Qualified immigration: a “benefit” to be developed for the French economy, according to a study

the essential The Economic Analysis Council (CAE) published a note on Tuesday pleading for an increase in skilled immigration. As the presidential election approaches, the organization is touting the economic benefits of such a strategy.

At a time when immigration appears as one of the central themes of the presidential pre-campaign, a note from the Economic Analysis Council (CAE) calls for an increase in skilled immigration, touting its economic benefits in the long term. “The public debate on immigration is dominated by questions of identity and security, and when the economic angle is approached, only short-term aspects in terms of employment and public finances are mentioned”, the authors regret in the introduction. of this note, economists Emmanuelle Auriol and Hillel Rapoport.

“The real issues of economic immigration, those of long-term growth, are never discussed,” they add. The first debate of the five candidates for the nomination for the presidential election of the Republicans on Monday evening confirmed this diagnosis, where the discussion time on this subject focused on controlling the number of foreigners who come to settle in France and the fight against illegal immigration. Not fooled by the climate in which their note is published, its authors recall that their work began more than a year ago.

Philippe Martin, deputy chairman of the CAE, a research body responsible for advising the government, was also keen to point out at the start of a presentation to the press that this work had not been commissioned by the government, as can sometimes be the case. to be the case, and that the CAE “is a council made up of academics who are independent”.

This note “sets some clocks back on time”

This study also appears two weeks after a large OECD study on the “budgetary impact” of immigrants. It concluded that between contributions paid and public expenditure, the impact was slightly positive for France. This note is “useful because it sets certain clocks on time”, however defended Emmanuelle Auriol. First, “a considerable amount of economic studies demonstrate the benefits of skilled and diversified labor immigration” in terms of innovation, entrepreneurship and therefore growth and productivity, the note recalls.

Citing observations made on the United States, a country at the forefront of attracting foreign talent, its authors show that immigrants, who represent 10% of the population, are at the origin of 24% of the patents filed between 1940 and 2000, and that they represent 24% entrepreneurs. In France, only 8% of patents are filed by immigrants, who represent approximately % of the population.

“Vicious circle”

In addition, studies attest that the diversity of the places of birth of a company’s employees is a source of greater productivity, and that the effects of diaspora networks create “bridges” with other countries that stimulate foreign trade and foreign investment.

With 26, 8% of immigrants of working age who have an educational level equal to or below the patent and 70% of immigrants (excluding European mobility) coming from the African continent, “our country does not exploit these possibilities “, summarizes Emmanuelle Auriol.

“France is in a vicious circle where, as immigration is poorly diversified and unskilled, public opinion is quite unfavorable. And that pushes for very restrictive policies” in terms of economic immigration, abounds Hillel Rapoport. The note therefore recommends “rethinking national migration policy”, by developing “varied” immigration channels in terms of geographic origin. For this, its authors advocate in particular the creation of a point-based visa system, on the model of those existing in Canada or Australia, which has the merit of being “transparent, fair and efficient”, but also “flexible” on the privileged criteria in the profile of candidates for immigration.

The “talents passport” system

They would also like to strengthen the “talent passport” system, created in 2016 to promote the reception of qualified young people. In 2019, only 13. 500 passports were issued via this system, which “does not make it possible to reverse the trend of low-skilled, undiversified and low-volume immigration”.

Other recommendations aim to improve the quality of education to attract more students and to facilitate the granting of residence permits to students at the end of their course, by relaxing the eligibility criteria, because only 21% of foreign students are still present in France five years after their arrival in France.

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