Moroccans to top the list of French visa recipients in 2021

Despite the Covid-19 health crisis and the resulting restrictions, the number of visas granted by the French authorities increased slightly compared to 2020. This year was marked by “the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the first periods of containment, restrictions on the movement of people, particularly international, and the closure or slowdown of certain administrations, making it an unprecedented period”, the report says.

The top four countries, which benefit most from French visas, remain Morocco, Russia, Algeria and China, which account for 43% of them, the same source said.  According to the data revealed by Gerald Darmanin’s ministry, the three Maghreb countries, namely Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, are in the top 5, specifying that 69,408 visas were issued to Moroccans, down -29.6 compared to 2020, followed by Algerians and Tunisians with respectively 63,649 and 46,070 visas, down -13.16% and -6.9%.

In Africa, Egyptians are in 4th position with 21,532 visas granted, up 50.4% compared to 2020, while in sub-Saharan Africa, Ivorians are the first beneficiaries with 19,928 visas following an increase of 108.8%.

Indeed, Morocco was also the first country of origin of naturalized French citizens in 2020. “As in previous years, the countries of origin most concerned by the acquisition of French nationality under the Ministry of the Interior are Morocco,” the same document stressed. The latter noted that Morocco is in the lead with 8103 nationals who have become French.

Concerning residence permits, 219302 were issued as “first-time issuance” in 2020, down by 20.9% compared to 2019. This evolution reflects the effects of the pandemic on applications and deliveries of permits. “Moroccan and Algerian nationals remain the most numerous among recipients of first-time residence permits in France, with a much smaller drop than the overall number (-14.1% and -12.9% respectively)”, the report added, noting that “Tunisians remain in third place but experience a drop closer to the average (-21.6%)”.

For the year 2021, the final data are not yet published, but it appears, according to a first estimate, that the number of first residence permits issued is on the rise compared to 2020, approaching pre-crisis levels or even exceeding them in the case of issues on humanitarian grounds.

It should be recalled that the French government has decided to reduce the number of visas granted to Morocco and Algeria by 50% and to Tunisia by 30%, compared to 2020, the year of the health crisis. The announcement was made by the French government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal, who said that “it is certainly a drastic decision, but it is a decision made necessary by the fact that these countries do not accept to take back nationals that we do not wish to keep in France”.

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