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Agricultural crisis: how the government intends to facilitate the arrival of foreign seasonal workers

2024-02-21T11:43:16.775Z

Highlights: Prime Minister Gabriel Attal made the announcement this Wednesday. The government will publish a decree recognizing agricultural production as a “sector in tension” The decision will “greatly facilitate the granting of visas” to foreign seasonal workers. In October 2020, the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii) brought in 900 Moroccan workers to “save the harvests” of Corsican clementines. For the year 2024 alone, the government has decided to grant forty-five thousand visas to seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.


The government will recognize the agricultural sector as a “sector in tension” to facilitate the obtaining of visas for seasonal workers from outside the European Union.


After the health, construction and catering sectors, the use of foreign workers will also be extended to the agricultural sector.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal made the announcement this Wednesday, wishing to provide solutions to the labor shortage on farms and fields.

To do this, the government will publish a decree recognizing agricultural production as a

“sector in tension”.

This decision, which will be made during the agricultural show which opens on February 24, will

“greatly facilitate the granting of visas”

to foreign seasonal workers wishing to work on French farms.

How will this come to fruition?

The new immigration law establishes a special procedure to make it easier for foreigners to obtain visas in sectors particularly suffering from a lack of labor.

The list of these so-called

“shortage”

professions , drawn up by Dares (statistical service of the Ministry of Labor), varies depending on the geographical area.

“Temporary worker”

residence permit

It is in industry and construction where tensions were the strongest in 2021, according to the latest Dares study.

In detail, we find the professions of mechanics and metalworking technician, electrical and electronics draftsman, and adjuster.

Also come roofers in seventh place, nurses in twelfth, wood carpenters in thirteenth, automobile bodybuilders in 22nd or plumbers-heating engineers in 27th.

A ranking which has not changed much since 2021, according to Dares.

In these sectors, from now on, a foreign employee in an irregular situation can ask the prefecture for a temporary residence card bearing the words

“temporary worker”

or

“employee”.

The conditions for obtaining it: that he has resided uninterruptedly in France for at least 3 years, that he has not been the subject of a conviction, that he has worked in a

“job in tension”

for at least 12 months in the last 24 months and is still practicing at the time of application.

If the card is issued, it constitutes a work authorization for one year, but only as an employee, not as a self-employed person.

This provision came into force in France the day after the promulgation of the immigration law, on January 28.

A sector already largely dependent on foreign labor

In reality, a mechanism already existed in this sense with the Valls circular of 2012. This allows an illegal alien to apply for a residence permit if he has worked a certain number of months during his time on French soil, and if he has an employment contract or a promise of employment.

The file is presented to the prefect, who grants or not regularization according to his discretion.

Between 7,000 and 8,000 people are regularized each year through this mechanism.

But this requires going through the employer.

With article 3 of the immigration law, the worker now applies for regularization himself.

In fact, since the Covid-19 period, the agricultural sector has already made extensive use of foreign labor.

In October 2020, the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii) brought in 900 Moroccan workers to

“save the harvests”

of Corsican clementines.

In December of the same year, 300 more were sent to Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse to work in market gardening and horticulture.

“During the Covid crisis, we organized specific flights because it was a necessity.

But now commercial flights have resumed and the usual seasonal workers are already there

,” explained the director general of Ofii Didier Leschi in 2022.

The United Kingdom faces the same problem.

For the year 2024 alone, the government has decided to grant forty-five thousand visas to seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.

Employers in the sector demanded up to 70,000.

Among seasonal workers in the agricultural sector in Great Britain, only 4% are British.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2024-02-21

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