French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said this Wednesday July 23, 2014 that France must remain a land of immigration and a land of asylum while talking about the new immigration legislation approved in a cabinet meeting to simplifies immigration and asylum rules. The proposed measures will allow residency permit valid for four years, introduce a new visa category and expedite processing of asylum cases.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve talked to the French paper Liberation and explained the new immigration proposal. Cazeneuve said,  “France must remain a land of immigration and a land of asylum, as countries closed to the outside world are condemned to decline.”

The salient feature of the new immigration law is increasing the validity time of the residency permit from existing one year to four year.  Currently foreign nationals must renew residency permit each year as it is valid for one year only. Furthermore, foreign nationals who can demonstrate knowledge of French language by reading and understanding basic phrases would be able to obtain a resident permit valid for ten years.

France is also introducing a new visa category called “Talent Passport” that would allow foreign scientists, artists, business leaders and athletes to come to France to live and work for four years. The unification of a number of visas into one visa category will facilitate the foreign nationals to come and live in France.

French government has also taken some measures to expedite the processing of asylum cases by 2017. Currently the processing can take up to two years. Under the proposed law, the processing would be reduced to nine months by allocating more resources and man power.

Asylum seekers would be allowed to live only in government provided residence. The welfare payments would be stopped if the asylum seeker chose to move out of the government provided housing.

France is trying to catch up with other neighboring European countries which attract a large number of foreign professionals each year by introducing the new immigration law.