Overview of the main changes since the previous report update

France

Author

Forum Réfugiés - Cosi

The previous update of the report was published in December 2015.

 

Asylum procedure

  • Dublin: The amended law on immigration was on 7 March 2016. The immigration reform allows Prefectures to systematically use house arrest orders against asylum seekers placed under the Dublin procedure, during the determination of the Member State responsible for their asylum claim. The time limits for challenging a removal order taken against denied asylum seekers have been shortened. The regular deadlines to challenge such an order are normally one month. Where a detained asylum seeker has been ordered to leave the country, the delays to contest the order are only 15 days.

  • Personal interview: During 2016, NGOs have started to be present with asylum seekers during their OFPRA interview. 14 NGOs are today accredited to support asylum seekers during their interview.

  • Appeal: The first hearings at the CNDA with a single judge were settled on 27 February 2016. Stakeholders feared that this type of hearing might have a negative impact on asylum claims, increasing the rejection rate. In practice, this rate seems to be the same as regular hearings.

  • Identification: The OFII interviews regarding the assessment of the vulnerability of the asylum seekers are not always conducted or are not systematically conducted with an interpreter.

  • Registration: Access to the asylum claim registration is really difficult. In several areas, platforms in charge of the registration have been overwhelmed and the Prefectures have not been able to process asylum claims within the deadlines foreseen by the law. These dysfunctions have prevented many asylum seekers from getting access to the procedure in reasonable times and from getting access to accommodation.

 

Reception conditions

  • Reception system: The national scheme is now completely managed by OFII. The organisations running accommodation centres have faced several difficulties regarding the orientations made by OFII. On many occasions, social workers have reported that the vulnerability was not taken into account, especially regarding disabilities. 

  • Accommodation: 8,703 places of accommodation have been added in 2016. Despite this increase, the national reception scheme is insufficient to accommodate all the asylum seekers. These limitations have been particularly highlighted by the crisis in Calais and in Paris. The dismantlement in Calais led the government to create 241 centres of accommodation and orientation (CAO) to channel people living in the slums. Asylum seekers living in camps in Paris have also been channelled to these centres. Two humanitarian centres have also been created by Paris municipality in Paris and in Ivry-sur-Seine to empty out camps settled in the downtowns.

  • In 2017, 1,800 additional places will be opened in CADA. The objective is to reach 60,854 accommodation places, among which 40,352 would be in CADA.

  • Financial allowance: Access to the living allowance remains an issue, 18 months after the law was adopted. Many asylum seekers are not paid in due time or do not perceive the foreseen amount. The stakeholders supporting the asylum seekers encounter many difficulties to communicate with OFII about these issues.

 

Detention of asylum seekers

  • Applying from detention: The immigration law reform has modified the conditions for lodging an asylum claim in detention. Upon hearing their rights, asylum seekers have 5 days to lodge it. It is however possible to lodge a claim after these 5 days if the asylum seeker is in position to present new elements. Asylum seekers coming from safe countries of origin cannot benefit from this provision. Their claim will be irremediably deemed inadmissible if it is lodged after 5 days.

  • Judicial review: The immigration law has also modified the judicial review of detention. It is now possible for the Judge of Freedoms and Detention (JLD) to be seized for the first time within 48 hours after the placement in detention. The Judge can extend the detention for 28 additional days or uphold the release of the detainee. It will be then possible to seize the judge at the end of the aforementioned 28 days.

  • House arrest: Asylum seekers placed under the Dublin procedure and subjected to a house arrest order can be placed in detention if they do not present themselves for their appointment at the Prefecture. Before the placement is upheld, the Prefect can also require from the Judge of Freedoms and Detention to send police forces to the residence of the asylum seekers in order to ensure they are not absconding.

  • Access to detention centres: Journalists are allowed to visit detention centres. Access must be authorised by the Prefect. Their presence must be compatible with detainees’ dignity, security measures and the functioning of administrative detention centres.

 

Content of international protection

  • Housing: A Decree adopted in March 2016 provides beneficiaries of international protection to be hosted in a temporary accommodation centres (Centre provisoire d’hébergement, CPH) upon an OFII decision. They will be then allowed to stay there for 9 months. This stay can be renewed for a 3-month period.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti