Major Department

International Studies


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2019

Honors Major Advisor

Ariel, Ari

Thesis Mentor

Weismann, Amy


Asylum seekers in France are suffering both socially and economically due to a legal structure in place that blocks them from obtaining work during the first six months of their asylum claim processing. Interviews conducted during the summer of 2018 with French nationals, refugees and asylum seekers indicates that if asylum seekers were granted access to work after one month or less, negative attitudes between migrants and French nationals would be drastically reduced.

The six month timeline is new. Until September 10th, 2018, asylum seekers had to wait nine months before being allowed to search for work. If lawmakers in France today have agreed on this and taken action to cut the time down to six months, there is no valid argument as to why the wait period cannot be cut down even further. The economic situation for both asylum seekers and the French welfare system would be greatly improved if asylees could work, contribute to the economy, and pay taxes in France. By analyzing the history and current state of asylum policy in France, this thesis identifies the key issues of contention between French nationals and asylum seekers. This argument will be proven using demographic and polling data in France as well as research through the interviews conducted during the summer of 2018.

France has been an ideal study of these changes because it remains largely in the middle of extreme and differing points of view between other countries in Europe. France has not followed the extreme route Germany has in letting in massive numbers of Syrian refugees, nor has it reached the opposite extreme that Bulgaria has, with minimal acceptances and a terrible record of asylum seeker treatment. Asylum seekers will not disappear from France anytime soon. They will continue to come into the country and the French economy will need them to become productive members contributing to the social and economic success of the country. They enrich France both socially, culturally, and linguistically. They must now have the additional ability to do so economically and to rebuild their lives in a new country.


asylum, France, workers, law, migrants, immigration

Total Pages

52 pages


Copyright © 2019 Caitlin Chenus