Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- France will, for the first time, set quotas for the number of immigrant workers from outside the EU it allows into the country, Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud said on Tuesday. It is clearly a move to encroach on the political territory of right wing parties. However it has been attacked by French Socialists and some members of the President’s own party.

These quotas will be set in 2020, the minister said on BFM TV, adding that the government would draw up a list of relevant professions to be covered by them. French PM Edouard Philippe said last month he was not opposed to introducing quotas for migrants, part of an effort by his government to heed voters’ concerns about immigration.

“Our priority is to help the French return to the jobs market. After that it is to welcome the refugees and enable them to find a job,” Penicaud said.“If there is still a need, for the benefit of the country and that of companies, we will bring in the people we need, depending on their profession and their qualification.”

At the same time the French government is to restrict new immigrants access free health treatment, extending the residence requirement from three months to six months.

Guillaume Peltier, for the Republicans said that the measure did not go far enough, commenting there was ‘Nothing about illegal immigrants and rejected asylum seekers, nothing about dealing with the people smuggling mafias.’

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