First Posted 14:56:00 07/18/2010
MANILA, Philippines—France has discontinued the issuance of the so-called blue cards which granted highly skilled foreign workers easier entry into the country, French Ambassador to the Philippines Thierry Borja de Mozota said.
The blue cards, which were introduced a couple of years ago to address the France’s lack of skilled workers, gave foreign workers a renewable right to work and live there as well as automatic permanent residency after five consecutive years, fast-tracked the issuance of work permits, and made it easier for their families to join them. The Philippines had a quota of 100 blue cards a year.
Before the Bastille Day celebration last week, De Mozota said in a press conference the blue cards had to be discontinued because there was no mechanism in France that would respond to the applications from outside France.
The global economic crisis in 2008 also put the focus away from hiring more foreign workers into keeping the French economy more stable, said Didier Ortolland, the French embassy’s deputy chief of missions.
France was prepared to go into a bilateral labor agreement with the Philippines before the crisis, but negotiations have not been a priority since. “Maybe as soon as the economic crisis is lifted,” Ortolland said.
The French embassy’s deputy chief of mission admitted that it was easier for Filipinos to live and work in France two years ago. He said easier entry into France saw an increase in the number of Filipinos from 9,000 to 40,000, mostly female.
Ortolland also said France last month passed a law regularizing illegal migrant workers. He said not many Filipinos working in France are undocumented, but urged those who are to regularize their stay.
“We have no problem with Filipinos in France. No criminality. Not a single Filipino has been arrested in France,” he said.