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Mayotte: what does the end of “territorialized visas” announced by Gérald Darmanin imply?

After affirming that he was putting an “end to land rights” in Mayotte, the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories Gérald Darmanin also announced this Sunday, from the Mahorais archipelago, the abolition of “territorialized visas”.

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Mayotte: what does the end of “territorialized visas” announced by Gérald Darmanin imply?

After affirming that he was putting an “end to land rights” in Mayotte, the Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories Gérald Darmanin also announced this Sunday, from the Mahorais archipelago, the abolition of “territorialized visas”.

This system, specific to this territory of the Indian Ocean, currently prevents holders of a residence permit in Mayotte from traveling to mainland France [article L441-8 of the Code of entry and stay of foreigners and the right to asylum, Editor’s note]. In fact, these residence permits are only valid in Mayotte. Gérald Darmanin thus wishes to allow foreigners who have a residence permit in Mayotte to move freely throughout French territory.

To justify this removal, the Minister of the Interior makes a direct link with the end of land rights in Mayotte which, according to him, will “cut off the attractiveness” of the archipelago. “Currently, foreigners can apply for residence permits as “parents of a French child”, of a foreign child born in Mayotte and who becomes French in application of soil law,” explains a source at the Ministry of Interior. Admission to stay in Mayotte is mainly family and represents 90.5% of residence permits issued by the prefecture in 2019. Thus, “since we will have many fewer residence permits and we will no longer have the possibility of being French when you come to Mayotte, territorialized visas are no longer necessary,” assured the tenant of Place Beauvau.

This argument is, however, truncated, says an academic expert in asylum and immigration issues. Because the Indian Ocean archipelago is primarily attractive for migrants, particularly from the Comoros, “because of the difference in living standards between the two archipelagos. This concerns income, with gaps of 1 in 10, but also the presence of maternity wards and schools,” specifies the specialist. The question of nationality is second and must be considered in the longer term, he assures. Moreover, “the 2018 law, already restrictive regarding obtaining nationality, had no effect on the attractiveness of the archipelago while it made obtaining nationality more difficult.”

But with this announcement, the government is above all responding to one of the main demands of the collectives of angry residents of Mayotte, who have paralyzed the island for several weeks. In doing so, the tenant of Place Beauvau therefore seeks to reassure them in the hope of reducing migratory pressure.

At the same time, in a video published by the Minister of the Interior on Mayotte, will be able to be repatriated to France.

This promise, which sounds like an announcement, is however not new. Indeed, people who have obtained asylum, granted to people threatened in their country of origin, already have the right to move freely on French territory. The government actually wants to show residents its mobilization: “The transfer of 50 people is also taking place at the moment,” a source at the Interior Ministry assures Le Figaro. A sign that the tenant of Place Beauvau wants to show the inhabitants of Mayotte that he has heard them.

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