The recently adopted immigration law by the French Parliament on Tuesday has elicited diverse reactions across the African continent. While causing concern among students in Morocco, the law, which tightens immigration conditions, appears to be met with relative indifference at Felix Houphouët-Boigny University in Abidjan.
In Morocco, some individuals are questioning how the stricter immigration and residency conditions in France, voted on Tuesday evening by parliamentarians, might impact them, especially students. Nearly 50,000 Moroccans have chosen to pursue their university studies in France, making them the largest foreign student community in the country. However, the appeal of studying in France is diminishing. Othmane Ghalmi, a student in graphic design, noted, “Lately, students are turning away from French and European universities and prefer going to China, more than before.”
With the adoption of the immigration law, foreign students settling in France will be required to pay a “return” deposit and will be subject to quotas. This could potentially diminish the attractiveness of French universities, according to a member of the National Bureau of the National Federation of Teaching in Morocco, “This law will undoubtedly hinder the dreams and possibilities for families to send their children, students in general, to pursue their studies in France.”
In Ivory Coast, reactions appear concerned but are far removed from the discussions stirring the French political landscape. The law adopted by France has sparked little debate at Felix Houphouët-Boigny University.
Two years ago, Niama dreamed of studying law or taxation in France, but his plan encountered administrative hurdles: “There is so much paperwork to gather, not to mention the issue of the deposit. You need to have a guarantor there who can ensure the initial period, the period from arrival until a certain point. These are all factors that, at some point, create some hesitation among all subscribers,” he noted.
On the campus, the immigration law adopted by the French Parliament has prompted a degree of indifference. Far from these debates, Mireille, a third-year student in modern literature, cites financial constraints: “My parents don’t have enough means, so we’ll deal with it. I will continue here; I am forced to give up a dream of studying there, as I don’t have enough means for that.”
With the proposed law in hand, Saint-Clair Allah, Secretary-General of the Federation of Students and Scholars of Côte d’Ivoire (FESCI), expresses concern: “If today there are laws to restrict access to knowledge, there is a problem. The principle of restrictions worries us.” Finally, the question of job prospects arises. This unionist cites the case of some 2,000 Ph.D. holders who have not found employment, a sign, according to him, of weak guarantees after lengthy studies.