Can the French far right ban foreigners from certain jobs?

Dual nationals could be banned from some positions if the Rassemblement National win the elections

Jordan Bardella
RN leader Jordan Bardella said the party would ban dual nationals from undertaking some roles
Published Last updated

France’s far-right has pledged to prevent dual nationals from holding certain jobs if it wins the upcoming parliamentary elections - a measure that opponents have criticised as “racist”. 

Jordan Bardella, 28, leader of the Rassemblement National [RN], announced the measure during a press conference to present the party’s programme on Monday, 24 June. 

“The most strategic positions in the State will be reserved for French citizens and French nationals,” Mr Bardella said. 

He said dual nationals would be prevented from holding certain “sensitive” jobs, particularly in the “security and defence sectors”. He did not specify which jobs would fall under the ban, but said “very few people” would be affected. 

Mr Bardella said the aim of the measure would be to prevent “attempts at interference that could be orchestrated by foreign states”. 

“Imagine Franco-Russians working in the Armed Forces Ministry,” he said. 

The Socialist party criticised the measure, alongside several others Mr Bardella announced, as “racist”, writing on X that “racism is not a credible programme”. 

“I do not like this way of separating French from dual nationals,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told Europe 1 on Tuesday. 

Read more: What could change for foreigners in France if far right win election?

During Monday’s press conference Mr Bardella stressed he was not “calling into question” the principle of dual nationality itself. 

On Monday evening, the RN’s joint leader, Marine Le Pen, said the party was not planning a widespread ban of dual nationals from public sector jobs. 

She said the measure would concern “a few dozen very sensitive roles in strategic positions in defence, nuclear or intelligence, for example”. 

What are the current rules?

Some jobs in France, in areas including defence, security and diplomacy require French nationality. But there is no law that stipulates the roles cannot be filled by someone having French and another nationality i.e. a dual national.

And according to experts in labour law interviewed by AFP, there are no restrictions on dual nationals in the private sector. 

Could the RN prevent foreign workers from holding certain jobs?

Implementing the plan may not be easy for the RN as it would involve constitutional change. 

“Making roles in the administration available only to French nationals who do not have dual nationality would require changing the Constitution,” Paul Cassia, a specialist in constitutional law, told BFMTV

And the RN could struggle to make such a change, experts say. 

“I think the Constitutional Council would rule that this different treatment would clearly violate the principle of equality,” Mathieu Carpentier, professor of public law at Toulouse Capitole University, told HuffPost. “As long as you are French, whatever the method of acquiring French nationality, everyone enjoys the same rights.”