It is a text at the heart of the tensions between Paris and Algiers. Former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe spoke on Tuesday in an interview with the weekly The Express his wish to renegotiate a Franco-Algerian agreement established in 1968 relating to 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 which are much more favorable than common law”, underlines 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 newly achieved independence in 1962 following the Evian agreements. 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.
According to the text, this agreement aims to “facilitate the professional and social promotion of Algerian workers, to improve their living and working conditions and to promote full employment for these workers who already reside in France”.
A “residence certificate” instead of the residence permit
The main difference created by this agreement is that the 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.
THE Algerian nationals also benefit from the freedom of establishment to exercise a commercial activity or an independent profession.
More flexible arrangements 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 Frenchman can thus obtain it from one year of marriage and the members of the family admitted to French soil under family reunification receive a residence permit for the same duration as the person they are joining.
Besides, if they didn’t get it before, Algerians residing in France can apply for a 10-year residence certificate after 3 years of residence, whereas common law provides for 5 years for other foreign nationals.
For students, provisions that are now unfavorable
Established at a time when international cooperation was still weak in the academic field, the agreement also applies to Algerian students coming to France a specific regime. Innovative in 1968, it is however today less favorable for Algerian nationals, since they are excluded from the provisions of common law.
For example, if he wishes to exercise a salaried activity in France, an Algerian national holding a “student” residence certificate must obtain a temporary work permit and cannot work a maximum of 50% of the annual working time, against 60% for other nationalities.
Finally, residence permits for professional immigration such as the multi-year residence permit bearing the mention “talent pport” or even the multi-year residence permit bearing the mention “student mobility program” do not exist in the Franco-Algerian agreement and are therefore not applicable to Algerians.