Wednesday, May 18

Desinfox. Has France granted visas to 26,000 foreigners for treatment?

Invited this Wednesday morning on BMTV and RMC to answer questions from Jean-Jacques Bourdin, Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the National Rally for the presidential election, did not fail to speak out on one of the key themes of his campaign: immigration. Defending in particular family allowances “exclusively reserved for the French”, she referred to a measure widely formulated on the far-right: the abolition of State medical aid (AME) (from 11’30 on the video below).

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This system allows foreigners in an irregular situation to benefit from access to care under conditions of residence and resources, for one year (a renewal is requested each year). Marine Le Pen believes that state medical aid is an “extremely broad” coverage of care and wants to create instead a “vital emergency aid” for foreigners in an irregular situation, in the event of an “epidemic”. ” for example.

To support her proposal, the far-right candidate points to “visas given for treatment”. She says that “26,000 foreigners came to our health system for treatment because they were given a visa” to do so. But this total of 26,000 foreigners doesn’t quite refer to what Marine Le Pen claims.

Nearly 26,000 requests

The RN candidate seems to want to echo herself of a report from the Ofii (French Office for Immigration and Integration) last December on the “procedure for admission to stay for treatment”, a device entered into force with a law of March 7, 2016. This procedure allows a foreigner residing in France to obtain a temporary residence permit if he needs “medical care, the failure of which would have consequences exceptionally serious ”and who cannot benefit from adequate treatment in their country of origin. The procedure is dissociated from the AME, which for its part concerns foreigners in an irregular situation and which does not give the right to a visa.

By affirming that “26,000 foreigners came to be treated” in France “because they were given a visa”, Marine Le Pen extrapolates: according to this annual report of December of the Ofii, dissected by our colleagues from Figaro, 25,987 foreigners applied for a residence permit for treatment in 2020. These requests were not necessarily successful.

The Ofii does not specify the number of requests that have been validated, since the granting of a residence permit is in fine prefectural decisions. The French immigration office, however, quotes provisional data from June 15, 2021 from the Ministry of the Interior, which reported 3,694 first residence permits for treatment issued in 2020.

Among the 25,987 requests registered last year, a third also received an unfavorable opinion from Ofii doctors before being consulted at the prefecture. And 62.5% of the total requests were for renewals. Applications for residence permits for treatment also fell by 11.6% between 2019 and 2020 (and -40.9% since 2017). The Ofii attributes this significant drop last year to “the limitation of international travel linked to Covid-19”.

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