Dual nationals banned from some French jobs under far-right plans

Public sector and government administration positions would be affected. Only ‘French’ people would also be given preference for some other roles

Up to five million people are reported to hold dual citizenship between France and another country
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Dual-nationals in France may be banned from certain government and public sector jobs – and be placed at a disadvantage when applying for other positions – under plans from the Rassemblement National (RN). 

A prospective RN government would not to allow people of double nationality to occupy "defence positions of strategic importance" announced its leader Jordan Bardella  at a press conference on June 24.

"Could you imagine having a Franco-Russian Minister of Defence?" he asked. "There are already positions that are reserved for French nationals in the administration. Of course we are not questioning the existence of double nationality".

This policy had already been included in the RN's draft version of the immigration bill, submitted to the French parliament this January during debates on the topic.

People who hold citizenship from another nation would be barred from some positions “in government administration, public companies and legal entities entrusted with a public service mission,” said the party. 

Former RN party secretary Renaud Labaye confirmed this would also apply to dual nationals, who hold French citizenship alongside that of a second nation.

The party’s draft immigration bill was not accepted by the National Assembly, however many of the policy points included were – and still are – 

Read more: LIST: what was kept and what was rejected in French immigration law

The draft bill also gave priority access to jobs in both the private and public sector to French citizens, meaning dual-nationals would be at a disadvantage even when applying for jobs they were not barred from.

Up to five million people – the number of French people holding dual-nationality - would be affected, according to historian Patrick Weil (referenced in the Alternatives Economiques).

Would this be legal?

The policy recently came to the forefront when party leader Jordan Bardella said during a TV interview that “French people of a foreign origin [les Français d’origine étrangère ou de nationalité étrangère],” would have nothing to fear from an RN victory in the upcoming legislative elections, provided they followed French law and “loved” the country.

Politicians from the party often refer to dual-nationals as ‘French people of foreign origin’, especially those whose parents emigrated to France, or who gained nationality after being born in France to parents from a different country. 

Commentators were quick to point out the inclusion of the policy point in the RN’s immigration bill proposition that seemingly contradicts Mr Bardella’s claims.

The party has not since commented whether this is part of its 2024 manifesto or not. 

Banning dual-nationality between France and non-EU countries was previously a policy of the party, however this was dropped in 2022.

Read more: French far-right error over ban on non-EU dual nationality

The legality of banning dual nationals from certain positions is dubious. 

Such a policy – that would be passed during another revision of France’s immigration laws – would require sweeping changes to the French Constitution. 

This would make it subject to passing votes in both the National Assembly and the Senate – the latter of which has no RN politicians sitting in the chamber.

In addition, these changes would be scrutinised by the Conseil constitutionnel (constitutional council) for their legality. 

The council could rule that the changes are unconstitutional as they would create a hierarchy of inequality between French citizens. 

It is one of a number of RN policies the council would likely challenge, if the group wins a majority. 

Read more: Snap French election: What will far-right want if it gains more power?