11 December 2015

The French asylum system underwent a substantial reform in July 2015, as documented by the updated AIDA report. The reform introduced a “single desk” (guichet unique) where the Prefecture and the French Office on Immigration and Integration (OFII) are both present. The aim of the single desk, operating since November 2015, is to register the asylum claim and, on the same day and in the same location, to conduct a vulnerability assessment to offer tailored material reception conditions.  

The assessment of vulnerabilities and their consideration throughout the asylum procedure is a completely new element that has been brought in by the asylum reform. Moreover, asylum seekers can now be accompanied by a third person (lawyer or representative of an NGO) to the asylum interview, a provision applicable also for asylum claims introduced at the border or in detention. If the claims are not processed within 9 months, asylum seekers will also have the right to access the labour market. 

The practical impact of the reforms on the asylum system will still have to be evaluated during the next year, stated Forum réfugiés-cosi, author of the report. 

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 11 December 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.