The updated AIDA Country Report on France provides a detailed overview of legislative and practice-related developments in asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers and content of international protection in 2023. It also includes an annex which provides an overview of temporary protection (TP).

In 2023, 167,432 people registered as international protection applicants in France (compared to 156,455 in 2022). The main countries of origin were Afghanistan, Türkiye, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Bangladesh. The Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) reported 142,500 applications in 2023. The overall protection rate was 31.4% in first instance (OFPRA) and 20.5% at the appeal stage (National Asylum Court). However, the protection rate at first instance varied widely depending on the nationalities of applicants (e.g. 17.2% for Turkish applicants versus 69.2% for Afghan applicants). 66,358 persons (including minors) received some form of international protection in 2023.

At the end of 2023, 62,438 active TP residence permits were held by Ukrainians. This figure a priori excludes children (to whom permits were not delivered). Unlike other countries, France continued to deliver temporary residence certificates which had to be renewed every six months rather than 12. As of December 2023, 10,187 TP beneficiaries were staying in reception centres and 28,000 in private accommodation. By the end of 2023, nearly 3,000 households had benefited from the state aid allocated to individuals who provided accommodation to TP beneficiaries under certain conditions.

Access to French territory continued to be hindered in 2023. In addition to increased police presence at Italian border, there were reports of people being refused entry without their protection needs being taken into account. Similarly, NGOs documented an increase in police resources at the Spanish border, coupled with illegal control practices and expeditious procedures which did not allow individual situations or the right to asylum to be taken into account. Approximately 89,000 refusals of entry were notified at French borders in 2023. In February 2024, the Council of State cancelled a legal provision that had allowed entry refusals to be made in all circumstances and without any distinction in the context of the reestablishment of internal border controls, following a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union in September 2023.

Access to reception continued to be severely hindered in France in 2023. Based on a comparison of EU and national data, it is estimated that over 40,000 asylum seekers did not have access to any reception conditions (e.g. accommodation, allowance, etc.) at the end of 2023. Regarding accommodation specifically, in mainland France, at least 85,000 asylum applicants (including those who did not have access to any reception conditions) did not have access to accommodation at this time. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 59% of asylum applicants who were eligible for material reception conditions were accommodated at the end of 2023. Other people continued to live in extremely precarious conditions, including in informal camps, especially in Paris and Calais.

Regarding new beneficiaries of international protection (BIPs), as of 30 September 2023, the average waiting time for the issuance of civil status documents was 14.5 months (compared to 10.3 months in 2022 and 8 months in 2021). Approximately 60,000 people were waiting for this procedure to be concluded at the end of 2023, despite a significant increase in OFPRA activity, with over 20,000 more decisions made in 2023 than in 2022. While they are waiting for their civil status documents, BIPs cannot receive their residence document and are simply given a ‘certificate of extension of instruction, which is widely regarded as insufficient for them to access rights or services necessary for integration (e.g. bank account, housing, employment, etc.). In a positive development, the geographical coverage of the ‘Comprehensive and Individualised Support for Refugees’ (AGIR) programme, which was launched in 2022 and is intended to provide support for refugee integration in the area of housing, was broadened in 2023 and it is expected to be implemented in all regions in 2024.

The full report is available here and the annex on temporary protection is available here.

For more information about the AIDA database or to read other AIDA reports, please visit theAIDA website.