French immigration figures show 25,000 granted refugee status in 2016

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The issue of immigration control sits high on the agenda of campaigning by candidates in France’s presidential elections to be held this spring, a subject that is increasingly manipulated for political gain. The latest annual immigration statistics released this week by the French interior ministry sober a sometimes hysterical debate. They show that a total of 227,500 non-EU foreign nationals were granted residence in France in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 4.6%, while the number of migrants refused entry at border crossings rose by 302% compared to 2015. Just more than 25,000 people were last year granted refugee status. Carine Fouteau reports.

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Figures released this week by the French interior ministry, and which exclude nationals from European Union (EU) countries who are free to live and work across the bloc with no restrictions, showed that in 2016 a total of 227,500 people obtained for the first time a French residency permit.