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Reaction to France’s new Immigration bill

University Article published on 20 December 2023 , Updated on 16 January 2024

Université Paris-Saclay and seventeen other French universities have joined forces to protest against the measures included in France’s new immigration bill. On Tuesday 19 December, before the bill was officially voted by the French parliament, they issued the following press release.   

The press release signed by French university presidents on the proposed immigration bill

“As presidents of French universities and higher education and research institutions, we have read carefully the measures in the new immigration bill which have emerged from the joint committee and which will be submitted to the French Senate and Assemblée Nationale at the end of the day. 

As expressed by France Universités in a statement issued on Sunday 17 December, and following our already deep concern regarding the version of bill at the end of the parliamentary debates, we strongly regret the bill’s current version, which is an attack on the very values which found French universities: universalism, openness and welcoming others, the free and productive movement of knowledge – all values of the Enlightenment. 

At a time when higher education institutions are encouraged to increase their efforts to promote research, how can we accept these measures which will force French universities to withdraw into themselves, even though our international students and researchers contribute to the production and sharing of academic and cultural values and knowledge beyond our borders?  

Access to knowledge and education cannot be hindered by such restrictive and unfounded financial considerations, such as the introduction of a guarantee deposit or the limitation to social welfare benefits. International students are of precious value to our country, and contribute to the vigour of our academic community. 

Furthermore, introducing a blanket increase in tuition fees for non-EU students, without exception, will have a detrimental effect on the number, geographic origin and social situation of the international students who will be able to study in France. This will also challenge the autonomy of universities in their international hosting and influence strategies.  

These measures, which are unworthy of our country, seriously endanger France’s higher education and research strategy tonight, and are harmful to our country’s ambition to act as a key player in international scientific and cultural diplomacy. 
For all of these reasons, we collectively reaffirm our strong and determined opposition to these measures.”

The first signatories

             Annick Allaigre – President of Université Paris 8 Vincennes - Saint Denis
            Carine Bernault - President of Nantes Université
            Éric Berton – President of Aix-Marseille Université
            Jeanick Brisswalter - President of Université Côte d’Azur
            Michel Deneken – President of Université de Strasbourg
            Nathalie Dompnier – President of Université Lyon 2 Lumière
            Nathalie Drach-Temam – President of Sorbonne Université
            Frédéric Fleury – President of Université Claude Bernard - Lyon 1
            Christophe Fouqueré – President of Université Sorbonne Paris Nord
            Alain Fuchs – President of Université PSL - Paris Sciences et Lettres
            Emmanuelle Garnier – President of Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès
            Philippe Gervais-Lambony – President of Université Paris Nanterre
            Jean-François Huchet – President of Inalco
            Estelle Iacona – President of Université Paris-Saclay
            Édouard Kaminski – President of Université Paris Cité
            Dean Lewis – President of Université de Bordeaux
            Daniel Mouchard – President of Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
            Christine Neau-Leduc – President of Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne