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Almost 100,000 cartes de séjour granted to Britons in France in 2021

New figures show that the number was 13 times higher last year than in 2020. Overall immigration is also on the rise

A hand holding up a French flag in a blue sky

The carte de séjour gives British people permission to live and work in France even after Brexit Pic: Jo Panuwat D / Shutterstock

Almost 100,000 titres de séjour were delivered to British citizens in France in 2021 compared to just 7,686 in 2020.

New annual immigration statistics published by the French interior ministry on June 20 show that 99,644 British citizens obtained a titre de séjour in 2021. Since October 1 of that year, British people have been required to obtain a carte de séjour to be granted permission to legally live and work in France, due to Brexit.

The data is still “provisional”, the interior minister said, "given the delays between the submission of an application and the issue of a permit, some permits issued during the year are not yet registered in the national residence permit management database.”

But even without the final statistics, the number of titres de séjour issued was almost 13 times more in 2021 than in 2020, when 7,686 were issued.

This prompted the interior ministry to say in January: “The need for Britons and their dependents to have a specific residence permit (carte de séjour) by October 1, 2021 [which was then pushed back to January 1, 2022] has led to an unprecedented influx of applications.”

Read more: How long can a Brexit carte de séjour card-holder spend in UK? 

Read more: Brexit: We recap the rules for five-year residency cards in France

Slight rise in immigration overall

The figures also show that there was a slight increase in immigration overall in 2021, in contrast to the year 2020, which saw a record drop due to the Covid pandemic.

There were 104,381 new requests for asylum in France; a rise of 28%. Yet, this was still far fewer demands than the figures seen before the health crisis. Many thousands of the requests came after the evacuations of many Afghans from Kabul, after the Taliban takeover in mid-August 2021.

Most of the requests for asylum in France came from Afghanistan (16,116; up 61%), far ahead of Côte d'Ivoire (6,260), Bangladesh (6,231) and Guinea (5,269). 

Sharp increase in attempted illegal Channel crossings

Similarly, in the first half of 2022, the number of illegal crossings of the Channel significantly increased, the Interior minister said, with a rise of 68% (777 attempts, including 20,132 people) compared to the same period last year (January 1 to June 13). 

This is a new record for the first half of a calendar year, the previous one having been set in 2021.

It should be noted that the rate of successful police intervention is constantly rising, with 61.39% of sea crossings stopped by the French internal security forces (+4.2 points compared to the rate in 2021) and 10,090 individuals (+65%) arrested since the beginning of the year, the interior minister said yesterday (Monday June 20).

These sea crossings have become a regular source of tension between Paris and London, particularly since Brexit.

The tensions culminated at the end of 2021 after at least 27 people died in November 2021 when their boat sank in the English Channel, sparking a row between the French and British authorities over who was responsible.

Read more: ‘France will not allow the Channel to become a cemetery’ says Macron

Read more: Channel deaths: French rescuers ‘very probably’ received distress call

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