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How long do sub-Saharan migrants take to settle in France ?

Population and Societies

533, May 2016

At a time when the reception of refugees has become a key issue in Europe, there is still little information about how migrants settle in a new country. Using data from the Parcours survey, Anne Gosselin and her colleagues estimate the time migrants from sub-Saharan Africa take to obtain a residence permit, a personal dwelling and employment after arriving in France.

Six or seven years after arriving in France, half of sub-Saharan African migrants still do not have all three basic elements of a settled life: a residence permit valid for at least one year, a personal dwelling and an activity that provides enough income to live on. After eleven or twelve years, one-quarter still do not. This long period of insecurity after arrival is due more to the conditions in France (lengthy red tape, segmented labour market, discrimination) than to the migrants’ individual characteristics. The situation of sub-Saharan migrants ultimately stabilizes, but for many only after a long period of insecurity.

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