France sends back 24,000 immigrants in 2006
PARIS, Dec 11, 2006 (AFP) – France will have repatriated some 24,000 illegal immigrants by the end of 2006 a 20 percent increase on 2005, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.
The figure falls slightly short of the government objective for 2006, which was 25,000 expulsions.
The centre-right government has progressively stepped up repatriations since coming to office in 2002, when there were 10,000 expulsions. In 2005 there were 20,000.
The numbers refer only to immigrants sent home from mainland France, and not from overseas territories from where a further 22,000 will have been expelled in 2006, Sarkozy said.
Mainland France is believed to have between 200,000 and 400,000 illegal immigrants.
Under a government decree published over the weekend, businesses that employ illegal immigrants will be obliged to contribute to the costs of their expulsion.
The amount businesses will be charged is just over EUR 2,500 euros for immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, 2,300 for immigrants from southeast Asia and the Middle East, and 2,125 euros for north Africans.
Figures released last week showed that the number of legal immigrants entering France in 2006 fell slightly to 190,000.