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France — Council of State annuls government decree on work permits

29 October 2009

Progress is being made on how to resolve the dilemma of giving illegally employed temporary employees, from outside the European Union, proper work permits in order to be able to legally live and work in France, Le Monde reports.

The current legal situation is based on a law passed in November 2007 (Loi Hortefeux) to which a decree, specifying how the law should be enforced, was added in January 2008.

The added decree says that a foreigner from outside the European Union needs to have a qualification or an experience in one or more of 30 specified professions where France has a shortage of staff.

The Council of State (Conseil d'Etat), which is presided over by the Prime Minister and acts as the administrative court of last resort, has ruled this week that the decree is not in the spirit of the law it is trying to interpret and has annulled the decree because it has nothing to do with the 'Loi Hortefeux'.

The Council of State says in a statement that "the government could not restrict requirements [for giving out work permits] unless they have misunderstood the actual law."

More than 4,000 temporary employees without official papers (sans papiers) are still occupying around 40 sites in the Paris region from temporary employment agencies to building sites and restaurants in order to demand a regularisation of their legal status in France. The strike is supported by French unions CGT, CFDT, Solidaires, SFU and L'UNSA.



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