centres”, which are open centres in La Chappelle and Ivry-sur-Seine, set up at the end of 2016 and in early 2017 to respond to high numbers of people sleeping rough in Paris. A similar proposal was made earlier this year by the Mayor of Paris, urging for a right to dignified reception for all persons upon arrival in France.

These centres would also enable the authorities to channel newly arrived people to the appropriate procedures depending on their status. Accordingly, different procedures would be followed for asylum seekers, for those falling within the scope of the Dublin Regulation and may be returned to another EU country, and those who have not applied for asylum and are liable to be returned. Questions have been raised by stakeholders as to the way in which such a ‘triage’ is to take place.

The introduction of “pre-orientation centres” adds another type of reception facilities to an already complex web of different structures in the French reception system. These include:

  • Reception centres for asylum seekers (Centre d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile, CADA)

  • Emergency reception centres (Accueil temporaire – service de l’asile, AT-SA)

  • Emergency reception centres (Hébergement d’urgence dédié aux demandeurs d’asile, HUDA)

  •  Emergency reception centres (Programme d’accueil et d’hébergement des demandeurs d’asile, PRAHDA)

  • Reception and orientation centres (Centres d’accueil et d’orientation, CAO) to accommodate migrants and refugees evacuated from informal settlements in Calais

  • Temporary shelters (Centres provisoires d’hébergement, CPH) for beneficiaries of international protection.

Emergency centres are commonly used for the accommodation of asylum seekers awaiting transfer under the Dublin Regulation. France has increased the use of residence restrictions, namely the obligation to stay in a specific place (assignation à résidence) for such cases.


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