It is a text at the heart of the tensions between Paris and Algiers. Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe spoke Tuesday in an interview with the weekly L'Express of his wish to renegotiate a Franco-Algerian agreement established in 1968 on the movement, employment and residence of Algerian nationals and their families.
"The particularity (this) agreement is that it completely determines the law applicable to the entry and stay of Algerian nationals, with stipulations that are much more favorable than common law," said the former tenant of Matignon in his interview. What is it really?
A text to "improve the living conditions" of Algerian workers
These rules were established 55 years ago, in a historical context where France and Algeria cooperated within the framework of the independence newly obtained in 1962 following the Evian Accords. They were revised in 1985, 1994 and 2001.
A fourth revision could have taken place in 2010 under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, but did not succeed, Algiers wishing to keep the established provisions.
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According to the text, this agreement aims to "facilitate the professional and social advancement of Algerian workers, improve their living and working conditions and promote the full employment of these workers who already reside in France".
A "residence certificate" instead of the residence permit
The main difference created by this agreement is that Algerians established in France are not issued a residence permit, unlike other foreign nationals, but a "residence certificate", which can be for one year or ten years. This allows them to come and go freely between France and Algeria during its validity.
Algerian nationals also enjoy freedom of establishment to carry out an activity as a trader or an independent profession.
More flexible provisions for family reunification
The 1968 agreement also provides for faster access for Algerian nationals to the issuance of a residence permit valid for 10 years. The spouse of a French national can thus obtain it as early as one year of marriage and family members admitted to French soil for the purpose of family reunification receive a residence permit of the same duration as the person they join.
Moreover, if they have not obtained it before, Algerians residing in France can apply for a residence certificate of 10 years after 3 years of residence, while the ordinary law provides 5 years for other foreign nationals.
For students, provisions that are now unfavourable
Established at a time when international cooperation was still weak in the academic field, the agreement also applies a specific regime to Algerian students coming to France. Innovative in 1968, it is however less favourable today for Algerian nationals, since they are excluded from the provisions of ordinary law.
For example, if he wishes to carry out a salaried activity in France, an Algerian national holding a "student" residence certificate must obtain a provisional work permit and may not work a maximum of 50% of the annual working time, compared to 60% for other nationalities.
Finally, residence permits for professional immigration such as the multiannual residence permit bearing the mention "talent passport" or the multiannual residence permit bearing the mention "student mobility programme" do not exist in the Franco-Algerian agreement and are therefore not applicable for Algerians.